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Apistogramma agassizii

See also: A. agassizii spawning article by Phil Ryti, originally written for the Michigan Cichlid Association.


  1. [F] Breeding Apistogramma agassizi
    by (Oleg Kiselev) (Mon, 8 Nov 1993)
  2. My Apistography
    by Pete Johnson <petej/> (Thu, 15 Aug 96)
  3. Info. on my agasizii
    by "Richard J. Sexton" <richard/> (Fri, 13 Sep 1996)
  4. What does a agassizii really look like.
    by "Ed Pon" <edpon/> (Fri, 30 Jan 1998)
  5. What does a agassizii really look like
    by swaldron/ (Steven J. Waldron) (Sat, 31 Jan 1998)
  6. Some Wild Caught Apistos
    by Marco Lacerda <marcolacerda/> (Wed, 14 Jan 1998)
  7. A. agassizi females
    by Ken Laidlaw <K.Laidlaw/> (Fri, 11 Dec 1998)
  8. Apistogramma contaminant
    by Mike & Diane Wise <apistowise/> (Mon, 12 Jun 2000)

A. agassizii "Rio Madeira" female

A. agassizii "Rio Madeira" male

Photos by Ken Laidlaw



Photos by Erik Olson


Photo by Doug Brown

[F] Breeding Apistogramma agassizi

by (Oleg Kiselev)
Date: Mon, 8 Nov 1993

In article <> meisner-at-DT2.WTDA writes:
>Did anyone out there ever breed these guys.

Yes, a couple of times.

>I keep them by themselves (with two tiny catfish (Loacridae)) in a 5 Gallon

5 gal is too small.  I know that Dr. Loiselle claims to have managed to
breed them in a 10 gal tank 2/3 filled with large rocks ("caves" set
up), but my current attempts to breed them in a 10 gal tank are failing
miserably.  A few years ago I did well with them in a 40 gal "breeder"
(wide/low) tank and in a "standard" 60 gal.

In my experience the catfish are not desirable tankmates.  They
irritate the breeding Apistos and the heavily armored Loricariidae I
tried keeping in the same tank had gotten ito a habit of harassing the
breededs out of their caves and eating the eggs.  Small tetras or, as was
the case for one of my set ups, surface-hugging killies (Aplocheilus spp.)
provide an adequate level of dithering.  Corydoras catfish may be safe, too.
I seem to recall having a few of those in the tanks as well.

>It's dimly (?) lit and there are some plants and some dark gravel.

The more cover and visual obstacles -- the better,

>PH ranges around 7 - 7.5, DH around 10. Temp is 26 Celsius.

I had found that the softwer water, lower pH and higher tempratures would
trigger spawning.  However, mine were the wild fish, and the tank-bred
individuals may be less demanding (but then the trio I am trying to spawn
now is tank-raised and they are refusing to lay eggs)

>Any advise on getting them to lay eggs ?

What worked for me in the past was: high-protein live food diet (worms), a
significant drop in pH and hardness (1/3 tank water change with R/O water
laced with Tetra blackwater extract over the course of about a day) and an
increase in water temoerature to 29-31'C.
Oleg Kiselev at home                    ...use the header to find the path

My Apistography

by Pete Johnson <petej/>
Date: Thu, 15 Aug 96
To: "apisto" <apisto/>

>> * A. agassizii (Peruvian blue, wild)
>> * A. bitaeniata (Peruvian, wild)
>> * A. cacatuoides (red & orange)

>1. Do you mean that you have two strains each of the above
>or are you saying e.g. that the aggies are called peruvian blue,
>and that they are wild. Are the cockatoos both red and orange on the
>same fish? Living in Japan I am unsure as to terminology
>of breeds of apisto.

