Help breeding Wild P. altum

Hi! My name is Paulo, i'm from Portugal and i'm almost sure that i have one wild P. altum from Atabapo river (just don't have sure that they are a couple because they didn't spawn). They are in a 830L aquarium with another altum from the same importation (they were 7, but some died with strange sintoms). They have a real couple behavior and defend their territory. However, i can't decrease condutivity more than about 60-65 microsiemens . Where i live water is very hard. I've already changed osmosis filter, but i can't get better condutivity than that. Do you think is possible to spawn with those values? pH is about 5-5.5 and nitrites and nitrates, etc. are ok. I've Considered buying distilled or deionized water, but it takes a lot of water and would spend a lot of money. Do you suggest any alternative to get a lower condutivity?
Do you think is possible that they spawn in this season?
Sorry for asking so many questions and thanks for the help! I Will put some pictures as soon as possible (I've been with a lot of work and with no time).

Re: Help breeding Wild P. altum

The most important ingredient Paolo "paciência".

You are working with wild caught P.altum... so expect fertilization issues in hard water to start with.

If your fish were from domesticated bloodlines, fertilization could be more probable and there are a number of breeders having success with these fish.

You should consider the use of De-ionization (cation and/or anion resins) along with your RO unit to obtain softer water with less conductivity.

Now, you are saying that your current EC is at 60-65 microsiemens/cm? I would say your RO Unit is doing its job very well and that your water is good where it is.

God listens. He may not always give you everything you want, when you want it; but he always gives you what you really need, when you need it most!

Re: Help breeding Wild P. altum

puertoayacucho wrote:Chris, can you pencil this out for us? Just to have a second opinion from a person who knows his numbers...
I Ed! thank you very much for your answer. I've sent you a private message or email some time ago. I don't know if you remember. I've resseived your answer but, with loss of time, i did not kept in touch.
This is the RO I use: ... 41/idl_23/

I have pacience ;). I'm just a little disappointed because the breeding season is ending and there goes another year without results :(. These were the 3rd i've bought. They are wild from an importation from colombia. They have been in a aquarium (200 x 60 x 75cm) with wild discus, Rhodostomus and Ottocinclus affinis, with a pH never above 7, and condutivity it never passed 300 microsiemens (generaly, perhaps between 150-200 most of time). Discus reproduced easily, several times and also Rhodostomus and Ottos had spawned at some water changes.
Wich values for water condutivity do you advise? I thought the filter for NO3 - PO4 - SiO2 was enough, thats wy i expected lower values. Should I buy another one for better results or a different one? :/

Here is a picture of one of my altuns, a few months after arriving:
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Re: Help breeding Wild P. altum

How old are your altum? What body size? When did you buy them and what body size were they when you received them?
It is important to know that they are mature adults and an actual pair.

The procedure I recommend is basically a biosimulation of the annual tropical wet and dry season cycle.

The dry season in the Orinoco (heavily influences the Uppermost Rio Negro also, though the latter is different) starts around November (you need to half your water changes) and then as of February, when it begins to peak, you minimize water changes, minimize food and elevate T the high 80's into 90-92F. Come April, start providing a conditioning diet high in protein, live and fresh food will help very much. Come May, start heavy water changes, a long and slow full water change with preconditioned, acid, cool water should bring you a surprise. This is more or less what Mike did and it worked for him.

At this point, I would start preparing for next year... but if all is in order, you could get lucky.


Do you have them in a separate tank right now?

I do not remember the PM's... make sure they are sent here at Finarama. I rarely visit the other forums.

God listens. He may not always give you everything you want, when you want it; but he always gives you what you really need, when you need it most!

Re: Help breeding Wild P. altum

They arrived at January 2012 (
There were several sizes including adults. I choosed younger ones. I believe they have better adaptation than adults.
I've been doing water changes with cool water and alterning the aquarium temperature between 29ºC and 32ºC. I have the condutivity problem. pH is now at 5.5 and condutivity 65 microsiemens. They eat frozen bloodworms, frozen artemia discus granules etc. I tried live earthworms some time ago, but they don't eat.
They are alone (1 couple and more 1 adult altum) in a 830L aquarium. I Divided the aquarium until a month ago with the couple alone in one side, then I ended up removing the division.
I took a picture righ now. The aquarium is in the living room. I have a painel in front of him to give them more privacy (removed to take the picture). The suposed couple spends most of the time in the left side of the tank and keep the other altum away from there.
I checked now. I sent you pm from finarama in August last year. Is normal that you don't remember.
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Re: Help breeding Wild P. altum

Drats- I thought I had posted a reply here this morning. But I must have done something wrong.

