Apistogramma, the Dwarf Cichlid

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 quite a few color varieties to choose from, too. This will be discussed later in this article.

Apistogrammas, or Apistos, are semi-aggressive. You’ll be amazed at how curious these species are. They are very friendly and open to interaction. They will pay attention to you and are great at interacting 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’ll spot you immediately.

Apistos make a great choice for community tanks. 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’. Apistos love to have their own territory. We’d recommend probably putting them with tetras, pencil fish, or another species that likes to swim in the middle or towards the top of the tank.

Facts about the Apistogramma

They grow between 3 and 3.5 inches in length. They come from South America and Amazon rainforest. A tank that is at least 20 gallons in size is required for them. They are best suited for neutral pH water. 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. These fish are best when fed live food such as BBS (baby brine shrimp), glass and larvae, and other types of worms.

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.

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. With this species, there’s a distinct color difference between the sexes. Males have a lot of color while females do not. You can easily tell them apart.

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. The color is delicate and pretty.

Apistogramma trifasciata

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 fish would make a great centerpiece or show-stopper 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.