Apistogramma Agassizii Care (Agassiz’s Dwarf Cichlid) | Fish Laboratory (2023)

Apistogramma Agassizii, also known as Agassiz’s Dwarf Cichlid, is a dwarf cichlid that originates from the Apure River in Venezuela. As an Apistogramma species, they are often referred to as Apistos for short as well. It is a small but colorful fish that can make a great addition to any aquarium. They are an easy fish to care for and they can be placed in many different types of aquariums.

Meaning of Name “Apistogramma Agassizii”

Apistogramma is a translation from ancient Greek meaning “unreliable line“. Many of these fish have a black line that runs across the body and fades or deepens with age.

Apistogramma Agassizii Care

Apistogramma Agassizii are great for beginners looking into keeping freshwater fish as pets. This article will describe how to properly care for these fish so that it can live a long and healthy life.

Apistogramma Agassizii Temperature

The temperature of your Apistogramma Agassizii’s aquarium is important to keep them healthy and happy. Apistos prefer a temperature range of 73-79 degrees Fahrenheit (23-26 degrees Celsius). If the water temperature in your aquarium falls outside this range for an extended period of time, your Apistos may become stressed and ill. You can use a thermometer to monitor the water temperature in your aquarium and adjust your home’s heating or cooling as necessary to keep it within the preferred range.

Apistogramma Agassizii Care (Agassiz’s Dwarf Cichlid) | Fish Laboratory (1)

Apistogramma Agassizii Water pH

The pH level of your Apistogramma Agassizii’s home aquarium is another important factor to consider when keeping these fish. Apistos prefer a pH of 6.5-7. You can use a pH test kit to measure the pH level of your aquarium.

(Video) Apistogramma Agassizii (Reds) - Setting up an Apistgramma tank P1

Apistogramma Agassizii Size

The Apistogramma Agassizii is a small fish that typically grows to be around 2.5 inches in length. This size makes the Apisto an excellent choice for smaller aquariums, and they can also be kept in larger tanks if you have enough room.

Apistogramma Agassizii Tank Size

In most cases, the Apistogramma Agassizii can be kept in both small and large aquariums. If you have a smaller tank, these fish will do well in a community setting with other peaceful fish species. Larger tanks can also house Apistos, but you should provide plenty of hiding places for them to feel secure. Rocks or plants can be used to create hiding spots for your Apistos, and you should also make sure to include a good filtration system to keep the water clean.

Apistogramma Agassizii Food & Diet

Apistogramma Agassizii are omnivorous and will eat a variety of foods. They will primarily feed on algae growing on rocks or plants, but they will also eat small invertebrates and other fish. This means that you don’t need to provide them with food like some other fish species do. However, it is still a good idea to supplement their diet with live or frozen food. Some good food options include bloodworms, brine shrimp, daphnia, and mosquito larvae.

Apistogramma Agassizii Lifespan

The Apistogramma lifespan is typically between five and ten years, though this can vary depending on the species. You can help them reach the upper end of that range by maintaining water conditions and providing them with a relatively stress-free life.

Apistogramma Agassizii Tank Setup

When setting up an aquarium for Apistogramma Agassizii, make sure to provide plenty of hiding places for the fish. This can be done by using rocks, driftwood, or artificial plants. It is also important to use a substrate that the fish can dig in, such as sand or gravel. Apistos prefer to live in pairs or in a group with one male and several females, so it is best to keep a colony of these fish in a tank of 15 to 20 gallons.

Apistogramma Agassizii Breeding

Apistogramma Agassizii can be bred in a number of different ways. One popular way to breed them is by using flower pots that have been turned upside down. Another option is to use fake “coconut caves” or bogwood. Apistos also like to spawn on broad-leafed plants. To get them to breed, you will need to provide a pH of 6.0 to 6.5, a water hardness of 5 – 8 dH, and a temperature of 79° to 84° F (26° – 29° C). You will also need to change the water frequently.

(Video) Top 7 Apistogramma Tankmates

Apistogramma Agassizii Disease

Apistogramma Agassizii are not immune to disease and can fall victim to a number of different illnesses. The most common Apisto disease is ichthyophthirius, also known as ick or ich. Ich is a parasitic infection that causes white spots to form on the fish’s body. The spots grow in size and number until the fish dies. If your Apisto contracts ich, you will need to treat it with a medication like ick-x or copper sulfate as soon as possible.

Another common Apisto disease is fin rot. Fin rot is a bacterial infection that causes the fins to become red and swollen. The bacteria also cause the fish to lose its appetite and eventually die. If your Apisto contracts fin rot, you will need to treat it with a medication like ick-x or copper sulfate as soon as possible.