Sorry if that was unclear. No, the agassizii are just what we brought 
back from Peru -- they're blue aggies, though some seemed to show other 
colors as they grew out. Interestingly, Uwe Romer, a German apisto expert 
who just spoke to the ACA in New Orleans, says that if you breed wild 
aggies, regardless of whether they're blue, yellow or red, the offspring 
will show all the color varieties. That is, the dominant color form in an 
area is selected by environmental conditions. It is not genetically 

A. cacatuoides occurs in many color varieties which do breed true. I am 
aware of reds (that's one color variety, it's not red+orange) and oranges 
and double reds and even triple reds, all of which I believe are 
German-produced color strains. I have both red and orange varieties. The 
red varieties might show some orange -- these fish have lots of different 
colors on them -- but they're called reds as that is the dominant color. 
I have reds and two kinds of oranges. One of the oranges is *very* large, 
and the female even shows color on her caudal.

>2. I remember you as saying that some wild apisto you brought back
>from Peru was thought to be a new color form, at least to the US hobby.
>Did that turn out to be so? If so, anything published about it?
>What species, what were its characteristics?

These were blue agassizii. They looked different from the pictures in 
Linke & Staeck so I thought they might be a new kind of aggie, but I now 
know there are many small color variations, and these fell somewhere on 
the known spectrum.

A. agassizii has the largest range of any Apisto -- it's a major-league 
range for *any* fish -- so there are many regional variations. The Rio 
Tefe agassizii, for instance, show two distinct color forms. One is very 
red but similar to other aggie color forms. The other is spangled like a 
Christmas ornament. Singular in appearance, but Romer says it breeds with 
other aggie color forms and the offspring are fertile.

     If wishes were fishes we'd all have ponds.

Pete Johnson        San Jose, CA

Info. on my agasizii

by "Richard J. Sexton" <richard/>
Date: Fri, 13 Sep 1996
To: Alimar-D/

At 09:22 PM 9/13/96 -0700, you wrote:
>How can you tell gender? When are they full grown?  I've heard some 
>things like F1's etc.  Mine are beige/yellow with a long black streak, 
>dot on face, blue/green flourescent flecks. Are there many, many types? 
>OH, so many, many questions and so little, little time! ;.}

Males have a spiked tail and are quite colorful. The fameles
remain smaller and look like juveniles. They turn a very pretty
yellow they're "in the mood".


Usenet is a sewer. Don't waste soap trying to clean it.

What does a agassizii really look like.

by "Ed Pon" <edpon/>
Date: Fri, 30 Jan 1998
To: apisto/

Bob wrote:
>Aggies come in as many color morphs as Pseudotropheus zebra, at least.  
>more.  The first ones I owned were plain brownish in the body with 
>orange tails.  At that time (early 80's) there were commonly seen 
>and purple-tails as well.  But over the past several years, as the ful 
>of the aggie's natural habitat has been explored, multitudinous 
>have been found.

When Uwe Romer spoke at the San Francisco Aquarium Society meeting one 
to two years ago, he mentioned that all the color morphs of aggies are 
in the genes of all aggies (my translation of what I though I heard).  
In other words, if you get any pair of aggies and bred them through 
enough generations, you should be able to isolate all the color morphs 
by using various selection methods.  

Some years ago, I remember reading in Aquarium digest that Bitaeniata, I 
think they were still being called Kleei at the time, will throw both 
red and blue individuals in their spawns.  Perhaps this is also true of 

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What does a agassizii really look like

by swaldron/ (Steven J. Waldron)
Date: Sat, 31 Jan 1998
To: apisto/

>I mean, suppose there is only one gene for color, and it can have
>7 different values Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo and Violet.
>Each aggie has 2 copies of the gene (one from each parent). Obvisouly
>is your aggy has a red and violet gene, and its mate only has say, yellow
>and green, none of their descendants can ever have the Blue, Indigo or Violet
>values for that gene.
I have studied some population genetics and most morphological traits are
thought to be the product of many different genes. Therefore, there could
be some significant color variation within a population but this is a
product of selection, as you suggested above. Even the Amazon is not a
uniform environment, there exists many barriers to small fishes like
apistos that inhabit side tributaries and creeks, such barriers restrict
migration and gene flow. Therefore, I think most of the variation we see in
Apistogramma is between locally unique populations that have become
isolated through time, genetics and the everchanging meanders of the river,
rather than within one immensely variable super population.
- Steve Waldron

