Apistogramma nijsseni was originally collected from a limited area in the bed of the rio Ucayali alongside Apistogramma agassizii, Aequidens spp., and Laetacara spp., and were later found much more widely distributed, and have become fairly popular in the hobby as well. The males of this species are a cross hatched blue, with black stripes running in between the scales which almost make a tight-knit checkerboard pattern. This blue becomes a bright yellow around their bellies, and they have a stark red ring around the edges of their rounded tail fins. The females are arguably even more spectacular, with a matching ring around the tail, but have solid bright yellow bodies, often with a dark black spot on their shoulder, which can often be a larger blotch which takes up much more of their body. These fish look much like another popular species that is kept in the hobby, the panduro/pandurini, and grow just a bit bigger, as well as have a more pure blue hue, rather than the more metallic one the pandurini offers.
When keeping this fish, it is not particularly picky when it comes to water parameters, thriving in acidic to slightly alkaline water that has up to 200ppm or so hardness. They do appreciate the addition of leaf litter as well as branchwork, which in the wild would stain the water a tea colored brown, and would provide shelter for fish when predators come. In the home aquarium this would provide shelter for subdominant fish as well as for any potential fry, and as they rot the biofilm would be a bountiful grazing surface as well. These fish do not require it, but by adding tannins to your water and giving it a tint, the blue on the bodies of these fish tend to pop more, as well as appear much more blue.
When thinking about tankmates for this blue dwarf cichlid, you should consider other peaceful fish that encourage these apistogrammas to come out into the open, such as small tetras or maybe pencilfish. Alternatively, you might want to keep a small colony of just this species, and with some caves and botanicals, you might just see a female herding a group of babies around sometime, and watch their parental behavior. Oftentimes it is during the first few weeks of motherhood that the female’s color becomes the most intense, so that she is easily seen by her babies and is better able to herd them around to the safest spots with the most plentiful food sources. These fish ship individually bagged.
Please Note: Live Animals delivered with UPS and FedEx are 100% covered by our Dead-On-Arrival Guarantee Coverage as disclosed in our Terms & Conditions. Live Animals delivered with USPS are not covered by our Dead-On-Arrival Guarantee Coverage. For complete details, please read our Terms & Conditions prior to ordering.