Max Size: 7cm

Macmasters Apistogramma (Apistogramma macmasteri)

Macmasters Apistogrammas are generally peaceful and are suitable for the community aquarium as well as a species only aquarium. However, they can become somewhat territorial when breeding. Therefore it would be best if you kept a single pair of these fish in a small aquarium.

However, you can have a more significant group in a larger aquarium, provided you keep one male with several females so they can form a harem and have plenty of broken lines of sight. The females will seek out individual territories, hence the importance of many visual barriers within the aquarium.

Suitable tankmates for these fish would include Tetras, Barbs, Danios, Guppies and other Livebearers, as well as Dwarf Cichlids, smaller Gouramis, Catfish and Loaches. However, you should avoid keeping these fish with Larger, more aggressive species in too small an aquarium. Also, it would be best if you did not keep these fish with different Apistogramma species in the same aquarium.

As long as you have adequate cover and structure in your aquarium, these Apistos are unfussy when it comes to decor. Ceramic flowerpots, plastic piping and other artificial materials are all valuable additions. However, if you would like a more natural-looking arrangement, you could use a soft sandy substrate as well as some branches and wood roots placed so that plenty of shady areas and caves are formed. Adding dried leaves to the aquarium would further accentuate the natural feel and allow the growth of beneficial microbe colonies.

These fish will also appreciate a dimly lit tank; therefore, aquatic plants such as Microsorum, Taxiphyllum, Cryptocoryne and Anubias would be ideal as they can grow in such conditions. In addition, a few patches of floating vegetation to disperse the light even further may also prove helpful. Lastly, Filtration, or water flow, should not be powerful, and substantial water changes are best avoided.

The Apistogramma macmasteri has a slim torpedo-shaped body. Their bodies are a pale silvery-grey colour with a fine, distinct broken horizontal, black line running along the spine starting behind the eye and running through to the end of the caudal fin. In addition, these fish have a distinct black stripe running from behind the eye, downwards and backwards to the base of the gill plates. Lastly, their head, and as far back as their gill plates, are marble patterned with a combination of body colour, rich orange colour and black. The lips on these fish are somewhat thickened and dark grey.

Quick Facts
Scientific NameApistogramma macmasteri
Other NamesApistogramma macmasteri Dwarf Cichlid, Macmaster's Dwarf Cichlid
Aquarium LevelBottom - Middle
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asPairs
Lifespanup to 5 years
Water Parameters
Water TypeFreshwater
PH5.5 - 7.0
GH1 - 8
TDS0 - 90
73 - 84℉
22.8 - 28.9℃

Photos of the Macmasters Apistogramma

Macmasters Apistogramma
Macmasters Apistogramma
Macmasters Apistogramma
Macmasters Apistogramma
Macmasters Apistogramma
Macmasters Apistogramma

Natural Habitat

Macmasters Apistogrammas are only known from the Rio Metica and Rio Guaytiquia Basins, a part of the Orinoco Basin in Colombia's upper Meta River system in South America. These fish inhabit narrow, shallow and slow-moving creeks and blackwater streams. The substrate in their habitat usually comprises leaf litter, and there are plenty of roots and caves.

Metica River

What to feed the Macmasters Apistogramma

Macmasters Apistogrammas are primarily carnivorous and prefer live food feeding on a range of invertebrates in the wild. In the aquarium, provide a diet of live or frozen foods such as Artemia, Bloodworm, Tubifex worms and Daphnia alongside pelleted and flake food. These fish prefer to stay close to the bottom of the aquarium sifting through the substrate for their food.

How to sex the Macmasters Apistogramma

It can be challenging to differentiate between the male and female Macmasters Apistogramma, especially when the female is in breeding condition. However, females are usually smaller and less vibrantly coloured than males unless they are ready to spawn, in which case, their body colours are very similar to the males. In contrast, males are larger than females, and their dorsal and anal fins are more extended and pointed than females.

How to breed the Macmasters Apistogramma

Macmasters Apistogrammas are substrate spawners and usually lay their eggs in cavities and crevices amongst the decor. However, in a well-planted aquarium with floating plants, these Apistos will often spawn in the community tank, and some of the strongest fry will survive to adulthood by hiding in them.

The female can lay anything from 60 to 120 eggs in a single spawning. When the female has laid her eggs, the male will then swim over the eggs and fertilise them. The pair will repeat this process until the female has laid all of her eggs.

The female is responsible for the care of the eggs and the fry. The female Apisto is a perfect parent and will not prey on her own young however it is possible for the female, if stressed, to consume her eggs, especially if this is her first batch of eggs.

If you have these Apistos in a smaller aquarium, you will need to remove the male once the eggs have been laid, as the female can become super aggressive.

The eggs usually take two to three days to hatch depending on temperature, and then, the fry will become free swimming around five days after that. After several weeks the female will send away her brood. The male may allow them to reside in his territory unless he feels that any males within that brood threaten his dominance.

The newly hatched babies will initially feed on their yolk sac and remain inactive. However, once they become free-swimming, you can provide them with infusoria, baby brine shrimp and microworm.

Once the fry is big enough not to be seen as a snack, you can then introduce them into the community tank.

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)
Cockatoo Dwarf Cichlid(Apistogramma cacatuoides)
View all Cichlids
Date Added: 29/10/2021 13:16:48 - Updated: 07/12/2021 13:30:23