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Some Wild Caught Apistos

by Marco Lacerda <marcolacerda/>
Date: Wed, 14 Jan 1998
To: apisto/

samaroo wrote:
> Hello,
> I was wondering if anyone has heard of, seen, or had any experience with
> the following apistos.  They may be made available at a local pet store,
> but I have no idea what they even look like.
> 1. wild caught Alenquer aggasizzi

One of the most beautiful of all A. agassizii varieties.
Adults become metalic blue on body, deep yellow or orange on belly.
There is a red variety, meaning more red on caudal fin, than the normal 
Not difficult to breed. Relatively prolific.

> 2. Ap. sp. red point

Never heard of it before.

> 3. wild caught Ap. sp. smaragd emerald

Very colorful population of A. geisleri.
Chest emerald-green, usually with red markings.
A species from the A. regani-group.
In nature it is sympatric with A. agassizii 'Alenquer'.
Very easy to breed, also very prolific.

> Thanks in advance,
> Andy Samaroo
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A. agassizi females

by Ken Laidlaw <K.Laidlaw/>
Date: Fri, 11 Dec 1998
To: apisto/


They may well breed with each other.  Whether 
this is a good or a bad thing is a matter of opinion.  
Since these are probably domestic strains I personally see 
no harm.  I am more in favour of keeping wild strains such 
as "tefe" and "rio madeiras" apart and pure.

I have seen red-gold aga females with red in the tail but 
most do not have any colour in the tail and look the same 
to me.


On Fri, 11 Dec 1998 20:06:23 +1100 Steph & Dave 
<> wrote:

> Do all colour morphs of A. agassizi females look the same or can you
> tell the difference between a 'blue' female and another colour morph.

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Apistogramma contaminant

by Mike & Diane Wise <apistowise/>
Date: Mon, 12 Jun 2000
To: apisto/


I thought that I should comment on this question. A. gibbiceps is usually found
in the middle Rio Negro between the Rio Branco & Rio Uaupés. A. agassizii has
been found in the lower reaches of the  Rio Negro, but is replaced in the
Anavilhanus Archipelago by a different agassizii-complex species, A. gephyra.
Mayland's photo of "A. agassizii Santarém" in the Aqualog book is not A.
agassizii. It is A. gephyra (or something close to it). It probably is the same
fish Römer reports as A. gephyra from Lago Jurucuí near Santarém. My guess,
without seeing your fish, is that you have a group of A. gephyra from the Rio

I go along with Gary about names on fish. If it hasn't descended from stock that
originated in an absolutely, positively, expressly recorded collecting location _
do not _ give it a population name. Because it is an export station, there are
probably a half dozen aggie populations with "Santarém" in their names. Just list
species with unknown location as whatever species it is and leave it at that.
This is especially true with A. agassizii where I feel that we are dealing with a
superspecies - a grouping of several closely related sibling species
(semispecies) that can interbreed in the aquarium but don't have the opportunity
to do so in the wild. There are those who consider A. gephyra to be the ultimate
expression of a semispecies within the A. agassizii superspecies, but this is
taxonomist fodder, nothing worth worrying about.

Mike Wise

Bill Phillips wrote:

> Hello from Australia and hoping that someone can shed some light on a wild
> apisto pair that I was fortunate enough to obtain as a contaminant.
> A shipment of apisto gibbiceps came into the wholesaler and my LFS found
> some Apisto agassizii (about 3 pairs) in the shipment. The problem then
> arose as to what strain the fish is - comparing with the AQualog catalogue
> suggests the strain is "santarem".
> My question (crossing my fingers) is whether gibbiceps is localised in a
> particular area which may shed some light on the possible agissizii strain.
> Probably just my luck that gibbiceps is widespread in its distribution.
> Many thanks for any help
> Bill Phillips
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