Apistogramma – Rainbow-Colored Dwarf Cichlid

Apistogramma – Rainbow-Colored Dwarf Cichlid

The cichlid household has all kinds of species. In it, you’ll find each actual giants and really small fish. Dwarf Apistogramma cichlids belong to the second group and are actually some of the lovely aquarium fish. But, along with magnificence, they’re additionally distinguished by a peaceful disposition and probably the most fascinating types of conduct: for his or her measurement, fish have excessive intelligence.

General info

Apistograms are a bunch of ray-finned fish from the Tsikhlov household that stay within the waters of South America. A particular function of those fish is their small measurement – normally not more than 7 cm – and a shiny rainbow colour of the physique, most pronounced in grownup males. Females and juveniles are way more modestly coloured.

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The group’s Latin title comes from the Greek phrases “rapist” (fickle) and “gram” (line). This is because of the truth that their lateral line (an organ that catches water vibrations), stretching horizontally from head to tail, has its personal traits for every species: it could be barely noticeable, within the type of a dotted line or one other sample.

The taxonomy of fish has been repeatedly modified and supplemented, some species have modified a couple of title.

Under pure situations, apistograms favor small rivers with a weak present, a sandy backside, and a considerable amount of aquatic vegetation. They stay in shallow water close to the coast. There, the fish are hiding from predators. Despite their diminutive measurement, apistograms are territorial fish like most cichlids. Having occupied a small space, they jealously guard it in opposition to kinfolk and drive away uninvited visitors with lightning-fast assaults, which, nonetheless, have one purpose – to scare, and don’t trigger any hurt to different fish.

Apistograms are small predators. They feed primarily on bugs, plankton, and detritus.

Due to their measurement and colour, they’re some of the common aquarium fish. But they’re fairly delicate to the situations of detention, due to this fact, earlier than beginning such a pet, it’s higher to accumulate some expertise in aquaristics.


Apistograms have a reasonably elongated and laterally compressed physique. The head is pointed, with giant eyes. These dwarf cichlids vary in measurement from 3 to 12 cm. Males are bigger than females.

The dorsal fin has 14-18 rays, their suggestions may be pointed, and the posterior ones are sometimes elongated. The pectoral fins are virtually invisible and have a rounded form. The abdomens are normally elongated. The anal fin contains 3 to six rays and can also be normally elongated. The tail may be triangular or rounded. Since the outer rays are sometimes longer than the others, the fin can take the type of a lancet or lyre. The scales on the physique are contrasting, clearly seen. The lateral line is displaced in direction of the again, its form depends upon the particular species.

The most vital function of apistograms is their colour. It is shiny, juicy, and versatile, which makes these small fish noticeable regardless of their measurement. The torso typically contrasts with the fins. The latter is characterised by a shiny border or black rays. Breeders have obtained varieties with veil fins.

Almost all colours may be current within the colour: yellow, blue, crimson, turquoise, and many others. Numerous breeding varieties have been developed. For instance, the Apistogramma of Ramirezi Electric Blue has a stable “neon” colour.

The colour depth of apistograms immediately depends upon their temper. The males, able to spawn, present themselves in all their glory, exhibiting all attainable shades. In a state of aggression in fish, the perimeters and stomach darken.

Sexual dimorphism on this group of species is normally pronounced: males are bigger, brighter, and have lengthy, pointed fins.

Types of apistograms

  • Ramirezi Apistogram (Mikrogeophagus ramirezi)

The hottest species within the aquarium pastime. It happens naturally in Venezuela and Colombia. The most measurement is about 5 cm.

The major colour of the physique is yellowish-red, turning into blue nearer to the tail. Dark spots are positioned behind the gills nearer to the dorsum. The iris of the eyes is crimson; a darkish vertical stripe passes via them on each side. The fins are gold or reddish with blue dots. There are a number of breeding varieties (balloon, veil, electrical blue).

For upkeep, an aquarium of 40 liters or extra is required. They love delicate, barely acidic water, with out air pollution. Get alongside effectively with probably the most peaceable fish species.

  • Apistogram Ramirezi electrical blue (Mikrogeophagus ramirezi var “Electric Blue”)

This synthetic number of Ramirezi’s Apistogramma was obtained because of the lengthy and cautious work of breeders. Its distinctive function is the brilliant blue colour of a lot of the physique. Only the top has a brownish-orange tint, the iris of the eyes is crimson. A college of those fish appears very spectacular in an aquarium. The most physique size is 6 cm. Females usually are not inferior in colour to males. For upkeep, you want an aquarium of 40 liters or extra. Water is greatest used delicate and bitter. Get alongside effectively with calm species of fish.

