Max Size: 8cm

Banded Apistogramma (Apistogramma bitaeniata)

Although the Banded Apistogramma, Apistogramma bitaeniata, is generally peaceful, but it can become territorial when breeding. However, if you have a much larger aquarium, it is possible to house one male with several females since they will form a harem. There must be a lot of visual barriers within the tank to allow the females to create individual territories.

Your Banded Apistogrammas would do well with Corydoras Catfish, small Tetras, Hatchetfish, Pencilfish, and Suckermouth Catfish as tankmates. However, it is best to avoid keeping them in aquariums that are too small with large, more aggressive species. You should also avoid keeping these fish in the same aquarium with different Apistogramma species.

For these Apistos, a well-established soft and acidic water source, a dark substrate, and dense planting would be ideal. Additionally, these fish will need a lot of hiding places among rocks and driftwood to form territories. Finally, a floating plant could also be used to help dim the aquarium's light.

The ideal conditions can be created by adding dried Indian Almond Leaves and Peat Filtration. However, keeping nitrate levels low requires efficient filtration, gentle water movement, and frequent partial water changes. Also, you'll need a tight-fitting aquarium lid since these fish are capable of jumping.

There is a relatively slim body to the Banded Apistogramma. From behind the eye to the end of the caudal peduncle, the male's body is a pale silver with a greyish-black stripe running along it. The caudal fin is adorned with a false eyespot. Unlike its male counterpart, the female has a lemon yellow body and a greyish-black horizontal stripe but tends to be much paler. During spawning season, females have a central eyespot as well. The differences between these two fish make it easy to believe they are different species.


Banded Apistogramma
Banded Apistogramma
Quick Facts
Scientific NameApistogramma bitaeniata
Year Described1936
Other NamesBanded Dwarf Cichlid, Two-striped Apisto, Banded Apisto
OriginsBrazil, Peru
Aquarium LevelBottom - Middle
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asPairs
Lifespanup to 6 years
Water Parameters
Water TypeFreshwater
PH4.5 - 7.0
GH2 - 8
KH2 - 12
TDS0 - 90
75 - 86℉
23.9 - 30℃

Natural Habitat

Marañón River
Ucayali River


In the home aquarium, the Banded Apistogramma will readily accept most good quality dried foods such as granules, flakes and sinking pellets. These modern food products have been developed to provide all adequate nutrition to maintain your fish's health and dietary requirements.

Providing additional foodstuffs such as live, frozen, and freeze-dried meals such as bloodworm, daphnia, and tubifex once or twice a week will provide additional benefits to your fish's health and well-being but is not a must for this fish.

It should be noted that bloodworms should only be given as an occasional treat and should not be used as the staple diet as they are difficult for fish to digest and can potentially cause blockages.

This fish is an omnivore in the wild, meaning it will consume some vegetable matter. Although most modern fish foods take this into account and include them in their products, you can still supplement your fish's diet with blanched vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, and zucchini. Ensure you do not overfeed your fish and remove any leftovers the following day.

Sexual Dimorphism

Male and female Banded Apistogramma can be distinguished relatively easily. The male will grow significantly larger, be more colourful, and have an elongated, pointed dorsal to attract females. Furthermore, the males will develop extended pelvic fins. Females, on the other hand, will grow smaller and develop a yellow colouration when they are ready to reproduce.

Other Cichlids of interest

African Butterfly Cichlid(Anomalochromis thomasi)
Blue Panda Apistogramma(Apistogramma panduro, Apistogramma pandurini)
Bolivian Ram Cichlid(Mikrogeophagus altispinosus)
Checkerboard Cichlid(Dicrossus filamentosus)
Cockatoo Dwarf Cichlid(Apistogramma cacatuoides)
Convict Cichlid(Amatitlania nigrofasciata)
View all Cichlids
Date Added: 01/11/2021 13:08:50 - Updated: 23/08/2022 11:35:08