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? You’ll love the entire Apistogramma Family, we think. 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. That will be covered later in the article.
Apistogrammas, or Apistos to their affectionately called, are semi-aggressive. These species are very curious and you will notice it immediately. They have tons of personality and will come right up to the tank walls as you look in. They are very attentive and will interact with their owners. This species will make you happy if you haven’t been happy watching fish swim the moment you look at them. They will spot you right away.
Apistos are an excellent 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 would recommend that they be placed with tetras, pencilfish, or other species that like to swim in the middle and towards the top of their tank.
Facts about the Apistogramma
They can grow up to 3 inches and 3.5 inches maximum. They originate from South America and the Amazon rainforest. They require a tank of at least 20 gallons. 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 affordable and typically sell for around $12 for the most common color options, up to hundreds of bucks for the wild caught variety. They’re best with live food, like BBS (baby brine shrimp), glass worms, larvae, other kinds of worms, and similar foods of that nature.
Apistos can also be fun 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.
The best part about fish ownership is the ability to compare all the colors before you buy. This species has a distinct difference in the color of each sexe. Females are more color-oriented than males. They are easy to distinguish.
Most Popular Color Variations
The cacatuoides are the most popular color version, so you’ll find those in many aquarium stores and pet shops. Commonly found in an Orange Flash variation, these fish have a distinct horizontal stripe along the body, with bright orange top and tail fins. The same species is also available in bright red, the ‘Super Red’. They are reminiscent of little race cars thanks to their striped bodies.
They are also known by the Umbrella Cichlid. They’re a pale light blue with some darker speckling along the body and lemon yellow top fins and tail fins. They are delicate and beautiful in color.
Trifasciata’s “tri” stands for “three”, and this is the Apisto three-striped variation. These fish are distinguished by their dark, bold horizontal stripes and vibrant blue fins. These would be a good choice for a centerpiece or showstopper fish in a tank.
Happy Apistogramma Care
We are confident that no matter what color you choose, you will enjoy this intelligent, beautiful, and personable cichlid for many more years.