Apistogramma is 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 many color options. We’ll discuss that later in this article.
Apistogrammas, or Apistos, are semi-aggressive. One of the first things you’ll notice about these species is how curious they are! They are very friendly and open to interaction. They are very attentive and will interact with their owners. This species is the opposite of fish swimming. They will immediately spot you.
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 are happy to claim their territory. We recommend they be paired with tetras and pencil fish or another species that loves to swim in or near the top of the tank.
Facts about the Apistogramma
These fish grow to be about 3″ and 3.5″ maximum in size. 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 prefer groupings of planted plants in their tank.
They are cheap and you can usually get them for $12 for the more popular colors as well as hundreds of dollars 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 are also fun and easy to breed. Apistos are an excellent egg layer. For the females, it is a good idea to create a small cave inside the tank.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of fish ownership is looking at all the color variations to see which one you like best before purchasing. There is a clear color difference between the sexes with this species. Males have lots of color, while females don’t. You can tell them apart easily.
Most Popular Color Variations
The cacatuoides are the most popular color version, so you’ll find those in many aquarium stores and pet shops. These fish are often found in the Orange Flash variety. They have a distinctive horizontal stripe running along their bodies with bright orange tail and top 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.
They are also known by the Umbrella Cichlid. They are a pale, light blue with darker speckling down the body. The color is beautiful and delicate.
Trifasciata’s “tri” stands for “three,” in this case it is the Apisto three-striped variation. These fish have striking, dark horizontal stripes on the body and bright blue fins. These fish make great show-stoppers or centerpieces 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.