Apistogramma Agassizii Tank Mates

Apistogramma Agassizii can be kept with a variety of other fish species. Some good tank mates for Apistos include smaller tetras, barbs, and danios. Apistos do well in community tanks and will help to keep the other fish in check. They can also be kept with some of the more peaceful cichlids, such as angelfish and discus. It is important to avoid keeping Apistos with aggressive fish though, as they may become stressed or injured.

Are Apistogramma Agassizii community fish?

Apistogramma Agassizii are a great choice for a community tank because they are small, colorful, and don’t take up too much space as they live on the bottom of the tank.

Do Apistogramma Agassizii need to be in pairs?

Apistogramma Agassizii are a very social fish and can become stressed if they are not kept in a group or with one male and several females. While Apistos do fine alone, it is important to make sure that the tank has plenty of hiding places for them to feel comfortable.

Examples of Compatible Tank Mates

Some good tank mates for Apistos include smaller tetras, barbs, and danios. Apistos do well in community tanks and will help to keep the other fish in check. They can also be kept with some of the more peaceful cichlids, such as angelfish and discus. It is important to avoid keeping Apistos with aggressive fish though, as they may become stressed or injured.

(Video) Apistogramma Agassizii Fire Gold

Examples of Compatible Tank Mates

Some bad tank mates for Apistos include larger fish, such as Oscars or other cichlids, as they may attack and injure the Apistos. Another bad choice for a tank mate is the common goldfish, which can outgrow Apistos very quickly. It is also important to avoid keeping Apistos with fish that like to nip at the fins, such as most tetras and barbs.

Where can I find Apistogramma Agassizii for sale?

Apistogramma Agassizii can be found for sale at most pet stores that specialize in fish. They can also be found online at a number of different websites. Prices vary but typically cost between $5 and $10 each. Hybrid Apistos with hybrid coloration or new variants can cost upwards of $25 each.

Apistogramma Agassizii Types

The types and colors of Apistogramma Agassizii depend on the location and breeding of the species. Their indigenous origins are the Apure River in Venezuela, but they are often tank-bred. It can be challenging to label an Apistos since there are many color hybrids and variants. Below is a general guide to identifying the different types of Apistogramma Agassizii.

  • Apistogramma Agassizii Double Red: Multicolored – yellow and orange.
  • Apistogramma Agassizii Cuipeua: Both males and females have yellow to orange colors.
  • Apistogramma Agassizii Super Red: Males and females have a silver body with a vibrant red tail.
  • Apistogramma Agassizii Flame Red: Both males and females have yellow, red, and orange colors with a purple back.
  • Apistogramma Agassizii Orange: Both males and females have an orange color with a black line on their bodies.
  • Apistogramma Agassizii Fire Gold: Both males and females have a vibrant yellow color.
  • Apistogramma Agassizii Tefe Blue: Adult males are blue while females have yellow coloration.
  • Apistogramma Agassizii Redback (Tefe Redback): Vibrant blue with orange-red fins.
(Video) Our Apistogramma Agassizi have fry!


So there you have it, an Apistogramma Agassizii care guide designed for aquarium enthusiasts who want to help keep those Apists forever happy and healthy. In summary, Apistos are a wonderful fish to keep even if it is your first time keeping freshwater fish as pets – they are easy to care for due to their algae diet. The Apisto will be very happy in most community aquariums but make sure to avoid keeping them with aggressive fish or fish that like to nip at the fins.

(Video) Cichlid dispute

I hope you enjoyed this Apistogramma Agassizii (Agassiz’s dwarf cichlid) care guide designed for anyone who wants to keep Apistos in their aquariums forever happy and healthy. I hope this Apisto care information helped provide an Apistos aquarium that will allow you to enjoy your Apistos as much as we do!


Can Apistogramma be kept with cichlids? ›

Usually, Cichlids are seen as big aggressors in the fish community. Luckily, Apistogramma don't really fit with that profile. We would categorize them as semi-aggressive. They can be kept in tanks with other fish, but you need to plan the habitat accordingly.

How many Apistogramma should be kept together? ›

While there is a lot of variation from species to species, apistos tend to live in “harems” with one male and four or five females. These fish need to be kept in groups or pairs in order to thrive, and keeping a group will make breeding easier should you choose to try it.