I agree with Ed that you need to go RO/DI. I use a three stage portable 75 gpd. My tap is about 83 ppm TDS and a hair over pH 7.0. When the unit was new it gave me 0 ppm TDS. It is old now and I am about to replace the carbon and ro units because the TDS are now running just over 10 ppm. that is fine for my purposes except now and then I need ro/di pure water for testing and mixing some things. I takes out all the KH and that helps with lowering the pH via adding a bit of acid along with some catappa leaves and alder cones.

I just got a new multi-meter and the conductivity part would not calibrate properly, so I am exchanging it.

If you have to use acid to lower pH, then you need to use some amount of pure water to make it more effective and to counteract what it will add to conductivity.
What makes the common man uncommon is common sense.

Re: Help breeding Wild P. altum

OK friend (Hmyxis), I really prefer calling people by their names (or nickname if you'd prefer). Being that 65 microsiemens/cm is around 40ppm, your water is very soft, not at all hard (unless I am interpreting what you wrote wrong!).
I see three, apparently large adult altum probably behaving in the way three non (breeding) interested altum would. I assume you are having no behavior that would indicate you have an actual pair (or is there any interesting behavior?)

My opinion is that at this point, you have two options (and I would do the second):

A. Perform a condensed dry seasonal cycle.
1.A. Stop water changes, minimize feeding, for next two weeks. Increase T to 88-90F. Ph around 6.5. You can even add 10% tap to increase hardness.
1.B. Prepare a full tank worth of water of very soft and acid (pH around 4.5 to 5.0), T about 75F. Using RO/DI as base water and adding (as per Chris' suggestion) catappa, peat, rooibos, etc. and trace minerals, such as Seachem Discus Trace or similar (half dose),
1.C. After the two or three weeks of very warm, relatively hard and less acid water, with minimal feed... increase feed for a week using, as I said earlier, live and fresh foods, ideally live mosquito larvae, bloodworms, brine shrimp, etc. If you can get a clean culture of molly or guppy fry and feed them with spirulina flake, that'd be great.
1.D. Finally, bring down the water level to half tank and in the evening hours, start pumping the cool (75F) preconditioned water in the tank. We will want the T to drop from 90F to around 82-84F along a few hours. If you have a pair, you should see at least, some interesting behavior.


B. Continue your husbandry as it is for now until November. Then begin the dry season cycle slowly, monthly performing less water changes and in February of next year, peak into the end of the dry season until late April when you can start conditioning and increasing water changes with prepared blackwater.

The contrast of relatively extreme parameters will be your trigger... the sudden (night to day) changes from less acid, harder, warmer water to more acid, much softer and cooler water, along with variable feeding patterns, oxygen availability, are among the more important variables that will trigger your fish into action.

God listens. He may not always give you everything you want, when you want it; but he always gives you what you really need, when you need it most!

Re: Help breeding Wild P. altum

I must agree with Mike. To have an idea, you need to have a realistic estimate of the body size from tip of the mouth to the base of the tail (fins excluded), this is what we call "Standard Length" measurement, abbreviated "SL". To explain it someway, Altum start to mature when they are about 4 inches (10 cms) SL and most of the wilds we see breeding are closer to 4.5 inches SL (+/- 12 cm).

So given enough space, water changes and good food, they will not be less than 24 months old before they can achieve this size (from small juvenile stage) in an aquarium.

Don't get confused with domesticated altum which can achieve a full size in as little as 18 months (i.e. Mr. Simon Forkel well bred bloodlines based on Linke and Siegrest fish) or Tony Tan's bloodlines which come from the same lines as Forkel's. These fish grow faster and breed prolifically. There are few people here in the U.S. that have Tan bloodlines going, I can provide you there e-mail if you PM me (they prefer doing things privately).

God listens. He may not always give you everything you want, when you want it; but he always gives you what you really need, when you need it most!

Re: Help breeding Wild P. altum

When I took the picture, I had to remove the front panel of the tank and slightly increase the light intensity (it has dimmer), having scared them a bit, eventually hiding under the driftwood at the right.
I was tempted to follow one of Ed's advice, but in fact I have 2 altuns well developed, they appear to be males (they confront each other), and the other is always with one of the males and has a less developed body. I'll try to measure. Maybe I'll have to wait another year. I got them for 19 months but in fact i do not know what age they have when arrived.
Thank you for providing the contact details, but I think i do not need. Don't want to cross the wilds with captivity altuns.
Thank you all! I'll give news soon!

Re: Help breeding Wild P. altum

Even to trigger wild altum to spawn you need really low values of hardness and conductivity therefore at the onset of pre-spawning behavior you need to be specially careful to provide such quality. After a few weeks of hatching, you can very gradually rise these values.
Mike Troxell followed this approach, and I'm sure he'll be pleased to add more on his own experience.
I think I read Dale Jordan proceeded differently but have not read his post in detail... you might contact him.
I would believe tank bred altum are much more tolerant in this respect as the generations go by and only Simon Forkel can give you a straight answer to that.
God listens. He may not always give you everything you want, when you want it; but he always gives you what you really need, when you need it most!