While these arrived from a supplier as Apistogramma agassizii “Neon”, it was pretty apparent these weren’t like any Agassizii I’d ever encountered. Turns out, after doing a little digging, these fish are representatives of an aquarium strain of Apisto, suspected of hybrid origins, generally referred to as Apistogramma “Steel Blue”. I wrote at length about this for the AMAZONAS Magazine blog, and I invite you to read that story!
Here’s the important takeaway; these have proven to be very resilient dwarf cichlids in my care. While they have a reputation for being aggressive, I maintained a large group of them upon arrival in only a 20 gallon planted tank. Within that tank, I even had a female scurrying around with fry for days. They haven’t killed any of their tankmates either, including a wide range of species like baby L183 Plecos, small Black Neon Tetras, a few smaller Festivums, Glowlight and Tinwini Danios…the point being, for now, I think the reputation is undeserved. Or at most, maybe they’re “aggressive for an Apisto”…compared to some other more passive types?
This variety has a reputation for being male heavy, and I can say with some certainty that appears to be the case. From what I can see, it appears that mature females have black leading edges on their pelvic fins. I believe I only have 2 females on hand, so for the moment, only MALES are available. So don’t purchase with the intent to breed, but do purchase if you want a pretty little blue cichlid for your community tank, or if you want to “test the waters” with an Apisto before investing in a more costly species of variety.