Max Size: 10cm

Cockatoo Dwarf Cichlid (Apistogramma cacatuoides)

Among all the Dwarf Cichlids, the Cockatoo Dwarf Cichlid, Apistogramma cacatuoides, is one of the most colourful. Compared to other dwarf cichlid species, this is quite hardy and can adapt to various environments.

The Cockatoo Cichlid is an excellent fish for community aquariums. Other large and non-aggressive fish can be kept with them. In addition, they are receptive to their kind. You can keep these Cichlids alone, in pairs, or in groups of five or six females and one male. It is okay to house more than one male in the same aquarium if the tank is large enough.

Generally, Cockatoo Cichlids do not eat their tankmates and enjoy sifting through a sandy substrate for fine food particles. Although soft water is preferred, nitrate levels are far more important to health on a day-to-day basis, rather than soft water.

Cockatoo Cichlid's bodies are elongated and silvery grey and display a long black line running through their middle. Several of the male's dorsal fin rays are extended higher than the rest, giving it the appearance of a cockatoo.

On the male, the bottom and top rays of the tail fin are longer and brighter, and the belly and bottom fins are golden browns. A female, on the other hand, will be a dull yellow with a solid black ventral fin at the front as she ages. She will also have a more rounded caudal fin.


Cockatoo Dwarf Cichlid
Cockatoo Dwarf Cichlid
Cockatoo Dwarf Cichlid
Cockatoo Dwarf Cichlid
Cockatoo Dwarf Cichlid
Cockatoo Cichlid
Cockatoo Cichlid
Cockatoo Cichlid
Quick Facts
Scientific NameApistogramma cacatuoides
Year Described1951
Other NamesCockatoo Dwarf Cichlid, Crested Dwarf Cichlid
OriginsBolivia, Brazil
Aquarium LevelMiddle
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Lifespanup to 5 years
Water Parameters
Water TypeFreshwater
PH6.0 - 8.0
GH5 - 19
75 - 81℉
23.9 - 27.2℃

Natural Habitat

Ucayali River


In the home aquarium, the Cockatoo Dwarf Cichlid 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

The distinction between females and males of Cockatoo Cichlids is relatively straightforward. During breeding and caring for their brood, the females are yellow with dark markings. Males, on the other hand, possess more elongated and sharp dorsal fin rays. In addition, males have much brighter colours than females. Additionally, a dark line runs from the eye to the bottom of the gill flap on both sexes.

Other Cichlids of interest

African Butterfly Cichlid(Anomalochromis thomasi)
Banded Apistogramma(Apistogramma bitaeniata)
Blue Panda Apistogramma(Apistogramma panduro, Apistogramma pandurini)
Bolivian Ram Cichlid(Mikrogeophagus altispinosus)
Checkerboard Cichlid(Dicrossus filamentosus)
Convict Cichlid(Amatitlania nigrofasciata)
View all Cichlids
Date Added: 07/12/2020 - Updated: 23/08/2022 17:07:50