Apistogramma baenschi

The Apistogramma baenschi is a beautiful dwarf cichlid from the nijsseni complex. Especially when they start to breed, they show striking colours.

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Apistogramma baenschi

Apistogramma baenschi was first described in 2004 by Römer, Hahn, Römer, Soares & Wöhler. The genus name Apistogramma can be broken down into two ancient Greek words. Apisto means uncertain and gramma means signal. This is a reference to the variably developed lateral line that largely consists only of scales with pores. It was given the species name baenschi in honour of Hans Baensch, a German writer of aquarium books.

Before they were officially described they were known as Apistigramma sp. Inka.


Apistogramma beanschi can reach a total length of about 7 – 8 centimetres. Males have a bluish ground colour, with a high dorsal fin. The caudal fin has is a yellow to red ring. The vertical stripes across the body are striking. Females are very spectacular when getting ready to breed. Yellow at the front half of the body and head and blue at the posterior end. The blue part has black vertical stripes and they have a black mask on their face.


These fairly friendly Apistogramma can be kept well with other fish. Try to keep the bottom free of other species when kept in a smaller aquarium. For a couple, an aquarium of 80 centimetres will do. A male with 3 females can be kept in a tank of 100 centimetres. This is one of the few fish in the Nijsseni complex that can be kept as pair as well as harems. A group of at least 3 males with at least the same number of females can be kept in a large aquarium of 150 centimetres or more. This gives the most natural behaviour.



The Aquarium

These fish need an aquarium of at least 80 centimetres. One pair Apistogramma baenschi can be kept in a tank of this size. The aquarium can be decorated as with any Apistogramma. A sandy substrate, with many structural elements such as pieces of wood, stones, plants and leaves. Make sure there are about 3 breeding holes for each female to choose from. They can also be kept well in a planted aquarium. For a natural biotope, however, there are hardly any plants in it, but the bottom is covered with a few centimetres of leaves.


Temperature: 20-26 degrees Celsius
pH: 4 – 6.5
GH: 0 – 4

In nature, fish have to deal with fluctuating temperatures. Keeping fish at the minimum or maximum temperature for a long time is not always desirable and can shorten the average life of the fish.


In the wild, Apistogramma live from detritus where they filter out edible material. This can be achieved in the aquarium by adding leaves and branches on the bottom. The fish can also be fed with different types of live and frozen food. However, don’t give them too much red mosquito larvae and tubifex. They also like to nibble on herbivorous wafers.

Breeding Apistogramma baenschi

Breeding Apistogramma baenschi is not very difficult. Small litters can be expected in somewhat harder slightly acidic water. In softer acidic water, however, the nests are considerably larger, the fry are also much stronger under those conditions.

The eggs hatch after 36-72 hours depending on the temperature. The fry swim 5 to 6 days later. The young fish can be fed with newly hatched brine shrimp. With a lot of food and clean water (a lot of water changes), the young grow up fairly quickly. After 5-6 months, the young are sexually mature, ready to reproduce.




Copyright images

F. Ingemann Hansen – Akvariefotografen.com
Bas Harmsen


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