Apistogramma Fish Care

Like almost all South American dwarf cichlids, Apistogramma needs very soft water. If you want to keep dwarf cichlids in hard water, you have to look around at the African dwarf cichlids.

Apistogramma likes to stick between leaves, e.g., oak leaves, and to do this, a small layer of pre-watered brown leaves is placed on the ground.

Coconut shells and small flower pots are placed in between. The flower pots should be as small as possible. There are also special caves for dwarf cichlids, or you can combine them with any driftwood.

Conductance values ​​between 80 and 100 µS are suitable for most species. Water with this conductance is stable, and almost all types of Apistogramma can be grown in it. Also sensitive species from black water areas.

With this conductance, pH values ​​around 5 can be easily adjusted an Acidified over peat or alder suppositories. Oak extract and the like should only be used very carefully in such soft water.

Males and females Apistogramma look very different

All Apistogramma species are strongly dichromatic and dimorphic. This means that males and females do not look alike at all. The color and shape are entirely different.

Males Apistogramma are usually significantly larger than females. In addition, males are generally more colorful than females. The females of the different species sometimes look very similar. Females of other species are therefore often difficult to tell apart.

Females are mostly yellow in courtship and brood care with a black longitudinal band or more black side spots.

Keeping exactly 2 males Apistogramma in an aquarium is risky

The number of 2 males is unfavorable because there is only one winner and one loser in the ranking. The inferior male has to endure every attack.

In the long run, this means enormous stress. Apistogramma is susceptible to bacterial infections with constant stress. Males added afterward are often hunted mercilessly by long-established males. The addition can only be successful in very young males.

Usually, it is better to add 2-3 new males and a few females. The prerequisite for this is dense planting and a well-structured facility.

How One male Apistogramma dominates the other males?

If several males are kept in an aquarium, one dominant animal usually prevails. The other males develop worse even if they are not terrorized.

Only 1 or 2 males develop the full range of colors in many species and become large and powerful. The other males remain pretty small and colorless. This is the case with macmasteri and hongsloi; in agassizii the phenomenon is less pronounced.

In aquariums that are too small, in which not all males can form their territories, inferior males are often hidden in groups of plants, etc., and only come out to eat.

Serious disputes can arise if one or more males are only subsequently placed in an aquarium in which other males are already living. The order of precedence has to be fought out first. Serious injury can result if there is no alternative.

When two young males are placed in an aquarium simultaneously, they often do not fight each other.

Often they only threaten each other occasionally. As soon as one male indicates that it wants to scare away the other male, the other male clears the field. In such cases, there is a clear ranking so that there are seldom more severe arguments.

Why does the male attack a female?

If a male wants to spawn, but the female is not yet ready to spawn, the female is often violently attacked by the male. In some species, the behavior is very pronounced, e.g., in the Agassizii relationship. The behavior also occurs in cockatoo dwarf cichlids.

The female needs numerous retreats and should at least get food now and then. If the female does not suffer a significant loss of substance, the phase usually ends very quickly, and it is spawned together.

This behavior can also be reflected in brood care. The male must then be removed from the aquarium after spawning.

Keeping 2 species of Apistogramma in one aquarium

Whether 2 different species of Apistogramma can be kept in one aquarium depends on the species in question, the size of the aquarium, and when they were introduced.

Apistogramma agassizii can be kept together with cacatuoides if placed in an aquarium measuring 120 x 50 x 60 cm simultaneously.

If the agassizii is used subsequently, there are initially fierce territorial fights. The result depends on how assertive the agassizii is and how dominant the cacatuoides are.

Possibly after a while, they both come to terms and split the pool. It is possible that the agassizii is so hunted and weakened that it can only hide.

This does not last long. Either he gets sick from the weakening and suppression, e.g., bacterial infestation, or he is hunted until he dies of weakness.

A newcomer is always at a disadvantage due to the relocation stress alone. Therefore, the physically inferior animal should be used first, then the stronger animal.

On the other hand, older Apistogramma reacts much more sensitively to implementation and easily falls ill due to the weakening caused by stress.

It is best first to consider which species should be cared for and then use them simultaneously. Usually, there are no problems if the aquarium is large enough.

