Practical Information About Keeping, Breeding and Buying Dwarf Cichlids

Fish Profiles & Photos
South American  
    sp. "Abacaxis"
    sp. "Putumayo"
    sp. "Steel Blue"

West African 

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Apistogramma geisleri

Apistogramma geisleri female     This is a female Apistogramma geisleri "smaragd" (A59) in neutral colors
    Apistogramma geisleri (A58 - A61) is rarely found in the American hobby. They are generally not impressively colored fishes and the imports that have arrived have generally not been widely distributed.

    Apistogramma geisleri is a highly variable species and there are at least four known variants. Apistogramma geisleri has been distributed as A. sp. smaragd, A. sp. Parantins, A. sp "Emerald" and A. sp. Brazil. While each of these forms have minor unique characteristics they re all placed into A. geisleri.

    Apistogramma geisleri are found in the lower Amazon river in Brazil. They first became known to hobbyists when they were imported into Germany in 1967 and were formally described in 1971. When first introduced to the German hobby these fish were successfully bred and distributed, Unfortunately, no one maintained the species and it appears to have been absent from the hobby until the 1980's and 1990's which saw a few introductions. They are undemanding in the aquarium and seem to do well in moderately soft water with neutral to slightly acid pH. As with most Apistos they prefer live foods but will eagerly take frozen foods and will eat high quality flakes or pellets.
Apistogramma geisleri male  Male Apistogramma geisleri in neutral colors

    There are few defining characteristics of this member of the Regani complex of Apistogrammas (for more info on A numbers and Apistogramma complexes see our Apistogramma section.). Various forms have exhibited markedly different body characteristics when captured in the wild. However, these body shapes do not pass on to future generations when kept in aquaria. Thus we can only wonder of the differences in body shape are environmental or of some significance.

        I acquired Apistogramma geisleri as Apistogramma sp "emerald alenquer" in the late 1990's and kept them for 7 or 8 years. They were easy to breed and I found them to be one of the smallest Apistos I have ever kept. This differs from written accounts that describe the species as being fairly large. They are a rather unremarkable fish with the exception of fighting males. The dark pigmentation that is expressed in these agitated males is very attractive but rarely visible and never sustained.

Apistogramma geisleri male  Young male Apistogramma geisleri
       I have to admit that I never gave Apistogramma geisleri a prominent place in my fish room. I always had them around and spawned them often enough hat I raised six or seven generations. However, I never set them up properly in a species tank to really get to know them. I consider this to be my loss. Apistogramma geisleri is not a common import but you might find them on a list if you look hard. As recall seeing them on at least one list in the past year. It is unlikely that you will run across this rare dwarf cichlid in a local pet store and if you do they will probably be mislabeled. However, they are a good dwarf with interesting behavior that is fairly easy to keep and breed.

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