Max Size: 7cm

Macmasters Apistogramma (Apistogramma macmasteri)

In general, Macmasters Apistogrammas, Apistogramma macmasteri, are peaceful and suitable for both community aquariums and species-only aquariums. Breeding can, however, result in some territorial behaviour. Therefore, keeping a single pair of these fish in a small aquarium would be best.

If you keep several females and one male in a larger aquarium, you can have a more significant group, provided they have enough broken lines of sight and can form a harem. Several visual barriers within the aquarium are necessary to allow the females to seek out individual territories.

Fish such as Tetras, Barbs, Danios, Guppies and other Livebearers would be suitable tankmates, as well as smaller Gouramis, Catfish, and Loaches. However, you should avoid keeping these fish in small aquariums with larger species that are more aggressive. You should also avoid keeping these fish in the same aquarium with different species of Apistogramma.

These Apistos don't care about the decor as long as your aquarium has enough cover and structure. It is a good idea to add ceramic flowerpots, plastic piping, and other artificial materials to the aquarium. Alternatively, if you'd like a more natural-looking arrangement, add some branches and roots to create plenty of shade and caves on a soft sandy substrate.

An aquarium with dried leaves would enhance the natural feel and allow beneficial microbes to flourish.

As they can grow in dim lighting, aquatic plants such as Microsorum, Taxiphyllum, Cryptocoryne and Anubias would be ideal for these fish as they appreciate dim lighting. To further disperse the light, a few patches of floating vegetation might be helpful. Last but not least, filtration should not be powerful, and you should avoid substantial water changes.

The Macmasters Apistogramma has a slim torpedo-shaped body. Silvery-grey in colour, their bodies are outlined by a fine, distinct horizontal black line running from behind the eye to the caudal fin.

Moreover, these fish have a distinct black stripe running from behind the eye, downward, and backward to the base of the gill plates. Last but not least, their head and gill plates are marble-patterned with a combination of body colour, rich orange colour, and black. Finally, the lips on these fish are somewhat thickened and dark grey.


Macmasters Apistogramma
Macmasters Apistogramma
Macmasters Apistogramma
Macmasters Apistogramma
Macmasters Apistogramma
Macmasters Apistogramma
Quick Facts
Scientific NameApistogramma macmasteri
Year Described1979
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℃

Natural Habitat

Metica River


In the home aquarium, the Macmasters 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

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.

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: 31/08/2022 13:42:45