Are Apistogramma hard to keep? ›

Easy Cichlids

Fortunately, there are some species of dwarf cichlids that can be kept with no problems at all in moderately hard water and at a neutral pH. Two of these are the three-stripe dwarf cichlid (Apistogramma trifasciata) and the red-line dwarf cichlid (A. hongsloi).

How big of a tank do I need for Apistogramma? ›

Facts About the Apistogramma

They do require a tank of about 20 gallons or larger. They're best for a neutral pH water and don't really require a low pH. The water should be between 72 and 86 degrees. They do prefer planted groupings in the tank, too.

Can Apistogramma live with African cichlids? ›

This is surely possible, as long as the first is a dwarf and the other is a ram. Indeed, these two are known for being the most docile and peaceful cichlid species among them all. The only thing you need to be incredibly careful about is providing them plenty of safe and hiding spots.

Do Apistogramma need caves? ›

Yes they would need a cave or similar. They like to use them for hiding and need them for breeding.

Does Apistogramma need heater? ›

As I mentioned earlier, there is no need for a heater as long as the room temperature doesn't go below 60°F (15°C) for any length of time. If you absolutely have to have a heater, set it for 72° to 74°F (22° to 23°C). As said before, your local water is probably fine for the very-adaptable cockatoo apisto.

How often should you feed Apistogramma? ›

I feed 3-4 times a day, do 25-50% w/c daily. I start with microworms and then add some bbs after a day or two. The microworms don't die and spoil like bbs do so I like them for a day or two when it is very hard to vacume up the tank bottom.

Does Apistogramma eat shrimp? ›

cacatuoides get some size. As the shimp grow, the shed their hard exoskeleton for a short period. If the apistos find them at this time, they will eat them.

Does Apistogramma need sand? ›

Sand is definitely NOT a must as many apisto breeders and hobbyists in Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore do NOT use sand. I myself only use sand in a few tanks with special purposes. The majority of other apisto collectors and breeders in Hong Kong even do NOT use sands as the substrates for any tank!!

Can Apistogramma keep 2 men? ›

A lot depends on the decor of the aquarium. For a breeding tank, I suggest 2 males and 5-6 females, all of the same species + some pencilfish or other non-fry predators.

Does Apistogramma eat algae? ›

I always have a few SAE's around and I only buy small ones and trade them back when they get big, they are at their best at eating algae at the 1.5-2" range, when they get to 3" or so I trade them. I have several bristlenose and none of them do any harm to my plants.

Can you keep 1 Apistogramma? ›

That is just fine. I keep some of my males in solo tanks until I am ready to try breeding them with a female. The only disadvantage I can see is that they are really fun to watch when there is a female in the tank. Plus they exhibit more pronounced color when trying to impress a female.

What is the hardiest Apistogramma? ›

Apistogramma steindachneri Basics

This dwarf cichlid is a hardy fish, which, unlike the majority of the Apistogramma species, does not require soft and acidic water—it is perfectly comfortable at a pH of 7 and general hardness of up to 10 dGH.

What is the most peaceful Apistogramma? ›

rubrolineata has been the most peaceful.

What temperature do Apistogramma like? ›

A. agassizii does best in well-oxygenated, acidic water with a pH range of 4.0 – 6.0. Water temperature should be kept between 73 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit. This species is peaceful when kept with other community species similar in size and non-aggressive (avoid other dwarf cichlid species).

What are good Tankmates for dwarf cichlids? ›

Wild caught specimens should be kept in a species aquarium due to their special water chemistry needs, however, captive bred individuals can be kept with peaceful fish. Some of those include neons, cardinals, rummynose, lemon tetras, hatchetfish, pencilfish, small rasboras, pygmy gouramis and Corydoras catfish.

Does Apistogramma jump? ›

Most apistos aren't jumpers unless something scares them. This can be caused by not enough hiding places, sudden light change and even shaddows above an open surface tank.

Will Apistogramma eat flakes? ›

Apisto won't eat flake food. I got a pair of cockatoo apistos a few weeks back. They've settled in well, but they refuse flake food and, the female especially, will only take frozen bloodworms or artemia (brine shrimp).

Can Apistogramma eat bloodworms? ›

Bloodworms are similar to what forms part of the diets of apistos in the wild. That being said, care is always recommended.

Can I use gravel with an Apistogramma? ›

Moderator. I use fine gravel (size 30 or 40). I like it better than sand because it is easier to clean.

Does Apistogramma dig? ›

These fish are quite shy and retiring and require a planted aquarium with plenty of hiding places (e.g., driftwood, PVC tubing, flowerpots and so on). A fine gravel substrate is recommended. Apistos seem uncomfortable over bare bottoms and they seem to enjoy digging.

