The Black Stripe Dwarf Cichlid (Taeniacara Candidi)
Taeniacara Candidi also known as The Black Stripe Dwarf Cichlid is a member of the Cichlids family. It can be said that this fish species is very unique in the dwarf cichlids. The genus of the Taeniacara Candidi is still discussed and studied today, but its behavior is very similar to the genus Apistogramma. This fish species was previously considered to belong to the genus Apistogramma and named Apistogramma weisei but after that, it has been changed. The natural habitat of this freshwater fish is Brazil (lower parts of the Negro River, along with to Amazon River to the Tapajós river).
There are visible differences between the males and females of this species. Firstly, the length of males is between 5-7 cm, but the length of females is generally around 5 cm. Tail fins are the first place to look to distinguish Taeniacara Candidi males and females. Males have apparent spade-shaped tails and pectoral fins are longer than females but both of them have an elongated body. Also, Taeniacara Candidi`s fins may have different color shades such as blue, yellow, brown, or red and they have a black stripe running from their tail to their eyes.
As seen in the pictures, the variety of colors on males’ tails are visible and males appear more colorful than females. Also, the coloration of this species will be more apparent when they become mature and settled in the tank.
Behavior and Compatibility:
Taeniacara Candidi stands out for its aggressive behavior within the dwarf cichlids family. According to some studies, especially male individuals exhibit hyper-aggressive behaviors and this hyper-aggressiveness may also have some undesirable consequences. For example, if more than one male is found in the same small tank without enough territories for each male, the dominant male is more likely to kill other males.
In addition to hyperactivity, males also have high sexual behavior. This feature allows them to mate more than one female and spawn at the same time.
Temperature: 27-30 ° C
pH: 4,5 – 5,8
Hardness: <= 1dGH
Due to its tropical natural habitat, Taeniacara Candidi prefers warm and acidic waters.
Proper Tank Conditions:
A 15 gallons (approximately 57 liters) tank will suffice for a pair of Taeniacara Candidi, however; if a group that includes more than one male will accommodate in the same tank, it is better to prefer a larger tank size. For each additional male, a minimum of an additional 40 cm to 20 cm bottom area will reduce fights and interfaces between the males. The layout of the decoration and spawning nests are also playing an important role in that.
Stable tank conditions such as pH, temperature, and hardness in the tank create a more suitable living environment for the Taeniacara Candidi. This fish species can not be comfortable under changing environmental conditions. It can be also said that after water changes they can show moody behaviors. Due to these reasons, it can be observed that this Taeniacara Candidi feels safe in stable habitat and at the same temperature waters. A heater with a thermostat could be useful to obtain stable temperature in that case.
Tanks with large amounts of plantation make a great habitat for Taeniacara Candidi. For the Taeniacara Candidi to feel comfortable, there should be open areas with covered places in the tank and a large number of hiding places are more suitable for this species. Driftwoods, clay pots, various rock formations, plastic garden pots, and plants with large leaves such as anubias, Cryptocorynes to heavily decorate the tanks are good choices for this species.
This fish can co-exist in harmony with other peaceful fishes if there is enough space in the aquarium. Large shrimp species like bamboo shrimps and snails are also species with which this Taeniacara Candidi lives peacefully together. Also, adult size surface and mid-water fish like tetras, platies, guppies are other proper tank mates. The fry of the tank mates will be mostly eaten by this cichlid. But, in a heavily planted tank, the population of the tank mates will be naturally under control and remain the same. While the older ones die, some young will fill their places.
This fish has a carnivorous diet but it can be easily said that feeding the Taeniacara Candidi is easier than setting parameters of the safe living habitats for them. High-quality dry and frozen foods may be preferred for feeding this species. But, in some cases, Taeniacara Candidi does not prefer dry foods and requires live foods especially the wild-caught individuals. Thus, providing them live foods during the first introduction to a new tank is sometimes vital. Gradually, they can start accepting dry foods.
On the other hand, live foods could be the best choice for feeding this species. Mosquito larvae, white worms, or earthworms are preferable. It will be good to have a renewable and ready source of live foods in breeding and keeping this fish.
High-quality foods have positive effects on not only the health of Taeniacara Candidi but also the coloration. Accordingly, for a good and healthy displaying fish, the choice of foods makes big differences.
First, even if Taeniacara Candidi lives a peaceful life with some other fish or shrimp species, if breeding is desired, other species should be kept as minimum as possible in the same tank. By the way, according to some reports it can be said that breeding this fish species is not easy.
If more than one male is in the same tank, males may struggle to be dominant male early stages of this breeding period. As mentioned above, males with high sexual behavior can fertilize more than one female at the same time. Meanwhile, females determine the most suitable spawning areas in the tank and their place is ready when spawning occurs. For a healthy spawning environment, above mentioned tank parameters should be followed strictly. Highly acidic and very soft water should be preferred for breeding and keeping purposes.
Male and female patrol to protect eggs when the female lays them. After spawning, especially the female may exhibit extremely aggressive behaviors in protecting its brood. The parents will protect the fry after hatching and until the fry swims freely and leaves the parents in their natural habitat.
In the case of breeding in a community tank, other species or non-parents may damage the eggs or eat the fry. The support of the male is essential in case there are other fish in the breeding tank since the female alone can’t overcome with too many fry-eating fish. There are simply two ways to avoid other fish to eat the eggs or fry. The first method is to remove other tank mates from the aquarium when the pair spawned without waiting for them to try to damage the eggs or showing any interest in the fry. Another method is to take the spawned pair in a separate tank filled with the water taken from the main tank where they spawned if the spawned nest can be transferable.
In case the purpose is only to breed this fish, the most preferred method is keeping the pair alone in their breeding tank. In this case, the male can be removed after the spawning since the female may also have aggressive behavior toward the partner and the existence of the male may stress the female. During the breeding applications in the aquarium, the males are taken out after spawning to let the female care of its brood alone. The female alone can give all the necessary care of its brood when there is no other fish in the tank. The survival rates of the fry will be higher while only the female cares for its brood in a separate breeding tank.
Within a week to 12 days after spawning, the juvenile fish has grown enough to follow its mother. It is recommended to provide baby brine shrimps or micro worms support for the juvenile fish to grow healthy. The juvenile fish that received healthy and enough nutrition is expected to reach a length of 1 cm within a month.