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SUNSET APISTOGRAMMA (Apistogramma atahualpa)

SUNSET APISTOGRAMMA (Apistogramma atahualpa)

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Apistogramma atahualpa (A 175) is a colorful dwarf cichlid from Peru that was introduced to the hobby as Apistogramma sp. “sunset”. Although Apistogramma “sunset” may still be used as a common name for this fish, today it is increasingly sold as Apistogramma atahualpa and is a popular and hardy dwarf cichlid.

Male A. atahualpa develop extended dorsal fins and vibrant colors as they age. In my opinion, in many Apistogramma species the younger males show the most vibrant colors that can dull as they age. However, I find that A. atahualpa males continue to color up and become much showier as they age. In my experience, somewhere around 2 years of age, they become truly spectacular.

Female A. atahualpa in brood care are a sight to be seen.  They become a lemon-yellow color with striking black markings. Usually, a single spot is seen on the side of the female but in some cases, a double spot or no spot at all may occur.  The top of the dorsal fin is striped with iridescent white which matches the vivid white of the belly. The combination of yellow, black, and white make this a stunningly attractive fish.

A. atahualpa originate from the Rio Nanay which is a blackwater stream with soft acid water that is usually tannin-stained. Thankfully, in the aquarium, Apistogramma atahualpa will thrive in most water conditions. However, for successful breeding use soft and acid water (pH below 6.5 if possible). They adapt easily to most aquarium foods and are generally great Apistos. Although a true dwarf cichlid, Apistogramma atahualpa are among the larger Apistogrammas and exceptional males can reach a size of up to 4 inches (10 cm).  


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