Redline Apistogramma (Apistogramma hongsloi)
Redline Apistogrammas are generally peaceful and suitable for the community aquarium as well as a species only aquarium. However, these fish 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 bigger aquarium, provided you keep one male with several females so they can form a harem and make sure they have plenty of broken lines of sight. The females will choose individual territories, hence the importance of many visual barriers within the aquarium.
Suitable tankmates for these fish could include Barbs, Danios, Tetras, 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 didn't 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, and 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 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 Redline Apistogramma has a torpedo-shaped body that is relatively slim when viewed from the front or from above. The adult male's body has a pale silver-grey colour with a fine, horizontal grey-black, zig-zag stripe running along the spine line from behind the eye to the end of the caudal fin. The head, and as far back as the gill plates, is marbled, with a combination of silver and reddish-pink, and the lips are dark grey and somewhat thickened.
The female Redline Apistogrammas colouring is pale yellow but displays a much more vivid yellow at spawning times. In addition, she has a distinct greyish black stripe running from the eye, downwards and backwards to the base of the gill plates and a broken black line running along the body from behind the gill plates to the edge of the caudal peduncle. It would be easy to think that these two fish were different species because they look so dissimilar.
|Scientific Name||Apistogramma hongsloi|
|Aquarium Level||Bottom - Middle|
|Difficulty||Beginner - Intermediate|
|Best kept as||Pairs|
|Lifespan||up to 5 years|
|PH||5.5 - 7.0|
|GH||1 - 6|
|TDS||18 - 268|
|73 - 84℉|
22.8 - 28.9℃
Redline Apistogrammas are native to the Rio Vichada and middle Rio Meta Basins in Colombia. You can also find them in the middle section of the Orinoco system in Venezuela in South America. They inhabit thin, slow-flowing to almost still water in blackwater streams, tributaries and creeks where the substrate has plenty of submerged leaf litter, roots and caves.
Other Cichlids of interest
What to feed the Redline Apistogramma
Redline Apistogrammas are primarily carnivorous and prefer live food feeding on a range of invertebrates in the wild. In the aquarium, it would be better to provide your fish with 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 Redline Apistogramma
It is pretty straightforward to distinguish the males from female Redline Apistogrammas. Males are larger than females and typically develop more extended and pointed fins. The males are also more vibrantly coloured than females. In contrast, females are smaller than males and turn a bright yellow colour with black fins when in breeding conditions.
How to Breed the Redline Apistogramma
You can breed Redline Apistogrammas successfully in the home aquarium; however, it can prove challenging. The water will need to be very soft and acidic, and the temperature will need to be raised to the top end of their preferred range.
Ideally, you should provide the females with a suitable spawning site in the form of a cave using pipes or flower pots. These Apistos may even lay their eggs on the underside of broad-leaved plants. The female may lay anything from 40 to 60 eggs on the cave's ceiling. When the female has laid her eggs, the male will swim over the eggs and fertilise them. The pair will repeat this process until the female has laid all of her eggs.
The female will guard the eggs, and the male will defend the territory.
The eggs will usually hatch between two to four days later, depending on the water temperature. The female will continue guarding the babies and then lead the fry out of the cave a few days later. She will be very combative at this point, fending off any would-be predators.
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 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 introduce them into the community tank.