Apistogramma Bitaeniata (Banded Dwarf Cichlid)
Apistogramma Bitaeniata is commonly called Two-Stripe Apisto, Banded Apisto, or Banded Dwarf Cichlid. It lives in the Amazon river basins. It is also available in Tigre, Mazan, and lower Nany in Peru close to Letica, Columbia. In Brazil, it is found in Lago Tefe and Igarape Preto. The most suitable water for this fish is low-mineral and humic-filled water.
The fish has a small body but the eyes and mouth are comparatively large. Lateral lines cover the body in an irregular pattern. The fins are stiff and formed in the shape of rays. The dorsal fins at the spine are jagged and pointing inwardly. Fins at the pelvis of the fish are long and look like spiny rays. The tail fins are strong and shaped like a U-shaped harp.
There is a male and female version of the fish with multiple different colorations in both genders. Blue and violet are more common on the body color. The upper back fins are yellow-green with bright shades. The tail is usually shimmering in blue with yellow-green edges. It is also the same with the coloration of pectoral fins. Also, there is a thin black stripe that passes through the eyes and reaches till the gills.
pH: 5,0 – 7,0
Hardness: 2 – 6 dGH (0 – 90 ppm)
Size: Male: 7.5 cm Female: 5.5 cm
For keeping these fish in an aquarium, the water parameters need to be maintained properly as per their natural habitats. Water needs to be changed every week, and it is also necessary to have good filtration. During the water changes, it is significant to add the replaced water gently to prevent shocks in the fish. For filtering, peat is the best choice because it keeps the water soft and acidic like it is in the fish’s natural habitat. Only this low-in-mineral water can keep the fish color bright and healthy-looking.
Long aquariums make better for keeping Apistogramma Bitaeniata. It is substantial to provide a wide space for swimming around. And to resemble a more similar environment to their natural habitat, using sand at the bottom and adding dry Indian almond leaves, oak, or beech leaves will do great. In addition, using roots, bogwood, branches or driftwood will make it perfectly adjusted. Making small artificial caves with the help of clay flowerpots or coconut shells also adds a more natural aura to Apistogramma Bitaeniata’s environment.
Apistogramma Bitaeniata doesn’t prefer direct and bright lights. Water needs to be dark in color like tea. By adding blackwater or peat will help to reach this color. Also, Indian almond leaves, alder cones, and driftwoods will help both in coloration and pH levels.
Apistogramma Bitaeniata is a territorial fish that may show aggression to protect its area. It needs space for its individual needs for breeding. If a tank has a ratio of 1 male for every 2 females it should be at least 50 to 75 liters (11 to 17 gallons) of capacity. If there is 1 male for 3 to 4 females, the tank must have around 100 liters (26 gallons) of capacity. These are the minimum limits to reduce stress on the fish but more space and extra water is always a better choice for fish. The most important thing for this species is the base area rather than the water capacity.
Growing plants in the aquarium can help the fish enjoy a more natural environment especially those floating plants that obscure direct light. Anubias and Cryptocoryne are good choices of plants. Large aquariums like 120 cm long are better for the successful survival of the fish. If the aquarium is large enough to add more fish, the best species that make good tank mates are small tetras, rasboras, pencil fish, otociclus, corydoras, and swamp guppies.
Fish born in natural habitat eats live foods only. They need a transition period to commercial fish foods. Later, they can live and reproduce in the aquariums without problems. In this transition period, wild-caught fish should be first feed with live foods, then frozen live foods, and later by little amounts of dry fish foods. Pellet, granule and flake foods are also alternatives if the fish get used to dry foods. To prepare the fish for breeding, feeding the fish with frozen or live foods like brine shrimp daphnia and other live foods are necessary.
For breeding Apistogramma Bitaeniata, a separate breeding tank is necessary. A male may mate with several females at a time. For safe and successful breeding choose older males and young females for breeding. This results in having a large amount of baby fish. The parents take care of their young and do not eat them. If a low brightness light is lit over the tank, the eggs remain safer from any aggression.
Water in the breeding tank must be slightly acidic like pH 6.0 to 6.5 and temperature 24 to 26°C. There must be small caves or hiding places for the females to lay their eggs and guard them. One female can lay around 100 eggs and they hatch after 3 to 6 days.
Apistogramma Bitaeniata shows a kind and careful parenting to its fry. The male keeps guard of the territory while the female protects the fry and leads them in the water in search of food when they become free-swimming. The young fish will eat Vinegar eels, brine shrimp nauplii, micro worm, and powdered baby fish foods. It is important to keep the aquarium clean, remove the leftover food to keep the tank in good condition so that the young fish can grow fast and healthier.
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