Thanks to selective breeding programs, there are very many color variations of Apistogramma Macmasteri – Red Shouldered, Extreme Reds, Red-Golds, and more. However, our favorite form of this amazing Dwarf Cichlid is the naturally-occurring Wild-Form collected from the Meta River in the Orinoco Basin. Their natural blue and gold sheen and face-masks need no enhancing via selective breeding, and because these specimens we have on offer are F1 specimens, born in captivity from wild-caught parents, you will have none of the health issues that are sometimes associated with man-made varieties of ornamental tropical fish.
Apistogramma macmasteri is a gorgeous dwarf cichlid which originally comes from a drainage of the Rio Meta on the slopes of the eastern Andes in Colombia, and later discovered in the same river, further upstream. The males have a beautiful white to yellow wash, which is typically covered in an iridescent powdery blue on the entire body, sometimes extending up into the face as well. The fins are the most remarkable on this species of Apistogrammas, typically a reddish orange base color, with bright, opaque baby blue streaks covering the fin rays, and feathering out towards the top. The fin ray extensions are then covered in a shadowy black line, which makes the fin almost fade into the water, contrasting strongly with the hard-outlined blueish white. The top and bottom of the tail fins have a dense red patch which surrounds a golden yellow center. The females have the same fins, albeit with shorter extensions, and their bodies are a solid sunny yellow.
When this species of nano fish was originally collected, it would have been from very soft, acidic water that is slowly flowing. In this water, the ph would not be above 6, and would have an undetectable hardness. In the case of our tank bred specimens, they are much less fussy about their water parameters, and you can keep them in water hardness up to 250ppm. One thing to keep in mind is that in the wild these fish would have plenty of rotting leaves and branches, which not only acidify and soften the water, but also provide hiding places for small fry and subdominant fish to hide in, as well as feed from. The most important factor is that you have a well cycled filter, as cichlids tend to be fairly messy when they eat, and this species is one that has a rather small mouth, so it tends to tear its food up into smaller chunks than many other species too, although they are very willing to eat anything that you offer.
When considering tankmates for these little guys, most options work. There are many species of small tetras to choose from if you wish to go for a more naturalistic community tank, or there are many different strains of guppies and other livebearers, or even go with a small group of only the Apistogramma macmasteri, and see how they interact with each other in a species only tank. This species does tend to be fairly peaceful to each other, so you may even be able to get some babies out of a few pairs occupying the same tank. Whichever you choose, these little cichlids will add a pop of color and a friendly interaction to your aquarium! These fish ship individually bagged.
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