Apistogramma sp. “Putumayo”

Apistogramma sp. “Putumayo” is an interesting species found in the Rio Putumayo in Brazil and Columbia. They are not a common species but they are offered in the hobby on occasion. They are fairly undemanding in the aquarium but many breeders report skewed sex ratios.

Essential Articles About Apistogrammas
The Genus Apistogramma
Apistogramma Aquarium Care
Breeding Apistogrammas
Understanding Apistogramma Classification and Identification
Live Plants in the Apistogramma Aquarium
How and Where to Buy Apistogrammas and Other Dwarf Cichlids

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Apistogramma sp. “Putumayo” general information

Apistogramma Putumayo  (A85 – A86)  was first introduced in Germany in 1997 as a form of Apistogramma cruzi (A83). In 1998 they were introduced into the United States as Apistogramma sp. “Algodon 2”. A lot of fish were distributed under this name and it is not uncommon to find them listed as Algodon 2 today.

Male A. sp. “Putumayo” vary considerably in coloration and some are very colorful with rows of red spots and lots of iridescence on their fins, face, and body. Most forms are rather subdued but some exhibit great colors. Parallel lines of red spots are found along the sides of some individuals and iridescent blues and greens are often found on their dorsal and anal fins. Their dorsal fin is low and even and their tail is typically round and clear to reddish but some have quite a bit of red.

Apistogramma sp. Putumayo is one of a number of very similar species in the A. cruzi Subcomplex which is in the A. eunotus Complex within the A. regani Group. As of 2022, Mike Wise lists more than 25 different species/forms in the A. cruzi subcomplex and there is a lot of confusion surrounding the exact relationships between these similar species. It’s possible that the forms of Apistogramma sp. “Putumayo” are actually just variants of Apistogramma cruzi. However, there are enough differences between the forms that we can consider them to be separate species until we get additional data.

Apistogramma sp. “Putumayo” in the wild

Apistogramma sp. “Putumayo” are found in portions of the Rio Putumayo drainage as well as in the Rio Shishita in the Rio Ampiyacu drainage. These waters are northern tributaries to the middle and upper Amazon in Brazil and Columbia. They reportedly inhabit shallow warm waters where they are collected together with Apistogramma bitaeniata and Apistogramma agassizii. Specific water parameters are not available but the Rio Putumayo is generally a whitewater river so it’s likely that A. sp. “Putumayo” come from fairly neutral water conditions..

A. sp. “Putumayo” aquarium care and breeding

In the aquarium, their care is no different than other Apistogrammas. Provide a complex habitat, preferably with a sand substrate. Moderately soft water with a pH of 6.0 – 6.5 is great but they do seem to be fairly tolerant. In my experience, they can be rather aggressive so be sure to have a very complex environment. Apistogramma sp. “Putumayo” seem to spend more time in open water than some other Apistogramma species so keep this in mind as you aquascape. There is complete husbandry information in Apistogramma and Dwarf Cichlid Aquarium Care

Breeding is typical for Apistogramma species. Give them a good habitat, good food, and high-quality water and they should do the rest. There are consistent reports of skewed sex ratios and the only spawn I raised turned out to be all males. Sex seems to be determined primarily by temperature so if you are breeding them pay attention to your water. If you are getting spawns of all one sex try modifying the temperature. Generally, warmer temps will produce more males, and cooler temps more females. The article Breeding Apistogrammas and Other Dwarf Cichlids has detailed information about all aspects of breeding this and other Apistogramma species.

How to buy A. sp. “Putumayo”

Apistogramma sp. “Putumayo” is not a common species and you are not likely to find them in a retail store. However, they are occasionally offered by specialty fish sellers or other online sources. There is a complete discussion of purchasing Apistos at Where to Buy Apistogrammas and Other Dwarf Cichlids. Watch for them sold under the name of Apistogramma sp. “Algodon 2” as you might find them listed that way by some dealers.

Apistogramma sp. “Putumayo” is an interesting and relatively rare dwarf cichlid despite being fairly robust and a relatively undemanding species. Although they vary in their coloration they are an attractive and interesting species.


Most of the information I provide on this website comes from books and websites. While I don’t provide specific citations, these are the sources for most of my information.
South American Books:
Mergus Cichlid Atlas Volume 1 & Volume 2 by Dr. Uwe Römer
South American Dwarf Cichlids by Rainer Stawikowski, I. Koslowski and V. Bohnet
Die Buntbarsche Amerikas Band 2 Apistogramma & Co. by Ingo Koslowski, Translation by Mike Wise
South American Dwarf Cichlids by Hans J. Mayland & Dieter Bork
American Cichlids I – Dwarf Cichlids by Horst Linke & Dr. Wolfgang Staeck
West African Books:
The Cichlid Fishes of Western Africa by Anton Lamboj
African Cichlids I – Cichlids From West Africa by Horst Linke & Dr. Wolfgang Staeck
Apisto sites – the home page of Tom C – Global authority for identification and classification of apistogrammas
Apistogramma.com – An excellent international forum with expert members who gladly share their knowledge.
Much more information is available in our complete exploration of dwarf cichlid information resources.