Practical Information About Keeping, Breeding and Buying Dwarf Cichlids

Fish Profiles & Photos
South American  
    sp. "Abacaxis"
    sp. "Putumayo"
    sp. "Steel Blue"

West African 

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Apistogramma iniridae

Apistogramma iniridae adult pair
    This is a typical pair of Apistogramma iniridae. The male (above) shows the characteristic abdominal blotches that can be expressed in various ways depending on the mood of the fish.
        Apistogramma iniridae (A159 - A160) is the type species of the iniridae group of Apistogrammas (for more on A numbers and Apistogramma groups see Apistogramma). They are found in the very soft acid waters of the upper Rio Negro and the upper Rio Orinoco drainages. They are very similar to the members of the pertensis group of Apistos with the males of both groups sporting large high sail-like dorsal fins.

    Apistogramma iniridae are not common in the hobby but are occasionally offered as wild exports. They are not especially aggressive but you must maintain a complex environment or aggression may be a serious problem. A. iniridae can be among the most difficult of the Apistos to successfully reproduce in the aquarium.

    The biggest problem is usually their demanding water requirements. A. iniridae is found throughout a fairly large range and within that range they are surely found in a variety of waters. However, in the aquarium you will often find that they will only produce viable fry if kept at a very low pH. The first time I ever kept iniridae was in the late 1980's when I managed to obtain a pair of wild fish. They settled in nicely and soon began to spawn on a regular basis. Unfortunately, every spawn disappeared before any fry appeared. In an effort to
Apistogramma iniridae
    The male Apistogramma iniridae in the back watches the two females in front of him as they each seek to gain advantage. The yellow colored female is still in brood colors from having lost a batch of eggs several weeks previously. The upper female is actually nearly ready to spawn. Many Apisto females become very drab in the days immediately preceding a spawn.
insure that I would maintain the species I pulled some eggs to hatch artificially. They soon fungused and I began to look for causes. Trusting that the male was not infertile and that he was participating in the spawning, I assumed that the water conditions were not right.

    I had been keeping these fish at a pH of 5.0 and assumed that would be fine. However, over time I discovered that I could not get good spawns with these fish unless the pH was at 3.5 or lower! I believe that this might have been a unique strain of iniridae as the males had brilliant red lips that I have not seen on iniridae since. Perhaps this particular strain had extreem water requirements but I always had to spawn them at very low ph's to have success.

    Apistogramma iniridae are typical cave spawning Apistos. They do well in pairs or small harems. However make sure that you have either or both of a large tank bottom or a complex habitat if you hope to successfully raise fry from more than one female in a tank.


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