Can Apistogramma be kept with neon tetras? ›

They are natives of the Amazon River basins of South America, though very few Neon Tetras in captivity are wild-caught. If you want to add one of these fish to your aquarium, it could be a good choice for a tank that also houses the Apistogramma because it is a mid-dweller, not a bottom-dweller.

Are Apistogramma aggressive? ›

no aggression, unless the other fish gets too close to the fry/eggs. it's tetras, corys, "algae eaters" etc which show aggression, apistos only defend their young.

How long do Apistogramma take to grow? ›

They are not picky eaters and can be fed a combination of flake foods, Fluval Bug Bites, and baby brine shrimp two times per day. They will grow to approximately . 375” to . 5” in their first two months and will be ready to spawn in five to eight months.

Can Apistogramma change gender? ›

Active Member. but anyway, it IS possible, that apistos could change their sex. These specimen are able to breed in both sexes, but that's rare. In most cases, when people tell about sex change, it's this subdominant behaviour of males, as Mervin said.

Can I keep guppies with Apistogramma? ›

Short term, they would probably work out ok, but most guppies are going to prefer a higher pH / harder water / higher temps than apistos. As far as them getting along, yes, it could probably work; although the guppies will probably prey on apisto fry.

What is the most colorful Apistogramma? ›

Cockatoo Dwarf Cichlid:

These are the most colorful type of Apistogramma, males having bright red spots on fins and large silky fins, whereas the females have a dull yellow shade. They also have a very prominent black stripe that goes from head to tail.

Do Apistogrammas like flow? ›

Quite many sources say that Apistogrammas should not have a strong water flow in the tank.

How often do Apistogrammas breed? ›

So onec every 3 weeks. All depends how long the fry survive. When they are death the mother colors normal and after the next water change (with rain water) they spawn again.

What is the smallest Apistogramma? ›

Not only is Apistogramma angayuara the smallest Apistogramma species known (according to the scientists who described the species), with the largest male measuring just 24.7 mm and the largest female a mere 22.7 mm, it is also found in rapid flowing water and feeds predominantly upon rhizopods.

Do Apistogramma eat snails? ›

Macmasteri-group species are known to pick up small snails and ram the shells against the glass or other hard surfaces to break the shell and then eat the soft parts.

Do Apistogramma eat eggs? ›

Moderator. Yes, parents eat eggs/fry at times.

Can dwarf cichlids live with African cichlids? ›

Types of cichlids that can live together are cichlids from the same region. For example, African cichlids go well with other African cichlids, South American cichlids go well with other South American cichlids, and so on. In addition, some types like Dwarf cichlid can live with other cichlids.

Can you keep just one Apistogramma? ›

Can apistogrammas be kept alone? They can, but will not thrive. For the apistogrammas to be happy, it needs suitable tank mates, and males should ideally have multiple female apistogrammas around.

What plants can live with cichlids? ›

Some plants that are ideal for cichlid tanks include anubias, java ferns, java moss, crinum, vallisneria, echinodorus, and cryptocoryne. As long as the cichlid does not like to eat the plant, and as long as the plant has a strong root system, it should be fine.

How many dwarf cichlids can I put in a 40 gallon tank? ›

The African Cichlid Tank

Subdominant males tend to range from yellow to light blue with faint barring. For a 40-gallon aquarium, we recommend getting 1–2 males and 4–5 females.

Are dwarf cichlids hard to keep? ›

These fish species are not as significant as other cichlids. They are much less aggressive and will live well with other fish species in the same tank. Another good feature of the Dwarf Cichlids is that they do not require much care as long as you keep them in larger tanks.

How many dwarf cichlids can be in a tank? ›

Dwarf cichlids have big characters for such small fish, and they're suitable for tropical community tanks. Just keep it to one pair of dwarf cichlids per tank.

Do cichlids prefer rocks or plants? ›

Aquarium rocks are ideal for Cichlid tanks. Most types will use rocks to mark out their territory, as shelter and as a handy place to lay their eggs. It's vital to get your rocks from a safe source.

Will dwarf cichlids uproot plants? ›

Another reason that most plants don't survive the African cichlid tank is because of their behaviour. African Cichlids are builders. They will move the substrate around and uproot all the plants.

Do cichlids like plants in their tank? ›

Most cichlids are herbivores that prefer eating algae and nutrient-rich plants. Therefore, you need to be careful when you put your fish in with any type of greenery. Also, cichlids can be ridiculously aggressive towards plants. They like to redecorate their tank, so the plants you put in need to be strong.


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