Removing Apistogramma or Pelvicachromis Eggs or Wigglers from a Tank by Al Yunker

Several times people have asked me how to remove Apistogramma eggs or wigglers from the tank in which they were spawned.  The premise that this article works on is that a ten-gallon tank or larger was used for spawning and a flowerpot with a hole tapped in the side is placed upside-down in a flowerpot saucer and used as the breeding cave. If you are working with wigglers this applies only if they are not yet free swimming.  Now you want to remove the eggs or wigglers from one or both parents into a five-gallon tank to raise them efficiently for the first couple months.  With this method you can make this switch from one tank to another without changing the water chemistry appreciably.

First let's address removing eggs or wigglers with the female.  If you want the female to care for the eggs in the five-gallon tank do this. While the female is in the flowerpot and saucer guarding the eggs or wigglers place a second flowerpot of the same size over the one with the spawn and female in it.  You can use a second flowerpot that has a hole in it if you make sure the holes don't meet. Now you have the eggs or wigglers and the female trapped in the flowerpot and saucer. Next siphon off about four gallons of water from the breeding tank and place it in the five-gallon tank. Also put a cycled sponge filter (ring this filter out well and place it in the tank while it is still compressed so that you are not bringing outside water in with the filter), a heater set to 80 - 82 degrees and an air stone in the five-gallon tank. Now as if they were one piece pick up the saucer and two flowerpots and move them to the new tank. Remove the flowerpot that is covering the original and there you have it. Make sure you keep the flowerpot and saucer with the eggs or wigglers in the same position as they were originally. The female will probably leave the cave at first but when she knows things are safe she will return to the spawn. Place the air stone so that there is a mild current in the vicinity of the cave. If you want to remove the eggs or wigglers without the female do the same as above but first pick up the flowerpot with the spawn in it so that the female leaves and then place the second flowerpot over the original to keep the female from getting back in. If you are moving wigglers you can remove both flowerpots after they are in the new tank. When moving eggs place the air stone close to the hole in the flowerpot so that a mild current exists near the eggs. A day or two after the eggs hatch remove the flowerpot.
Good Luck.

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