Agassiz's Dwarf Cichlid (Apistogramma agassizii 'Alenquer')

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Agassiz's Dwarf Cichlid
Apistogramma agassizii 'Alenquer'
Agassiz's Dwarf Cichlid (Apistogramma agassizii 'Alenquer')
Name Agassiz's Dwarf Cichlid
Name Lat. Apistogramma agassizii 'Alenquer'
Family Cichlids
Family lat. Cichlidae
Order Cichlids
Order lat. Cichliformes
Origin Brazil
Habitat Streams, rivers
Diet Carnivore
pH 5.0-7.0
Behavior ♂ territorial
Keeping Harem
Care Level Moderate
Reproduction Cave spawner
Breeding Moderately difficult
Life Span 3-4 years
Protection No
Metric Units
Size ♀ 5 cm, ♂ 8 cm
Temperature 22-29 °C
Hardness < 10 °dH
Aquarium ~ 150 l
US Units
Size ♀ 2", ♂ 3"
Temperature 72-84 °F
Hardness < 178 ppm
Aquarium ~ 40 gal

Distribution and habitat

The Alenquer Agassiz Dwarf Cichlids are a site variant of the Agassiz Dwarf Cichlids. The distribution area of the are shallow, plant-rich small waters and riparian zones of the Rio Amazon around Alenquer in Brazil.


The aquarium should have a dense planting, with many hiding places (stones, roots, caves) and offer free swimming space. A dark substrate covered with some foliage (e.g. sea almond leaves) and slightly dim light (floating plants) is ideal.

No ammonia, ammonium and nitrite should be detectable, the nitrate value should not exceed 100 mg/l. To ensure the water quality and oxygen content, a filter and heater adapted to the aquarium size is required, as well as lighting for the species-appropriate day-night rhythm of the animals.


In the wild they feed mainly on small crustaceans and insect larvae. The food supply consists of live, frozen and dry food. For a balanced diet, feed once a day with a high-quality, protein-rich dry food for cichlids (flakes, granules, pellets) as well as daphnia, artemia, mysis, mosquito larvae, etc. (live or frozen).&nbsp

It is recommended to feed small portions several times a day. Only feed as much as will be eaten within a few minutes. A regular and varied diet promotes health and increases resistance.

Behaviour and compatibility

They should be kept in a harem, one male with several females. Because of their territorial behavior, keeping several harems is only recommended in a much larger and richly structured tank. Towards other fish they behave mostly peacefully and can be socialized well with calm fish, but they defend their territory emphatically. Basically, only compatible fish species with similar demands on water condition and water temperature should be socialized.

Sex dimorphism

The male is larger, more colorful and has much longer, pointed fins. The female is small, delicate and inconspicuous.

Reproduction and breeding

They spawn in caves (cave breeders). The female performs the brood care, while the male defends the territory. After 3-5 days the fry hatch, which are then housed and guarded by the female in a bottom pit until they swim freely after 4-5 days.

Fry must be fed several times a day with special rearing food. Breeding is hardly possible in community tanks, where the fry are easy prey.


They show their most beautiful coloration by feeding on live food.

The foliage (sea almond tree, oak, etc.) enriches the water with humic substances, naturally lowers the pH and is a valuable secondary food source.

The well-being of the fish should be monitored regularly. Temperature should be checked daily, pH, hardness and nitrate levels at least every 14 days. Regular partial water changes are recommended, even if the contaminant level has not yet reached the upper limit. Sudden changes in water quality should be avoided. Newly introduced fish must be accustomed slowly to the water in the aquarium.

Further literature can be found in your pet store.


Text: Werner Winter; Image: Franz Lowak

Source: BMELV (1998): Tierschutzgutachten - Haltung von Zierfischen (Süßwasser); RIEHL & BAENSCH (2006): Aquarien Atlas Bd. 1, Mergus Verlag; ENGELMANN (2005): Zootierhaltung - Tiere in menschlicher Obhut: Fische, Verlag Harri Deutsch

  • Gemäß § 21 Abs. 5 Tierschutzgesetz idgF