Apistogramma, the Dwarf Cichlid
How would you like to have a small, brightly colored, inquisitive, and wonderful new type of fish to add to your tank as a showstopper or within a community tank? We think you will enjoy the whole Apistogramma family. Also known as Dwarf Cichlids, these great fish did fall out of favor for a little while, but they’re making a comeback – and with good reason. There are quite a few color varieties to choose from, too. We’ll talk about that later in the article.
Apistogrammas, or Apistos to their affectionately called, are semi-aggressive. You’ll be amazed at how curious these species are. They’re very curious and can come up to you as soon as they see the tank walls. They definitely notice you and have a great reputation for interacting with their owners. This species is the opposite of fish swimming. They will immediately spot you.
Apistos are a wonderful choice for a community tank. They’ll live on the bottom of the tank, so they’ll do well with any species that doesn’t take up the valuable ‘floor space’ down there. Apistos love to have their own territory. We recommend putting them with pencil fish, tetras or any other species that prefers to swim towards the top or middle of the tank.
Facts About Apistogramma
They grow between 3 and 3.5 inches in length. They originate from South America and the Amazon rainforest. A tank that is at least 20 gallons in size is required for them. They prefer neutral pH water, and do not require low pH. The water temperature should range from 72 to 86 degrees. They also prefer to be in groups of plants.
These fish are not expensive and usually run for about $12 for more common color varieties all the way up to hundreds of dollars for a wild caught version. They are best when they are fed live food like BBS (baby-blue shrimp), glassworms, larvae and other types ofworms.
Apistos are also fun and easy to breed. Apistos are an excellent egg layer. In the tank, you should probably put a small cave in there for the females to spawn in.
Fish ownership is a joyous experience. It’s fun to look at the different colors and decide which one you prefer before buying. This species has a distinct difference in the color of each sexe. Males have lots of color, while females don’t. You can easily tell them apart.
Most Common Color Variations
The cacatuoides are the most popular color version, so you’ll find those in many aquarium stores and pet shops. This fish is most commonly found in an Orange Flash version. It has a distinct horizontal stripe down the body with bright orange tops and tail fins. You can also find this same species in a bright red version known as the ‘Super Red.’ They look like little race cars with their striped bodies and cherry red fins.
These are also known under the name Umbrella Cichlid. They are pale to medium blue with some dark speckling around the body. The tail fins and top fins are lemon yellow. The color is delicate and pretty.
The “tri” in trifasciata stands for “three,” and in this case, it’s the three striped Apisto variation. These fish are distinguished by their dark, bold horizontal stripes and vibrant blue fins. These fish would make a great centerpiece or show-stopper fish in a tank.
Happy Apistogramma Care
No matter which color you choose we are certain you will love your smart, friendly, and beautiful cichlid.