Apistogramma agassizii (Agassiz’s dwarf cichlid) Care Guide – Planting, Growing,…

Apistogramma agassizii

General information about Apistogramma agassizii (Agassiz’s dwarf cichlid)

Apistogramma agassizii occur in very different water types throughout the Amazon region and belong to the Apistogramma. They live in white water areas such as the Amazon / Ucayali system and black water biotopes of the Rio Negro, below the Rio Branco. So the species is quite adaptable.

The animals are easily mistaken for Apistogramma bitaeniata. The females, in particular, are hard to tell apart. The females of both species have a black spot on the centerline.

The keeping conditions for Apistogramma agassizii

Apistogramma agassizii (Agassiz’s dwarf cichlid) from relatively large territories. If a group of several males is kept, the aquarium must offer sufficient space. Under certain circumstances, some males can be used more so that the aggressions are better distributed.

A pair of Apistogramma agassiziii can be kept in an aquarium with 112 liters of water.

Very soft water with a conductivity of around 100 µS / cm and a pH value below 6 is ideal.

German offspring can be kept in moderately hard and even slightly alkaline water. Even though it may be possible to grow in alkaline water, acidic water should be used.

Suitable water values:

  • Temperature: 25 to 27 ° C
  • KH: 4
  • GH: 6
  • pH: below 6 to 6.8
  • NO 3 : 1 mg / l
  • NO 2: nn
  • Conductance: 80 to 120 µS / cm

What to eat Apistogramma agassizii (Agassiz’s dwarf cichlid)?

Suitable feed:

  • White mosquito larvae
  • Black mosquito larvae
  • Artemia
  • Bosmids
  • Cyclops
  • Daphnia
  • Live young guppies
  • granules
  • Catfish tablets
  • Rabbit sticks
  • Frozen spinach
  • Chopped cucumber
  • Water fleas
  • River flea shrimp
  • Artemia in every form
  • Small shrimp
  • Discus mix
  • Flake food
  • Spirulina tablets

Sometimes it takes some time for the animals to get used to a new food. However, they eat any food. Above all, varied feeding is essential.

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How aggressive are Apistogramma agassizii?

The aggressiveness depends on the individual animal. The total population of the aquarium also plays a role. There are Agassizii, who are very peaceful. Other Agassizii is only aggressive within 10 to 15 centimeters of the brood cavity and attacks all fish in the area.

Dominant males of some Apistogrammas from the Agassizii group, i.e., from the closer relationship of A. agassizii, such as Apistogramma pulchra and Ap. sp. “Abacaxis / Wilhelmi” can be very aggressive. Especially against females of their kind.

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In the case of animals belonging to this family group, the male must be removed from the tank after spawning when breeding in smaller species tanks. Otherwise, the female will be harassed too much so that she cannot care for the brood.

Apistogramma agassizii

During the spawning season, females guard their territories.

The inner territory of a female, from which everything is expelled, is about 20 x 30 centimeters.

The outer area, in which no fish of at least the same size is tolerated on the ground for a long time, is about 50 x 40 centimeters.

Two females should therefore not be used in smaller aquariums up to approx. 112 liters.

If both females guard spawns and thereby drive away from the male, the male can only flee to the other female territory.

There it is chased away again, etc.

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How is Apistogramma agassizii (Agassiz’s dwarf cichlid) stimulated to spawn?

By lowering the pH value and increasing the temperature to 27 to 28 ° C, the animals can be put in a mood. The pH value must be reduced by filtering peat or adding leaves, not by increasing the supply of CO 2.

A pH value of 5.5 is ideal for the offspring of A. agassizii. If the matter cannot be lowered as much because of other roommates, a pH value of 6.5 can be tried. Apistogramma agassizii were already reared at pH 7.6.

However, for the brood’s development, a pH value of around five is advantageous, especially in wild-caught ones.

The total hardness can be reduced to below 2.

Suppose the female is not ready to spawn, varied feeding with live and frozen food, e.g., B. white and black mosquito larvae. It seems that living, white mosquito larvae are incredibly stimulating.

