Apistogramma Agassizii – Care, Size, Tank Mates & Details!

Apistogramma Agassizii also known as Agassiz’s dwarf cichlid is a freshwater ray-finned fish from the Cichlid family. They live in the tropical region of South America.

The fish has got its name in honor of Harvard University Professor Jean Louis Rodolphe Agassiz, who even at an old age (58 years old) managed to make a major expedition to Brazil, leaving behind a significant collection of local Ichthyofauna.

General Information

Dwarf Cichlids have long been an integral part of the aquarium world. Some of the most popular representatives of this group are Apistogramma’s: A small but incredibly attractive fish with variegated color.

In our article, we will tell you about the correct measures of keeping Apistogramma Agassizii!

Apistogramma Agassizii has the widest range of colors and varieties in comparison with its closest relatives. You will find this fish in lots of places – from the foothills of the Andes to the confluence of the Amazon River into the Atlantic Ocean.

Living in such different conditions has contributed to the formation of local geographic morphs that differ in color:

  • Blue-white (lives at the mouth of the Rio Negro);
  • Red (upper Amazon, Peru, Colombia). Most common among aquarists;
  • Yellow (neighborhood of the cities of Rio Tefe, Santa Rema).

Apistogramma Aagassizii is relatively peaceful and easy to keep fish. These fishes are excellent decorations for a small tropical aquarium.

For this species, taking care of the offspring is inherent, so you can think about breeding them at home.


Apistogramma Agassizii has a slightly elongated and slightly laterally flattened body. The maximum size of males is 8 cm, females are smaller, grow only up to 5 cm in length.

The main body color varies from blue to greenish, in some cases yellow-brown. The abdomen is orange or yellowish. A dark stripe runs along the sides of the body. It can be solid or intermittent, sometimes absent altogether.

Their heads are small, with a terminal mouth and large eyes. The caudal fin immediately attracts attention.

To some, it resembles a candle flame. The front part of their fins is soft which makes swimming effortless.

Small turquoise spots are not uncommon near the eye. The fins, except for the pectorals, are colored red, orange, or blue. The color of males is much brighter than that of females.

The life span of Apistogramma Agassizii in an aquarium is up to 5 years.


The birthplace of Apistogramma agassizii is the central Amazon. This fish can be found in a wide area from the Atlantic Ocean to the Andes.

Its range includes Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Peru, and several other countries.

Apistogramma inhabits various biotopes, can live in “white” and “black” tropical water. Most of all it gravitates towards slow-flowing river tributaries, creeks, streams with dense vegetation, and significant leaf litter.

The water here is soft and sour.

Care and Maintenance

To keep the Apistogramma Agassizii, you need an aquarium with a volume of 40-60 liters. It is best to start small groups of a male and 2-3 females.

Several males can only be kept in large aquariums, as the fish are territorial and there can be clashes between males.

The substrate can be sand or small pebbles suitable for growing plants. Of the latter, it is desirable to plant shade-tolerant species – Anubias, Cryptocorynes, ferns, etc.

Apistogramma does not like bright lighting; natural shading can be created using floating plants – Pistia, Riccia. It is necessary to create a variety of shelters from pipes, grottoes, stones, and snags.

Apistogramma Agassizii are sensitive to the content of nitrogenous compounds in the water, therefore it is important to ensure good aeration and filtration in the aquarium.

The flow of water in this case should not be very powerful. Apistogramma is thermophilic, so you need a thermostat to maintain a comfortable water temperature.

These fishes like to swim around plants so you can place plants in the aquarium. You may put Rosette plants like the  Amazon Sword, Vallisneria, and  stem plants like Wisteria.

It is necessary to change 20% of the water in the aquarium weekly.

Always use Tetra AquaSafe Conditioner to avoid sedimenting tap water and making it safe for fish. Adding another conditioner, Tetra ToruMin, would also be helpful.

It contains natural peat extract, which gives the water a little “tea” tint and slightly acidifies it, which creates conditions for the fish very close to natural ones.

Optimum water parameters for the content: T = 22-29°C, pH = 5.0-7.0, GH = 1-12.

Apistogramma Agassizii Tank Mates

Apistogramma Agassizii is a peace-loving fish, but at some stages of life, it becomes quite aggressive.

This is primarily about the spawning period. The female and male guarding the nest actively drive away any stranger from it. Therefore, when keeping in a common aquarium, it is important to have multiple shelters.

Best Tankmates for Apistogramma Agassizii are various types of tetras and other fishes like Neon Tetras, Black Skirt Tetra, Serpae Tetra, Pygmy Corydoras, Pleco FishPencil Fish, Etc.

The Apistogramma Agassizii is one of the few fish that will feel comfortable in the vicinity of discus. In their natural environment, the habitats of these fish often overlap.

Keeping with other types of Apistogramma is also possible unless you wish to breed this species and keep the breed characteristics.

Feeding Apistogramma Agassizii

The Agassizii is an omnivore but more of a carnivore. They feed on small benthic invertebrates ,baby brine, frozen brine shrimp, crustaceans, insects, insect larvae, and some may eat flakes and pelleted foods. Though they are small in size, they are famous predators.

Therefore, when keeping it at home, it is important to provide your pet with high-quality proteins.

To enhance the color of the red and yellow forms of the Agassizii, you can use Tetra Cichlid Color Mini Pellets with a concentrate of natural carotenoids, which makes your pets even brighter and more attractive.

Be sure to indulge your Apistogramma with Tetra FreshDeica natural treats. Fish will like bloodworms or brine shrimp in a special nutritious jelly.

Apistogramma should be fed in small portions several times a day.

Breeding Apistogramma agassizii

Breeding Agassizii at home is an incredibly exciting experience. It is not at all difficult to find a couple of fish.

In mature Cichlids, males are much larger, more brightly colored, and their fins are sharply pointed.

Spawning can occur both in a general and in a separate aquarium. However, in the first case, it should be borne in mind that Apistogramma during the period of caring for the nest will be quite aggressive towards tank mates.

The relationship between male and female is very interesting. The male, ready for spawning, makes a nest. The best ground for spawning is to increase the temperature of water.

Usually, this is a hole near the stone, which he carefully cleans. Then they choose a female for themselves and begin to chase them. If the female is not ready for spawning, then the “courtship” of the male can become a real problem for her.

The males can bite their fins and literally beat their partner. In such cases, it is recommended to keep the female and hold her for a week or a little more in a separate container. Also, you can enhance the feeding, until she finally picks up eggs, which will become noticeable on the thickened abdomen.

Fry Of Apistogramma agassizii

If the female is ready to start a family, then she accepts the courtship of the male and swims up to the nest, where she lays eggs. The fertility of one female can range from 60 to 200 eggs.

The male immediately fertilizes the eggs. And here, the roles of the fish can change dramatically.  Females are often seen pursuing the males and damaging their fins.

In this situation, it would be prudent to remove them. In some cases, young female Apistogramma can easily eat their offspring. Therefore, it is better not to disturb them again.

Egg incubation takes 3-6 days depending on the water temperature. First, wriggling larvae are born, feeding on the contents of their yolk sac. After a couple of days, they turn into fry and begin to swim freely.

It is best to keep fry at elevated temperatures (28-30 ° C). It is necessary to maintain a high quality of water, change it daily. Fry that succeeds in growth must be removed from the smaller ones. You can initially feed them liquid foods and rotifers. When they turn weeks old, you can feed them Artemia Nauplii 3 times a day. They can also be fed live freshly hatched baby brine shrimp 3 times a day.

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