Agassiz's Dwarf Cichlid

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Apistogramma agassizii - (Steindachner, 1875)
Agassiz's Dwarf Cichlid

A favorite of freshwater aquarists for generations, this dwarf cichlid can be kept in harems. (Male shown.)


Younng male.
A. agassizii is truly a spectacular-looking dwarf cichlid. For authenticity, acquire one male to several females and let them pair up or establish a harem—each female will establish a territory to be visited by the male. Several geographic populations and color varieties are available.

Family: Cichlidae

Other common name(s):

Native range:

Habitat: Keep them in soft, acidic water that has been filtered over peat or with blackwater extract added. They do best in a well-planted tank with Java Fern or Java Moss anchored to driftwood, and floating plants, with plenty of hiding places such as driftwood or inverted flowerpots to provide each female her own domain.

Maximum length: 7.5 cm (3 in)

Minimum aquarium size: 19 L (5 gal)

Water: Freshwater 22 °C (72 °F) - 26 °C (79 °F)

General swimming level: Bottom to midwater


Carnivore. In the wild, these fish pick at small invertebrates, such as insect larvae and worms that live in the substrate and leaf litter. Although there are now many commercial cichlid foods on the market designed specifically for them, they don’t do well solely on prepared foods and must have live and frozen foods to thrive.

Aquarium Compatibility

Agassiz’ Dwarf Cichlid is moderately territorial, more so when breeding events are taking place. Peaceful, mid-water schooling dither fishes like tetras will make them feel more secure.

Special Care

Good water quality is a must.


Cave spawners. Females care for the brood.


Use a fine-grade gravel substrate.

Reference: 101 Best Tropical Fishes
Image credit: JJ
Text credit: KW