Apistogramma trifasciata (male)
Apistogramma trifasciata (female)
Name: Apistogramma trifasciata
Origin: Amazon Basin to Argentina
A very beautiful, small Apistogramma - the largest I've had are just over 5 cm (females under 4 cm). Healthy males have a brilliant blue irridescence on their bodies and tall red/orange rays on the leading edge of the dorsal fin, something like A. cacatuoides. Females are smaller and yellowish-grey, but turn bright yellow during breeding. I've noticed that wild caught specimens are less colourful, but tend to develop nicer dorsal fins.
A. trifasciata are found in rivers of Paraguay, Argentina, Bolivia, and southern Brazil, especially the Rio Paraguay and the Rio Salado. There are a few other species from the same area that are sometimes sold as A. trifasciata: for example, A. maciliensis and Apistogramma sp. 'Mamore', both from the Rio Mamore. I'm not sure of the exact differences, but it's something to be aware of when purchasing these fish.
The requirements for this fish are the same as most Apistogrammas - well filtered, slow moving soft water; hiding places, a variety of foods, and plants, wood, or rocks to break up their line of sight - but this species seems to thrive and breed at a wider pH and GH range than other Apistos. They are harem breeders, so you should keep 1 male to 2 or more females. Wild specimens may only accept live foods, but tank raised fish eat pretty much anything. Tank mates should be small and non-aggressive. I've kept them with tetras, killifish, otos, and corydoras without incident, except during breeding when the corys get knocked around a little bit (nothing serious though).
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