Which Apistogramma is suitable for a 60-liter aquarium?

Apistogramma Borelli are suitable for a 60-liter aquarium, and Borelli is stunning fish. But they are not as sensitive as butterfly cichlids.

A male can be kept with 2 females without any problems. If there are enough caves and hiding places, even 3 females can be kept.

When no other fish is in the aquarium, Borelli provides offspring in a 60-liter aquarium, raising them with care.

cacatuoides, macmasteri, or agassizii are often recommended for 60-liter aquariums. However, these species are more aggressive and too big for a 60s tank.

At least a 112-liter aquarium should be made available to these species.

How polygamous apistogramma are kept?

Polygamous representatives of the genus Apistogramma should not be kept as a single pair but in a group with two males and at least four females. This is the only way they show their complex social behavior. The aquarium has to be big enough that there is space for the territories of each animal.

In a fish tank with a  ​​100 x 50 centimeters base area, 2 males with 4 or even 6 females can usually be kept. The aquarium should be designed with a lot of wood, especially in the bottom area.

In this way, many cave-like, shaded areas are created, which at the same time form optical delimitations to the neighboring areas.

The temperature and the pH value influence the sex ratio inbreeding

How many males and females are born in one litter depends on Apistogramma’s temperature and pH value.

The respective influence varies from species to species. In some species, the temperature has more impact; in other species, the pH value. In many species, higher temperatures result in more males.

The influence of temperature and pH decreases every day after fertilization. The distribution of the sexes cannot, therefore, be influenced at any time by changing the two values.

0 to 72 hours after oviposition, the gender distribution is typical for the respective target temperature if the temperature is changed. After 72 to 600 hours, the influence of temperature decreases linearly, which is practically only possible before the slip.

More females developed at low temperatures between 23 – 25 ° C and a high pH value in the species investigated accordingly. At higher temperatures and lower pH, more males developed.

One or more broods should be raised before attempting to influence them, and it can be recognized whether the gender ratio should be influenced at all. If z. B. only females are to be bred, and the temperature should be low.

The behavior and Coloration of Apistogramma

The male swims right next to the female. The dorsal fin is set up, and with the caudal fin, the male constantly distributes suggested blows in the direction of the female.

In the courtship or brood coloration, the longitudinal ligament of the females becomes a spot. The primary color of the females is bright yellow.

Apistogramma guard and care for the brood

In some species, males and females tend the brood. In other species, only the female tends the brood, and the male guards the territory.

During brood care, unfertilized and dead eggs are removed from the parents. Healthy eggs are usually not eaten. Sometimes the female moves to another location with the brood during rearing. It is known that in cockatoo dwarf cichlids and sp. “Jurua.”

In principle, the male participates in brood care in a so-called male-mother family. The female guards and guides the young directly, and the male defends the outside area.

In the so-called male-mother family, both parents participate in brood care. In the aquarium, males show different behaviors depending on the species and the aquarium population. For example, if there are many enemy fish in the aquarium, the male can take part very intensively in the direct defense of the young.

If the young are less threatened or the animals live in a species tank, the male’s role may be less noticeable. But then it doesn’t attack the boy either.

The male can also disturb the female in the care of the brood and aggressively harass it because it wants to brood again. Some species of the A. agassizii complex, in particular, show this behavior. In such cases, the male should be separated from the female after spawning. If the male’s attacks become too strong, the female may otherwise break off brood care.

When do the colors develop in dwarf cichlids?

When the colors develop depends on the type and socialization. Only the dominant male changes color in many species, e.g., BA macmasteri; other males remain relatively colorless. If the dominant male is removed, another male often changes color.

In other types, e.g., agassizii, all males are colored equally.

A good coloring can be supported with appropriate food. Cyclops are particularly suitable.

The different Types of Apistogramma

Apistogramma macmasterie – Villavincencio dwarf cichlid

Apistogramma viejita – Black-throated dwarf cichlid

Apistogramma hongsloi – Red line dwarf cichlid

Apistogramma Baenchi Inka – Inka dwarf cichlid

Apistogramma Agassizii – Agassiz dwarf cichlid