Care Level: Easy
Live Plant Safe: Yes
General Description: The Red Shoulder Apistogramma, or simply Apisto for short, are found in the basins of the Rio Meta river system in Colombia. Due to the popularity of this fish, the Red shoulder apisto is readily available through commercial farming. Unlike some of the other apistogrammas, both male and female Red shoulder apistos are quite striking! Their bodies are tan with many dark markings throughout, with some iridescent blue markings in the face and the distinct vibrant red shoulder patch in which they get their name for. This red shoulder patch extends a little further down the body in males than in females. Additionally, especially during spawning behavior, males will be slightly more colorful than females. The dorsal and anal fins of males also get more pointed. More subordinate males will show muted coloration in the presence of a dominant male. Even though apistogrammas are cichlids, they are very peaceful (with the exception of territoriality during spawning) and are popular choices for planted and community aquariums. These fish are obligate bottom dwellers, and will almost entirely ignore fish in all other regions of the aquarium. Either a single male Red shoulder apisto, a male – female pair, or a male with a harem of females is generally recommended per aquarium. An adult Red shoulder apisto can reach a size of approximately 2-1/2″ to 3″, with males averaging larger than females.
Diet Requirements: Apistogrammas are carnivores. A diet made up of various high quality protein based flake foods, sinking pellet foods and frozen foods such as bloodworms, brine shrimp, daphnia or other mixed freshwater preparations are ideal. Variety is the spice of life in order to maintain color, immune function and longevity of your fish.
Care Requirements: An established minimum 15 to 20 gallon aquarium is ideal for a single Red shoulder apisto. We recommend sizing up to a 30 gallon aquarium for a pair. If one wants to attempt to keep multiple pairs together, no less than 75 gallons should be considered. Red shoulder apisto should not be introduced into a biologically immature aquarium, as they have sensitivities to nitrite and ammonia. Weekly water changes are encouraged to keep water parameters up to standard (Nitrates < 15 ppm). The aquarium should be aquascaped generously with rocks, wood and other furnishings to create many hiding spaces. Few hiding spaces could result in your Red shoulder apisto acting more aggressively toward tank mates. Broken terra cotta pots are often used as spawning caves for this species. An ideal environment for a Red shoulder apisto would also include a good proportion of live plants. Given their temperament, Red shoulder apisto rarely conflict with tank mates and are best kept with peaceful community species, such as tetras, danios and rasboras. Other semi-aggressive bottom dwelling species and dwarf cichlids, such as ram cichlids, should be avoided. Recommended water conditions, 72-78° F, KH 2-15, pH 5.0-6.0.
Purchase Size: Medium: 1-1/4” to 1-1/2”
Note: Your item may not look identical to the image provided due to variation within species. Purchase sizes are approximate.