Apistogramma nijsseni, , 19
Origin:Peru, lower Rio Ucayali area near Jenaro Herrera.
Etymology: Named after Dr. Han Nijssen, a Dutch ichthyologist.
First European import:Switserland, 1981, by Patrick de Rham.
Description: See pictures.
Care: Medium sized to large tanks, which should be densely planted and have lots of hiding places, created with driftwood or similar. Soft, preberably acidic water, peat filtered and low in nitrates, should be provided to the fish. In such a tank a pair or a males with several females should be kept. The fish can be combined with other fish, although no other species of Apistogramma should be present in the tank. A dark soil and some shaded areas in the tank which can be formed by floating plants will increase the coloration of the Apistogramma nijsseni.
Feeding:Small live food and mosquito larvae. Flake food is not accepted.
Size: Males up to 7 cm, females smaller, 4-5 cm.
Breeding:One of the more difficult Apistogramma's to breed. Extremely soft and acidic water, low in bacteria, should be provided. The fish will spawn in a hole, and the female will defend the eggs and the up to 60 fry against possible intruders. The fry are sensitive, frequent small waterchanges should be conducted. It's best to paint the bootom of the tank black, and to refrain from using any kind of substrate. Daily removal of all foodremains and other pollutants from the tank is required. The fry will immediately accept artemia nauplii at the free swimming stage. As long as the mother is kept with the fry, no Daphnia should be given, since she'll get confused, and may start to eat the fry and guard the Daphnia.
Sexual dimorphism:See pictures.
Additional: The first Apistogramma species described where the female has a completely different appearance from the male.
Picture references:All pictures E. Naus
References:Baensch, H. A., Riehl, R.(1985): Aquarien Atlas II. Mergus Verlag, Melle, Germany.
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