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FRESHWATER

Fishes

Agassiz’s dwarf cichlid
(Apistogramma agassizii)

francais anglais
Agassiz’s dwarf cichlid

Agassiz’s dwarf cichlid
(Apistogramma agassizii)

This beautiful Apistogramma is one of the first in its family to have been kept in the aquarium. It is quite robust and peaceful, making it a fairly popular species. Discover the Apistogramma in this page!

Scientific name

Apistogramma agassizii

Common name

Agassiz’s dwarf cichlid

Origin

what are its countries of origin?

Origin: Brazil, Peru (Amazon River)
Biotope: Amazonian

Dimorphism

what are the physical differences between males and females?

The female is duller and smaller than the male. Its caudal fin is also more rounded

Group

Group

Cichlidae

Volume

what is the minimum volume for this species?

100 L / 22 imp gal / 26 US gal

Water parameters

what are the water parameters for the maintenance of this fish?

T°: 25 à 29°C or 77 to 84°F
pH: 5 to 6.5
Hardness: 4 to 40°dGH

Difficulty

Difficulty

Easy

Size

what is the maximum size of this fish?

Female 5cm (2") - Male 8cm (3")

Life expectancy

what is the average life expectancy of this fish?

3 to 4 years

Living zone

in which area of the aquarium does this fish live?

Depth

Individuals

sociability of the species

couple or harem

Food

How to feed the Apistogramma agassizii?

Food

How to feed the Apistogramma agassizii?

In nature, Apistogramma Agassizii feeds on small crustaceans and invertebrates: it is a carnivorous fish. In the aquarium, offer live or frozen prey (watch out for bloodworms that can be difficult to digest).

Occasionally, it will also eat commercial food for cichlids (flakes, pellets...) but think about diversifying its menus for better health and color.

Behavior

What kind of behavior does the Apistogramma agassizii have?

Behavior

What kind of behavior does the Apistogramma agassizii have?

Overall, this fish is peaceful and sociable. It is quite shy and lives in the lower part of the aquarium. It is respectful of its environment, in the sense that it does not dig and does not damage the plants.

Despite its qualities, it is still territorial and can show some aggressiveness in some configurations, especially if there are other species of territorial background in volumes too small.

It should be noted that it also shows greater zeal to protect its territory during the breeding season.

Cohabitation

Who can live with the Apistogramma agassizii?

Cohabitation

Who can live with the Apistogramma agassizii?

This species being gregarious, it is advisable to keep at least a couple, and ideally a small group. Be careful though, avoid keeping two apistogramma males in the same aquarium because they do not support the presence of competitors (valid for all species of Apistogramma combined). Opt rather a harem consisting of a male for 3 or 4 females (this is also the natural social configuration of this fish). In case of maintenance in couple, make sure that the male is not too instant with the female because it can end up exhausting it (sometimes until death). Install many hiding places allowing the female to evade harassment of the male and acquire another female.

You can associate species of surface or intermediate area, such as Tetras or other Characidae.

Breeding

How to breed the Apistogramma agassizii?

Breeding

How to breed the Apistogramma agassizii?

Easy enough when a water change is made with slightly cooler water (1 or 2 degrees only). To put the odds on your side, do not hesitate to stimulate the breeding pair by feeding them live prey. Under these conditions, spawning should take place without problems.

Place a coconut cut in half so that the female can lay its eggs. The eggs are rather elongated and red, and count on average at 100/150 per egg.

During the incubation period, the female will stay close to the eggs to protect them. It will also take care of them, ventilate them, maintain them and remove those that are damaged. The male will take care of the general defense of the territory.

Free swimming begins about a week after laying. The fry will be under guard until the next laying. You’ll see them swim with their mom. It seems that the female «educates» its offspring all day long. A magic moment! In the evening, it will accompany the fry into the shelter. However, if there is predation in your aquarium, we advise you to devote a tank dedicated to the growth of the fry because despite the vigilance of the parents, the young remain easy prey for the other fish.

Fry food: nauplies of artemia, infusoria.

Its aquarium

Which aquarium for the Apistogramma agassizii?

Its aquarium

Which aquarium for the Apistogramma agassizii?

This fish is quite sensitive to its decor and it is going to “secure it”. To observe it and make the most of its remarkable beauty, create a decoration specially designed for its well-being. Ideally, opt for the realisation of an Amazonian biotope.

The Apistogramma Agassizii will first need a low light environment: decrease the intensity of your lighting or sift it with a floating plant cover. This parameter must be taken into account when choosing vegetation: it must be able to bloom at low light (Anubias, Microsorium, Cryptocoryne, Taxiphyllum...).

Second important point: a rich vegetal decor, offering a lush impression. Set up many hiding places using this vegetation with roots and rocks (one hiding per fish at least). Know that the more a fish has hiding places, and the more secure it feels, the more it shows up! Add a coconut cut in half if you want them to breed (see “breeding”).

For the soil, you can choose sand or fine gravel (a dark substrate will bring out its beautiful color!). For the reminder of its natural environment, strew the soil of dried leaves (oak, beech or catapa for example).

For the water parameters, farmed fish are acclimatized for a pH of 6.5/7, a temperature of 25/26°C or 77/79°F and a hardness of between 5 and 10°dGH.

Be careful when changing water that the parameters of the new water are the same as the previous one. Indeed, this fish is a little sensitive to physicochemical changes in water (including temperature).

Good to know

Good to know

Find all additional information!

It is one of the oldest Apistogramma exported for the aquarium hobby. This dates back to the beginning of the 20th century with the importation of the first specimens in 1909 for the Hamburg Aquarium.

Depending on their geographical origin, males vary in color: blue, yellow or red. In contrast, all females are usually yellow.

  • Rio Nanay male (in its wild form)
    male apistogramma

  • Rio Nanay female (in its wild form)
    female apistogramma

  • Alenquer male
    male apistogramma alenquer

  • Blue male
    blue male apistogramma alenquer

Be careful when buying: non-dominant males can sometimes look the same as females!

Acclimatisation can be a little tricky (sensitive to variations in water parameters and chemicals): take your time, patience is the key! Also act gently. After this moment, it is a pretty robust fish.

Beware of the use of chemicals, especially those with copper, which they do not support.

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