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Banded Apisto

(Apistogramma bitaeniata)

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 Quick Care Facts

• Care Level: Moderate   • Temperament: Semi-aggressive   • Maximum Size: 3"
• Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons   • Water Conditions: 76-86° F; pH 5.0-7.0; dH 2-12
• Diet: Carnivore   • Origin: Amazon, Colombia, Peru, Brazil   • Family: Cichlidae
• Species: Apistogramma   • Aquarium Type: New World Cichlid Aquarium

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Species Information

Banded Apisto native habitat, distribution, behavior & aquarium compatibility.

Banded Apisto (Apistogramma bitaeniata) are found in a relatively limited range of blackwater streams and tributaries in heavily forested areas of Colombia, Peru and Brazil. They prefer these slowly moving jungle river tributaries, where they use the dense vegetation, leaf litter and jungle canopy as protection from larger predatory fish species.

The dense vegetation and leaf litter also provide ideal hunting grounds for the Banded Apisto to hunt for small insects, worms and crustaceans. They are widely imported from Peru and Brazil; as well as, being captive bred for the hobby.

Banded Apisto are however somewhat difficult to keep since they require hard water (2-12 KH) and have little tolerance for fluctuations in water temperature or hardness. Apistogramma dwarf Cichlids in general have little tolerance for poor water conditions or quick water parameter fluctuations.

Aquarium Care

How to successfully keep Banded Apisto in the home aquarium.

Apistogramma Cichlids in the wild live in dense congregations of individuals in densely vegetated tropical jungle water ways. The dense vegetation and constant flow of water through their home range allows for such dense populations of fish to all live in a relatively small area.

Aquarium hobbyists will require a large aquarium (150 gallons or more) if they intend to keep large groups of Dwarf Cichlids together. The benefit to keeping large groups of Dwarf Cichlids is that they will exhibit little to no aggression towards each other, as no single individual will be able to establish its own territory.

Hobbyists who keep small groups of Dwarf Cichlids like the Banded Apisto in smaller aquariums should keep a single male and a group of females in order to not have aggression problems. This is similar to the aggression African Cichlids exhibit towards one another when kept in small groups.

The Banded Apisto will appreciate an aquarium environment that is similar to its native jungle habitat. Ideally the aquarium should contain a mix of densely planted areas and open swimming areas. Medium water flow, diffused lighting and a sandy or fine gravel substrate is also highly recommended.

It is important that hobbyists maintain water parameters that include very low nitrates, warm water temperatures between 76° and 86°, pH of 5.0 to 7.0 and water hardness between 2-12 KH. Filter returns should be positioned to provide plenty of water agitation, and/or a powerhead should be added to provide moderate water flow and increased dissolved oxygen.

Feeding & Nutrition

How to properly feed Banded Apisto and provide a healthy diet.

Banded Apisto like all Apistogramma Cichlids are carnivores that feed primarily on insects, insect larvae, small crustaceans and small worms in their native environment. They do best in the aquarium environment when fed a variety of frozen and freeze-dried commercial foods like blood worms, brine shrimp, krill, tubifex worms and other similar meaty items.

They can also be offered high quality carnivore flakes and mini pellets intended for freshwater carnivores. It is not recommended to feed only flake or pellet foods as this will typically lead to more a more faded coloration and will often lack all the nutrients and minerals required to maintain a healthy immune system. It is best to feed smaller meals 2 to 3 times per day.

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