Practical Information About Keeping, Breeding and Buying Dwarf Cichlids

Fish Profiles & Photos
South American  
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Apistogramma gephyra

Apistogramma gephyra male
      This male Apistogramma gephyra is typical of the species. Looking much like Apistogramma agassizii, they are generally less colorful, smaller and have a rounder tail.
     Apistogramma gephyra (A231 - A233)  was described by Kullander in 1980. It's appearance is very similar species to Apistogramma agassizii and is a member of the agassizii group of Apistogrammas. It can be very difficult to tell the difference between Apistogramma gephyra and Apistogramma agassizii. However, both species are reportedly found mixed tog ether at places in the wild and each species is distinct from the other.

   Apistogramma gephyra are smaller and more slender than agassizii and generally less colorful. All gephyra have a red edge to their dorsal fin and only a few agassizii forms have this. Apistogramma agassizii males have a very pronounced spade shaped tail while Apistogramma is much rounder with a white submarginal band.. In his original description Kullander thought that there were a number of features that made A. gephyra similar to Apistogramma pertensis and the Greek word gephyra means bridge which Kullander used to indicate that he considered it to be a bridge between agassizii and pertensis.

Apistogramma gephyra male
      This is an old wild male Apistogramma gephyra. Note that even in old age males do not develop the sharply lance like tail of A. agassizii.
      The full distribution range of Apistogramma gephyra is unknown but they are found in the Rio Negro and Rio Franco drainages in Brazil. They are reported from the main Amazon as well and may be found in other waters in the middle Amazon area. Most of the collection reports have them coming from very soft very acid waters, both clear and black. Many collection reports document waters with pH values below 4.5.
Apistogramma gephyra female
     This Apistogramma gephyra female is in brood care colors. This female is protecting a school of two day old fry. The small whitish dots around her are baby brine shrimp.

     It's unknown when Apistogramma gephyra were first introduced into the hobby, as early imports were most likely thought to be Apistogramma agassizii. The first recognized  German import was in 1981 and since that time they have been in the North American and European hobby where they are often imported as together with Apistogramma pertensis, Apistogramma gibbiceps and Dicrossus filamentosus. Some fish can be difficult to breed and may require the extreme soft acid waters they are found in in the wild. As with all Apistogrammas, aggression can be a problem but, in my experience, their aggression level is only average.

female Apsitogramma gephyra
          The color range exhibited by Apistogramma gephyra females is quite dramatic. Here we have a female in neutral colors. This is a common coloration for non dominate non breeding females. It is hard  to believe that this nondescript fish becomes a striking yellow and black parent.
     Apistogramma gephyra can be kept in pairs, trios or harems depending on tank size and fish availability. They are typical cave spawning Apistogrammas with the female taking responsibility for the eggs and developing fry. I have had males participate fully in parental care after a few days and joint care is not unusual. However, the female will generally stay closest to the fry leaving the male to handle the outer areas. Apistogramma gephyra fry can be fed newly hatched brine shrimp, micro worms or any small food. Care is typical and they present few problems to the experienced breeder.

     Most of the Apistogramma gephyra found on the market are wild imports as there are few hobbyist supplied fish. If this is a species you are looking for keep searching as they will be around at times. If you happen to find them in a shop don't hesitate to buy them. Give them good food, good water and good habitat and you will find they are a great fish to keep.

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