An extremely rare Apistogramma dwarf cichlid which we have been after for quite some time, this living jewel hails from the upper Orinoco River system and was known for many years simply as the “Breitbinden” Apistogramma. Breitbinden is German for “broad band” and refers to the broad black banding that runs from the eye downward. It has just recently been scientifically described and is now known as “Apistogramma Megaptera”. The Greek word ‘Megaptera’ refers to the species’ very large fins.
The males of the species reach a maximum size of around 3 inches, with the females topping out at around 1.75 inches in maximum length. These fish are usually found in waters that are a bit warmer than where one would typically expect to find Apistogramma, with an average temperature of 78 degrees F, however these tank-bred beauties are well suited for temperatures as low as 73 degrees F. Just as with other Apistogramma species, these fish are found in very soft water which is rather slack and slow-moving.
The coloration of these fish is unlike any other Apistogramma specimen. Black bands run down from their eyes and on some male specimens, there are large purple spots on their faces. Their bodies are the most curious butterscotch which becomes a muted amber in places on the flanks of the fish. Bright blue dots adorn the masks on the male fish. We have already noted that these fish will change colors very dramatically if kept on a dark bottom; we suggest keeping them on a lighter colored substrate so that they show their best colors. They have huge fins, and the caudal tail fins of the males are shaped very much like the 'Elizabethae'. Keeping Apistogramma megaptera in a sand-bottomed tank with rocks, wood and plants will help them to settle in and feel as if they’re back out in the wild. The fish we have on offer readily accept frozen daphnia and fish flakes with no problem. Males of the species often squabble over territory and over females, which is fairly typical of any cichlid but in a short time, they will find their natural place in your planted aquarium.
For those who would like to breed these fish, they are to be treated as any other Apistogramma. Provide them with caves in which to breed and nice soft water which is not flowing very rapidly and feed them with plenty of their favorite foods and within a short time, your pair of fish should retire to a cave and lay eggs on the walls and ceiling. Within a couple of days, tiny fry will appear and hug the bottom of the sandy bottom, hiding by instinct. At this point, the mother fish will become extremely aggressive and challenge any fish that she deems a threat to her babies. We always recommend removing all fish except for Mommy to let her take care of the young fry. Feeding them on newly hatched baby brine shrimp is the fastest way to grow them and ensure the health of the young wrigglers.
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