Apistogramma sp. 'Albertini'

by Don Kinyon

Apistogramma sp. "Albertini" is another recent import from South America. It brings to mind Apistogramma macmasteri or possibly viejita in general body shape and coloration.

I received a group of wild-caught specimens to grow out as part of a business venture. There were about twenty fish, most near adult, some obvious females, and one male that stood out from the rest. He was absolutely the "Alpha Male," kept all the smaller ones in fear, and had all the females as his harem.

There wasn’t much room in the tank they were in, so I emptied out a fifteen-gallon extra long and set the male up with two of the most robust females. The water was rain water; very soft, and fairly acidic; less than 1° German and 6.0 pH. I kept the temperature at about 78° F.

In almost no time, the fish began to spawn. Each female took a clay pot as her own, one in each rear corner on the tank. The male kept busy going back and fourth between them. Once the act was done, the females tolerated the male closer to their nesting site than most Apistos that I’ve worked with. Everyone seemed to get along fine with the setup.

After the eggs hatched (two days), the females moved the wrigglers out of the pots to an open spot on the glass floor of the tank. When the lights went out in the evening, they would move them back into the pots. This went on for almost a week, until the young were free-swimming. At that point, the females would escort their broods around the tank, with the male still close, keeping an eye on them both. At times, when the females would pass each other closely, some fry could be seen switching from one mom to another. The females never showed any hostility towards each other or to the male.

The parents were all left with the fry, and water changes were stepped up to about five gallons twice a week.

The young fish grow at an average rate for an Apistogramma, and always seem to be hungry. On a diet of baby brine shrimp and microworms, they grew to be large enough in six weeks to eat most of the same foods as the parents. At about that time, they no longer paid any attention to the females, so I removed all the parent fish. They live on chopped white, black and earth worms, daphnia, frozen brine shrimp and bloodworms, krill (finely chopped), and several dry prepared foods. A few young Corydoras catfish were added to the tank to help clean up the uneaten portions. At this writing, the young are at twelve weeks and are healthy and growing.

This article first appeared in PVAS’s Delta Tale, Vol 31, # 1