Apistogramma viejita

by Don Kinyon

Here’s another Apistogramma that is getting to be "in demand" in the hobby. It’s no big surprise, given the coloration and demeanor of the fish. Some very colorful strains are coming out of Europe, especially Germany.

I got about 20 young fish from a friend who needed to thin out his tanks to give youngsters more space to grow. I gladly accepted them and had a 135 gallon tank housing some other Apistos about the same size.

With all that space and heavy feeding of live, frozen and dry foods, the fish quickly grew and started to pair up. When they did, I set up a 20 gallon long tank to house one of the larger pairs. The water was collected rain water, pH of 6.2 and hardness of 1°.

It was only a matter of days before the first spawning, but before the eggs hatched, they disappeared, so I lowered the water’s pH to 5.5 and tried again. The second spawn lasted longer until the eggs hatched, but then they were gone. I raised the temperature to 80°F and tried once more. The third time proved to be the charm, and the female was soon leading the babies around the tank in search of food. The male kept to himself, but seemed not to be in any danger or pose a threat to the young, so I left both parents in the tank.

The fry ate microworms and newly hatched brine shrimp as first foods, and soon were big enough to take grindal worms and chopped white worms. About one month after the babies hatched, they ceased to follow the mother fish. Although neither parent ever seemed a threat to the young, I took them out to give the fry more room to grow. At two months, the young are 3/8" long and acting much like the parents did.

These fish are ideal for someone who may be limited in tank space, but likes to see cichlids behave like cichlids.

This article first appeared in PVAS’s Delta Tale, Vol 32, # 1