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? Then we think you’ll really enjoy the entire Apistogramma family. Dwarf Cichlids are also known as these fish. They were once very popular but have been making a comeback. There are many color options. This will be discussed later in this article.
Apistogramma, or Apistos as they’re affectionately nicknamed, have a semi-aggressive temperament. You’ll be amazed at how curious these species are. They have tons of personality and will come right up to the tank walls as you look in. They will pay attention to you and are great at interacting with their owners. This species is the opposite of fish swimming. They will spot you right away.
Apistos make a great choice for community tanks. They will live at the bottom of the tank so that they can interact with all species. 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 Apistogramma
They can grow up to 3 inches and 3.5 inches maximum. They are native to South America and the Amazon rainforest. They require a tank of at least 20 gallons. They are best suited for neutral pH water. The water should be between 72 and 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 are also fun and easy to breed. They can be used as an egg layer. A cave should be placed in the tank to allow the females to spawn there.
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. 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. Commonly found in an Orange Flash variation, these fish have a distinct horizontal stripe along the body, with bright orange top and tail fins. This same species can be found in bright red versions known as the “Super Red”. They have striped bodies and red fins that look like race cars.
These are also known under the name 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 have striking, dark horizontal stripes on the body and bright 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.