Apistogramma borellii is a beautiful dwarf cichlid which originates from many different collection points all across the South American continent. It has been collected from the upper rio Paraguai, the rio Cuiabá, and along the entire river up to where it flows into the rio Paraná into the north of Argentina. This species of nano fish has many different color forms from both its collection points in South America, as well as in part to selective breeding by aquarists. This color form is known as “opal”, and shows almost none of the yellow that is typically on the body. The males’ blue wash no longer fades into the belly, and is completely stretched across the entirety of its body. These scales have an opalescent hue, sometimes appearing green and turquoise in different angles of the lighting. The face patterns are no longer a base yellow with blue streaks, instead the streaks go across the entire face, and in between metallic blue, there is a fiery red. The fins are still its signature umbrella shaped enormous dorsal, and the tips of its dorsal and anal fins are yellow, as well as the tail.
This fish would typically be found in acidic water that is very soft in the wild, but our tank bred specimens are capable of handling much different water parameters as well. You will want to keep these fish in water that is acidic to slightly alkaline, and keep the hardness below 300ppm. This fish handles cooler water very well, since it is found quite far south in the continent, and although not forever, the air temperature where they have been collected has been recorded as low as 1C, which definitely influences the water they are collected from, being slow moving and relatively shallow. While these tank bred specimens will not handle temperatures nearly that low, they are able to handle cooler temperatures than many fish, especially from their genus! Apart from the water conditions, you will want to add branches and leaf litter into the tank, both to give these fish a place to hide and to give them something to passively graze on and stay well fed. These will also contribute to much more natural behavior from the fish.
When considering tankmates for this fish, you may want to keep them with peaceful small tetras. Some ember tetras or rummynose tetras might be a great choice, as they are small and would offset the colors of the brilliant cichlids very well. Any other fish that can go in a densely planted community aquarium would be a great choice for these fish, and a schooling fish of some sort would work very well in a naturalistic setup. These fish ship individually bagged.
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