วันพฤหัสบดีที่ 18 ตุลาคม พ.ศ. 2555

Fish Data : Cockatoo Cichlid

Scientific Name : Apistogramma cacatuoides
Common Names : Cockatoo Cichlid
Care Level : Medium, since you need a well established tank for them
Size : 2 - 3.5 inches (5 - 9 cm)
pH : 6.0 - 7.0
Temperature : 79 - 84°F (26 - 29°C)
Water Hardness : prefers soft water
Lifespan : usually around 3 - 5 years
Origin: Amazon river, South America

Temperament: Peaceful

Company: Apistogramma cacatuoides (Cockatoo Dwarf Cichlid) should only be kept with other small peacefull fishes.

Water parameters: Temperature 23-26°C / 73-79°F; pH 6.0 – 8.0

Distribution:    The Cockatoo Cichlid, also known as the Cockatoo Dwarf Cichlid or Crested Dwarf Cichlid, was described by Hoedeman in 1951. They are basically found in Brazil and Boliviain inhabiting tributaries of the Amazon River basin. Also found in tributaries of the Solimoes, Ucayali, and Amazon rivers from the Pacheta River to Tabatinga. They are dwell in shallow, slow-moving to almost still, clear and white water areas of the Amazon River.

Status:    This species is not listed on the IUCN Red List.

Description:    The Cockatoo Cichlid is a small colorful fish. The body has a silvery gray base and a long black horizontal line that runs through the middle. The male's first several rays of the dorsal fin are extended higher than the rest, giving the "cockatoo" look. The top and bottom rays of the tail fin are longer as well, and brightly colored on the male. The male's belly and bottom fins are golden brown.
   Females will be a drab yellow with the front of the ventral fins becoming solid black as she matures. Her tail fin will be more rounded as well. Once she lays her eggs, her yellow coloring becomes more intense. They can live up to 5 years.
   Though the wild caught fish are less dramatic, with today's selective breeding a variety of pretty color forms are readily available. Some of the specifically bred out colorings are called Sunset, Red, Double Red, Triple Red, and Sun Spot. Some of the triple red couples can produce 3 different color variations. This interbreeding for color has contributed to spinal malformations in the Cockatoo Cichlid. This defect should be watched for and all such fish humanely destroyed. Breeding a wild caught with a captive bred helps to keep the lines healthier.

   All cichlids share a common feature that some saltwater fish such as wrasses and parrotfish have and that is a well-developed pharyngeal set of teeth that are in the throat, along with their regular teeth. Cichlids have spiny rays in the back parts of the anal, dorsal, pectoral, and pelvic fins to help discourage predators. The front part of these fins are soft and perfect for precise positions and effortless movements in the water as opposed to fast swimming.

   Cichlids have one nostril on each side while other fish have 2 sets. To sense "smells" in the water, they suck water in and expel the water right back out after being "sampled" for a short or longer time, depending on how much the cichlid needs to "smell" the water. This feature is shared by saltwater damselfish and cichlids are thought to be closely related.

Care and feeding:    The Cockatoo Cichlid is a carnivore that can be fed newly hatched baby brine, frozen brine shrimp, crustaceans, insects, insect larvae, and some may eat flakes and pelleted foods. Feed 2 to 5 small pinches of food a day in smaller amounts rather than a large quantity once a day. This will keep the water quality higher over a longer time. All fish benefit from vitamins and supplements added to their foods.

 A minimum 20 gallon tank is suggested. They prefer slow to moderate moving water along with good efficient filtration. The aquarium should have a cover and low to moderate lighting. Provide a substrate of fine dark sand along with rocks and pots to create plenty of caves, one for each female's territory. Caves formed from rockwork or including synthetics like coconuts or clay pots, will provide a refuge for the fish as well as a place for breeding. They do enjoy densely planted aquariums. Floating plants help to diffuse lighting. If using live plants, dense plantings that will provide shade for your fish do need time to grow out. Amazon Swordplants, Vallisneria, and other acidic tolerating plants work great, as can Wisteria. Make areas for them to "defend" by having natural divisions in the aquascaping.

   The Cockatoo Cichlid is a rewarding specimen for the aquarist but they are sensitive to water parameters and medication. They can be easy to care for if water changes are performed frequently to keep the nitrate levels low. A mature tank with soft water and a pH of acidic to neutral is best. Keep track of nitrates. Also, oxygen levels must be maintained for best color and health. Though the Cockatoo Cichlid can tolerate neutral water better than other dwarf cichlids, do not allow the pH to go above 7.8. When using substrate or rocks, be sure they do not leach into the water and affect the pH. Substrates such as limestone can increase the pH level, you would not use sand that is for marine tanks. Driftwood is a big help in keeping pH low and contributes to the "tea stained" coloring of the Amazon River.