What to do if a couple refuses to spawn

Sometimes a couple doesn’t match and doesn’t want to spawn together. In such cases, changing partners often helps. Sometimes a supposed female is also a man. This is often only recognized after moving it to a man-free pool.

In small aquariums, in particular, it is often only possible to use just one additional animal in order to get a spawning pair. There are different experiences as to whether a second male or a second female should be added to a couple who do not want to spawn.

Add a second male


If an existing pair does not spawn, it is better to use a second male in such small tanks than a second female. For the male, it will be uncomfortable but not life-threatening. The males will quarrel at first, but this will make the female interesting to both males. The inferior male must be caught at the latest when spawning.

With this method, only a second male may be used, which is already adapted to the water conditions and is not weakened by transport, etc.

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If the aquarium is neatly structured, there is no danger to any of the males. Also, the new male can be stronger. This method is definitely safer than adding a second female.

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Counter arguments:

There is a risk that the long-established male will vigorously defend his territory and kill the new male, which has been weakened by habituation, etc. The old male may be more concerned with the intruder than with the female.

Because the old male has so far considered the entire basin as his territory, he continues to regard the entire basin as his territory. Even a subdivision does not prevent that. The new male may be able to hide well. But as soon as it shows up, it will be attacked. In the long run, it cares and comes in.

According to one report, two apistogramma agassizii was killed by an apistogramma macmasteri while trying to put the apistogramma agassizii in a 240-liter aquarium with the apistogramma macmasteri.

The apistogramma macmasteri literally found the apistogramma agassizii and looked for them until it found them in their hiding places. The pool was well structured with a lot of wood. In the middle of the basin, there was a large root to demarcate the area. The planting was thick. Many caves and other hiding places were available.

It is always difficult to integrate a male into an existing territory structure, and it takes a lot of luck. Because the level of aggression is different for each individual fish, it is not impossible.

It is better if there is no existing territory structure. The males should be placed in a pool together. Or the basin is massively redecorated. It is best to catch existing animals and put them back into the newly decorated pool together with the newcomer.

Apistogramma agassizii

Add a second female.


In females, the aggressions are not as pronounced as in males. Females form smaller territories and do not claim entire tanks for themselves. The aggression towards the males is also not so extreme that it would be life-threatening for a male. Males are only driven away by the spawn for a short time and only from the immediate vicinity of the breeding cave or the young fish. A quiet place remains for a male, even if both females breed in the tank at the same time.

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Counter arguments:

Female territories are small compared to the male territory but are defended more consistently by the females. As long as the male does not penetrate the female territory and take over the defense of the outer territory, no problems arise.

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But if the male inevitably comes to another female territory because of the pool z. B. is so small, and the male is attacked.

Corresponding experiences have been made with C. filamentosa, N. anomala, Apistogramma agassizii agassizii, and Badis badis. A base area of ​​60 x 45 centimeters was enough for two female territories and the male around the outside.

But if both females had spawned or had young, a height of 35 centimeters was too low. The mostly much stronger male was always defeated. If the male was able to spawn with a female, the other female was usually spawned as well.

In small basins with 112 liters, just fit two females. There is no space for a male area around it. A couple and a competitor can at least live together in it until a couple willing to spawn has found and spawned.

Do the parents eat their young?

If the brood has suddenly disappeared, it may also have been eaten by the parents. A male willing to spawn can press a female so much during brood care that she spawns again. When the previous cubs are a bit bigger, the female stops leading them and leaves the cubs to their own devices. Because the cubs can hide well, they may reappear in a few weeks, if not too many predators in the aquarium are.

When the young are very young, and there are only a few young, the young are sometimes eaten so that they can spawn again.

If the young are eaten several times, the male should be removed from the breeding tank after spawning.

Buy Apistogramma agassizii.

Apistogramma agassiziis are readily available from local aquarists. A few providers also offer online purchases with professional shipping.

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