  • Veil Apistogramma

Another selective type of the Ramirezi Apistogramma with well-developed and elongated fins. Their presence imposes slight restrictions on the situations of detention. For instance, you can’t use decorations with sharp edges when adorning. Fish usually are not appropriate for residing collectively – those that prefer to pluck fins, for instance, Sumatran barbs.

  • Apistogramma Agassizi (Apistogramma agassizi)

Lives within the central a part of the Amazon. The most measurement is 8 cm. The colour is sort of variable. The major physique colour may be greenish, blue, or brown. The stomach is yellow or pink.

The central ray of the caudal fin could be very elongated, so the tail is formed like a diamond. A horizontal darkish stripe stretches alongside your entire physique; quite a few turquoise spots are current on the top.

For upkeep, you want an aquarium of 40 liters or extra. It is taken into account the hardiest species amongst apistograms. Water wants delicate and acidic. Peace-loving fish, nonetheless, through the spawning interval, will actively drive away uninvited visitors from the clutch.

It must be borne in thoughts that males are aggressive in direction of females that aren’t prepared for spawning. Therefore, it’s obligatory to scale back the fish solely after full confidence that they’re prepared for spawning.

  • Borelli apistogram (Apistogramma borellii)

Found in southern Brazil, Paraguay, northern Argentina. The most measurement is 7 cm. It is a polychrome species, that’s, the colour of the fish depends upon the area of residence. Usually, blue and yellow tones with turquoise spots on the top predominate. The bases of the fin rays are normally blue and the fins themselves are yellow. During spawning, the coloration of women and men turns into virtually the identical, differing solely in depth.

The Borelli Apistogramma is a polygamous species that want a big space, so it’s best to go for aquariums from 50 liters. Like different apistograms, this species requires delicate, acidic, and heat water.

  • Apistogramma cockatoo (Apistogramma cacatuoides)

Found in Brazil and Bolivia. This species is well distinguished from its kinfolk. First of all, cockatoo apistograms are bigger than different species and have an elongated physique. Males develop as much as 8 cm, females – as much as 6. Sexual dimorphism is pronounced. Males usually are not solely bigger and brighter in colour, however they’re additionally distinguished by the lengthy and sharp rays of the dorsal fin, giving them similarity to the crest of a cockatoo parrot. The colour of the fish is variable. The major physique colour is grey, typically with a greenish tint. There is a large darkish stripe on the facet. Fins may be from fiery orange to crimson with black dots. Anal and pelvic fins are blue-yellow.

For upkeep, you want an aquarium of not less than 70 liters. It is important to offer high-quality filtration and aeration. Numerous shelters shall be helpful. The water is appropriate from barely acidic to impartial. Hardness mustn’t exceed 19 dB.

  • Bolivian butterfly (Microgeaphagus Altispinosus)

In nature, the fish lives in Bolivia and Brazil. Outwardly, it is vitally much like the favored Ramirezi Apistogramma, however the colour of the fish isn’t so shiny. The measurement of an grownup is as much as 8 cm.

The major physique colour is pale yellow, the top and chest are shiny oranges. There is a black spot in the midst of the physique, a darkish strip stretches throughout the attention. On the again of the physique, vertical grey stripes are seen, extending to the tail.

Sexual dimorphism isn’t pronounced. An fascinating reality: the shaped {couples} stay trustworthy to one another all their lives. And the pairs shaped by the aquarist are sometimes unstable and may eat their eggs.

They are distinguished by a peaceful disposition. To preserve a few fish, you want an aquarium of 40 liters or extra. Sandy soil and numerous residing vegetation are required.

Care and upkeep

For the snug protecting of most sorts of small apistograms, you will have an aquarium of not less than 40 liters per pair of fish. For bigger species – not less than 70 liters.

The fish look greatest in an aquarium embellished as a pure biotope. Sand or wonderful pebbles are used as soil. It is important to plant dense bushes of aquatic vegetation alongside the partitions. To divide the territories between a number of teams of fish, put a wide range of shelters within the aquarium – driftwood, pots. A few flat stones won’t be superfluous, they’ll develop into an important place for spawning. To improve the colour, you may put fallen leaves on the underside. And to create the impact of “darkish” tropical water, use the Tetra ToruMin conditioner.

Apistograms are very delicate to the content material of nitrogenous compounds within the water, so the aquarium must be outfitted with a strong filter (ideally exterior) and a compressor. Water modifications are obligatory as soon as per week – as much as 30% of the quantity of the aquarium. Apistograms are heat-loving fish, a cushty temperature for them shall be 25-30 ° C, so a thermostat may also be wanted. In cool water, fish are extremely inclined to illness. They don’t like apistograms and shiny lighting, so it’s higher to launch floating vegetation on the floor of the water.

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