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Experienced Apistograma hobbyists?


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I have my first apistogrammas and I'm just curious if anyone has experience with keeping these guys? I have a male and female macmasteri. The male was chasing the female a lot on day 1, so I added 2 extra hiding places. Originally I had a single apistogramma hut,  a planted branch, and the sponge filter as potential hides.The female also goes into my houseplant  propagation pot which I didn't plan on, but seems to work really well!

Yesterday I didn't see the male and I was concerned by bedtime. I poked around and found him hiding in the apisto hut.

Today he's out and was intent to chase the female away from all the food.

Is this normal apistogramma behavior? Is there anything else I should add to the tank? More plants? More hides? I want to be sure she gets enough food, and isn't constantly forced to hide out. She's super friendly with me, and adorable!

I named him Ignacio because it means fiery one. It definitely fits with his colors and personality! The female is Alba which means white. 🙂

I added a current photo of the tank. Maybe an apisto expert could spot any problems! Thanks for any guidance!


Edited by smm333
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In my experience, this is typical behavior in some, but not all, apisto couples. Some are just more aggressive than others and will the chase females, etc.  I've had both quarrelsome pairs, as well as peaceful ones. It is possible the behavior will subside, but then again, I can also go in the other direction.  

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I haven't seen him hurt her, just chases her off. Hopefully he will settle down. I have only had them a week tomorrow. They are very cool little fish. They always swim right up to the glass when they see me. 💕


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Most species of apistogramma are not pair bonding. The male has a region he claims and will breed with any female who enters his domain; however if a female is in his domain and does not wish to breed he will chase her away. This is why they can't be kept in a small aquarium and need a lot of hiding places. Leaf littler makes excellent hiding places since they can hide under leaves. macmasteri are such a non-pair bonding species though they are not as aggressive as some other species. 

Your aquarium looks like a 29 is this the case? 

Most pair bonding species come from nijjensi complex with panduro and nijjensi being two members. However in this case the pairs are not always for life and they can break up also females can be very picky about which male she will breed with - trio of these species never work long term but this is unrelated to your issue.

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