Cockatoo Dwarf Cichlid

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Apistogramma cacatuoides - Hoedman, 1951
Cockatoo Dwarf Cichlid

A colorful small fish, but full of cichlid attitude. Neil Hepworth


Cockatoo Dwarf Cichlids are showy fish, true cichlids in deportment and personality but in a size that fits even small aquariums. They do well in a community setting as long as their territorial boundaries are respected.

Family: Cichlidae

Other common name(s):

  • Crested Dwarf Cichlid

Native range:

Habitat: The Cockatoo Dwarf Cichlid is at home with a dark substrate and several cave-like escapes. The more abundant the hiding places, the more outgoing these little fish will be.

Maximum length: 9 cm (4 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. Like other members of the genus Apistogramma, these cichlids feed on insects, crustaceans and worms in the wild. Tank-raised specimens will accept a variety of small flake and pelleted foods designed for cichlids in the aquarium. Frozen and live foods should also be offered and will help acclimate wild-caught forms.

Aquarium Compatibility

A. cacatuoides is a species that does best when kept in groups of one male to several females. Mid-water swimming dither fishes like many of the tetras inspire confidence in these somewhat shy fish.


Cave Spawners. One male will spawn with several females, each with its own separate breeding cave or flowerpot. The female typically deposits the spawn on the roof of the cave.


The water should be slightly acidic with a pH of 6.5 to 7, and the water temperature between 77-86°F (25-30° C). Regular water changes are necessary.

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