   Do water changes of 10% to 20% biweekly or weekly, more or less depending on stocking numbers. If water quality is ignored, as with all cichlids, disease and death can occur. One common problem is Ich. It can be treated with the elevation of the tank temperature to 86° F (30° C) for 3 days.

Water Region: Top, Middle, Bottom:    These fish will swim in the middle and bottom areas of the aquarium.

Acceptable Water Conditions:    Hardness: 5 - 19° dH
   Ph: 6.0 - 7.8
   Temp: 75 - 81° F (24 - 27° C)

Social Behaviors:    The Cockatoo Cichlid is a community fish that can be kept with fish that are not large and aggressive. South American cichlids tend to be less aggressive than their African cousins, but space is very important. Some acceptable tank mates are Cardinal Tetras (though during breeding, the Cockatoo Cichlid can chase them right out of the tank if there is not adequate space), Otocinclus Catfish, Julii Cory, Three-Line Pencilfish, Glowlight Rasbora (Hengel's), Dwarf Gourami, Kuhli Loach, and Dwarf Rainbowfish (Neon).
   They can be kept alone, in pairs, or in harems of one male with several females. More than one male may be kept if the aquarium is large.

Sex differences: Males are larger then females.  Males can grow up to 8 cm whereas the females can get to 5 cm The first rays on the male's dorsal are greatly enlarged (spiky looking).  The dorsal, anal and ventral fins are elongated.  Manmade colour forms seem to lose a lot of the elongation of the fins.
Females exhibit black on the leading edge of the pectoral fins.   Females will turn yellow with black when guarding eggs or fry.
Types: orange*, reds*, double reds*, triple reds*, red flash*, gold-orange, gold, yellow*, blue, green
*man made 

Keeping: pH range: 6.0 - 8.0; dH range: 5.0 - 19.0; 24 - 25°C

Breeding habits: Cacatuoides are cave spawners.  These fish are territorial and polygamous (more females per male).  The Cockatoo Cichlids are cave spawners. They appreciate upturned flowerpots, fake "coconut caves," bogwood, and broad leafed plants for cover and as spawning sites. They do need to have a pH under 7.5 for the eggs to hatch. Ideal water conditions are a pH of 6.8 to 7.2 or less, hardness of 10 or less and temperature of 78° to 84° F (26° to 29° C) Basically the more acidic and soft, the more prolific they are.

    Get 6 juveniles and let them grow up together. Spinal problems have arisen since there has been so much interbreeding for color. That being said, be sure their spines and physical health is optimal. From the 6 juveniles at least one pair, if not a harem, will form. You may or may not decide to remove the others, depending on your tank size. Condition them with live foods.

    The female will approach the male, curve her body, and display to catch his attention. When he sees her, he will then "dance" by flashing his fins. The female will lay up to 80 oval red eggs on the surface of her cave. The male will fertilize them and promptly leave the cave to patrol on the outside, leaving the female to care for them. In a harem situation, the male will visit the "cave" of each female and breed with her. She will have an area that she guards within the male's territory. When several females are brooding, they will actually kidnap each others fry to add to their school!

    The eggs will hatch in 3 to 4 days, depending on water temperature. The fry will be swimming freely a few days after hatching. Interestingly, if the water temperature is low (68° F or 20° C) most of the fry will be females, while with higher temperatures (86° F or 30° C) the fry will mostly be male. pH also plays a role in the sex of the fry, but to a much less extent. The conditions must also be kept constant for the first 3 weeks to be effective. The fry grow fairly quick and they can be fed rotifers and in a week or two then fed nauplii 3 times a day. They can also be fed live freshly hatched baby brine shrimp 3 times a day. Sexing is pretty easy since males have longer fins and are larger than the females.

 The female can become quite nasty after the fry are hatched. Some aquarists will removed the "cave" with the female inside by using bowl large enough to keep the water, the eggs, and the female in while preventing them them from hitting the air. Once in a 10 gallon bare tank, you may or may not choose to remove the female as well. If in a species specific tank, you may leave the female and babies in the tank and watch the interesting behavior of fry herding that the mother does. The female may actually allow the male to help her guard the fry for the next month, but this all depends on your tank stock and the personality of your Cockatoo Cichlids.


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