Apistogramma agassizii, Steindachner, 1875
Origin:Brazil, Amazonas river and it's southern tributaries.
Etymology: Named after Louis Agassiz.
Synonyms: Biotodoma agasizii, Geophagus agasizii, Mesops agasizii.
First European import: Germany, 1909, by C. Siggelkow.
Description:See pictures. Very variable species, fish from the upper Amazon are very different from fish further down the river according to Schmidt.
Apistogramma agasizii is often kept in a community
tank, but it's better to keep the fish in a species tank. The tank should be minimum
60*35*35 large, water neutral to slightly acidic, well filtered, soft to medium
hard water. Shaded light, lots of hiding places like caves, formed with driftwood
and coconut shells, and a densely planted tank are necessary. In this type of
tank the fish will usually also spawn. The males are especially sensitive to pollution
and chemicals, so be carefull when you use treatments, and do frequent waterchanges.
Temperature:22-28 degrees, best kept at 24 degrees.
Feeding:Omnivore, the fish will take all food including flake food.
Size:Males up to 8 cm, females up to 5.5 cm.
Breeding: Difficult. Not every pair will breed, so it is actually better to buy a few pairs, and to wait for a breeding pait to form. Another option is to just wait. If a pair is completely incompatible, separate the fish with a glass divider for a few weeks, and usually then they will accept eachother.
Feed the fish well with lots of live food, and do frequent waterchanges with soft acidic(pH=6) water. The female Apistogramma agasizzii will start to clean a cave or similar, and becomes more aggressiv towards the male, who will just accept the abuse and hide in a corner. If the female is ready with the preparations, she will start to swim towards the male, and display to him, swimming sideways and showing him her belly.The male will carefully try to approach and follow the female with clamped fins. If the female accepts his behaviour, she will quickly lay some eggs, which the male will fertilize. After that the pair will spawn many times, until up to 150 eggs (0.7mm) are laid. After that the male will be chased away by the female. The male is supposed to guard the outside territory, but in a breeding tank he's only a nuisance to the female, so it's better to remove him. (Note from the author: I kept a pair in a community tank with 11cm large Geophagus sp. The male didn't do anything against them, but they got quite afraid of the small female, who defended the nest ferociously). The female will care for the eggs, removing the white unfertilized eggs, and supplying fresh water to them. The eggs wil hatch after 2-3 days, and will then be moved into a hole in the sand. The fry will be free swimming after a week, but the female will continue to care for them for at least another 10 days. After that the fry will start to go their own way, and the female should be removed. If the female is removed any sooner, only a few fry will survive. Experienced breeders usually manage to raise around 40 fry from each spawn.
Sexual dimorphism:See pictures.
Additional:Schmidt reported that the average male to female ratio in this species is 10:1, others reported 8:1 and 5:1, Spoelstar reported 3:1, and Wiezorek reported 1:16. In some species temperature and pH play a role in the sex ratio, but age and season can also be a factor.
Named after L. Aggasiz, so the actual name should probably be Apistogramma agassizi.
Picture references: All pictures: E. Naus
References: Baensch, H. A., Riehl, R.(1982): Aquarien Atlas I. Mergus Verlag, Melle, Germany.(click on the link to buy this book)Oskam, H. C.(1955): Geschubde Exoten, Van Holkema en Warendorf N. V., Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
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