At Tannin, we've long been fans of the genus Apistogramma.
For me personally, these are some of the most perfect little cichlids you can keep. They're challenging, colorful, small in size, and available in a variety of color morphs and type locality variations...they're never boring, always challenging, and are a lot of fun to watch, maintain, and breed. Seems like new varieties are coming in all the time. Add to the fact that their biotope is right in our wheelhouse, so to speak- Amazonia- and you've got a bunch of irresistible little aquatic subjects to work with! They range from ridiculously easy to keep, to uber-difficult...who doesn't love THAT?
(Apistogramma agassizii- pic by Sychriscar)
Some interesting Apisto facts:
*The genus name, Apistogramma- refers to the fact that they have a characteristic irregular lateral line
*There are around 100 documented species in the genus
*Although the greatest species diversity is found in the Amazon Basin, they're found as far south as Argentina
*The males are extremely sexually dimorphic in most species (i.e.; the boys look different than the girls)
(Apistogramma nijsseni- pic by Sascha Biedermann)
These fishes spend a lot of time in- and spawn amongst - leaf littler, caves, holes, and overhanging branches. Wouldn't you know it- we have all that stuff! Coincidence? I think not!
These fishes display their best colors- and demonstrate the best spawning sex ratios- in soft, warm, acidic water conditions. Fortunately, with a variety of aquatic botanicals available, we can help you select materials that would not only help provide these conditions for your fishes- but help enrich their habitat and provide aesthetic benefits as well! We even developed a sampler pack of aquatic botanicals just for them!
(William Garden's Apistogramma bitaeniata putting a "Savu Pod" to good use!)
One of the greatest features of these much-loved fishes is that you can keep a decent amount of them in relatively small aquariums (like as little as 10 gallons), and if you aquascape carefully, you can keep a group of many species without too much territorial nonsense!
(Apistogramma cacatuoides- pic by William Kreijkes)
With dedicated hobbyists breeding more and more varieties all the time, these little Cichlids will continue to gain popularity and win a space in the hearts- and tanks- of fish fanciers everywhere!
Be sure to check out our "Aquatic Botanicals" section for a full variety of stuff that will help you create the perfect Apisto biotope aquarium!