Apistogramma borellii is a beautiful dwarf cichlid which originates from a vast number of collection points all across the South American continent, including from the countries of Paraguay, Uruguay, Brazil, Bolivia, and Argentina. Due to its various collection points, you might suspect that it has many different color forms, and that is definitely the case, since this species appears to occupy the “A” numbers 103, 104, 105, and even 234! Beyond the wild ones, there are also color strains that have been worked on for generations in captivity. The original fish did not have a moniker, but has since been called just “borellii” or sometimes “borellii ‘blue’”, as the males of this color form are mostly blue washed, fading into yellow towards the belly and head. This species is known for having an incredibly high dorsal fin, earning it the common name “umbrella dwarf cichlid” for its giant, umbrella-like fin. The fins of this fish are also typically yellow, with blue striations running through them and black borders. In nice specimens, the fins can more than double the height of the fish.
In the wild, this fish would typically only ever experience acidic water, but our tank bred specimens have been bred to handle different water parameters for generations. As such, you would want to keep them in water that is acidic to slightly basic, and keep the hardness below 300ppm. Fish of this genus typically do not handle cold very well, but this species is one of the exceptions, sometimes found in water that is below 70 degrees, especially towards the southern end of their range in Argentina. [At some point a water test was done in a drainage in the large arch of the rio Paraná, Laguana Itati. At this time and place, the ph was 6.8, and the hardness of the water was 1.4 dgH, which is nearly nonexistent. A full breakdown of the elemental composition of the water was also provided in South American Dwarf Cichlids, published in 1997, but the most important of these factors would be the pH and the mineral content. See below notes for more details.] In addition to the water parameters, you will want to add some branches and caves to their aquarium in order for them to feel more secure, as well as to have them create some biofilm which fish can graze from. These will help to enhance natural behaviors as well as better coloration from these cichlids.
When thinking about tankmates for this peaceful nano fish, you will want to consider other peaceful species, since this species does tend to be one of the shy ones even amongst apistogrammas. Some tetras that are small and quick would be a great option. These fish can definitely be added into a peaceful community aquarium, but may be a bit ornery with each other if not given enough space. These fish ship individually bagged.
Rio Paraná, Laguana Itati Water Test Results:
Ca: 1.2 ppm
Mg: 0.0 ppm
Fe: 0.0 ppm
Mn: not detectable ppm
NH4: .3 ppm
NO2: 0.0 ppm
NO3: 3.5 ppm
Cl- (Chloride): 7.1 ppm
SO4: 1.0 ppm
PO4: 0.0 ppm
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