Care Level: Easy
Live Plant Safe: Yes
General Description: The Cacatuoides Apistogramma, or simply Apisto for short, is found throughout white and clear waters of the Rio Ucayli and Rio Solimoes drainages of the Amazon basin. Its species epithet, cacatuoides, translates to ‘Cockatoo’ which is another name in which this fish is frequently sold under. Due to the popularity of this fish since its introduction into the hobby in the 1950s, the Cacatuoides apisto is readily available through commercial farming in Asia. These aquacultured specimens are much less fussy than their wild counterparts. Male Cacatuoides apisto are stunning little fishes, with dazzling red and black dorsal, caudal and anal fins and a blue sheen to their bodies. The first several rays of the male’s dorsal fin will also be very elongated. There are two selectively bred color forms of Cacatuoides apisto, referred to as ‘Double Red’ [for at least a combination of two red fins out of the three mentioned above] or ‘Triple Red’ [all three fin types are red]. In most cases, even these more colorful forms are often sold as just Cacatuoides, but please be aware of the variation that exists in males. Female Cacatuoides apisto are more muted in color, and do not have any elaborate fins. Subordinate males will also show muted colors 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 Cacatuoides apisto, a male – female pair, or a male with a harem of females is generally recommended per aquarium. An adult Cacatuoides 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 Cacatuoides 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. Cacatuoides 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 Cacatuoides 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 Cacatuoides apisto would also include a good proportion of live plants. Given their temperament, Cacatuoides 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.