Apistogramma the Dwarf Cichlid

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. Dwarf Cichlids are also known as these fish. They were once very popular but have been making a comeback. There are quite a few color varieties to choose from, too. This will be discussed later in this article.

Apistogramma, or Apistos as they’re affectionately nicknamed, have a semi-aggressive temperament. 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 is the opposite of fish swimming. They’ll spot you immediately.

Apistos are an excellent choice for a community tank. They will be living on the bottom of your tank, so they will get along any species that doesn’t take up valuable ‘floor space’. These Apistos appreciate having that territory to claim all their own. 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 the Apistogramma

These fish grow to be about 3″ and 3.5″ maximum in size. They are native to 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. Water should be between 72-86 degrees. They prefer groupings of planted plants in their tank.

They are inexpensive and can be purchased for as little as $12 for the more common colors or hundreds of dollars for wild caught versions. 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. They are an 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 a lot of color while females do not. They are easy to distinguish.

Most common color variations

Apistogramma cacatuoides

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. 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.

Apistogramma borellii

These are also known as 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.

Apistogramma trifasciata

The “tri” in trifasciata stands for “three,” and in this case, it’s the three striped Apisto variation. They do have dark, striking horizontal stripes along the body and vibrant blue fins. These fish are a great choice to be the centerpiece of a tank or to be the show-stopper fish.

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.