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Apistogramma trifasciata



    Small beautiful and peaceful dwarf cichlid that can be territorial when in spawning condition. Harem breeder. Otherwise a peaceful community fish. However, this species is very sensitive to water quality. Adaptable to water parameters (ph, dh, temp) yes. Adaptable to water quality, no. Frequent small water changes is paramount.

Quick stats:

Listed tank sizes are the minimum
Size: Up to 2 inches or (5-6cm)
Tank: 25 gallons (95 litres) or larger
Strata: Mostly lower and middle but will go everywhere.
PH: 5.0 – 7.2
Hardness: Soft to medium: dh range 0.0 – 12.0
Temperature: 79°F to 84°F (26°-29° C)


Order: Perciformes
Family: Cichlidae
Genera: Apistogramma
Species: trifasciata

Common name:


Three-Striped Dwarf Cichlid

    , Blue Apistogramma, Three-Stripe Apisto


    South America: Amazon River basin, in the Guaporé drainage in Brazil; Paraná River basin, in the Paraguay River drainage in Brazil and Paraguay, and in the middle Paraná River drainage in Argentina.

General Body Form:

    An compressed oval body shape with elongated dorsal, anal and pectoral fins.

Sexing & Coloration:Males have a body color of bight metallic blue that continues onto the dorsal, anal and ventral fins. The upper portion of the dorsal fin is orange/red and the first three to four spines are elongated and show more distinct separation than the rest of the dorsal spines. There is a black eye-stripe, however it is not as noticeable as in most species. The females are pale yellow or brown and have a dark lateral stripe. Females become a brighter yellow when spawning or during brood care. Sexual Dimorphism: Males are slightly larger than females and display a vibrant blue body colour. The females are normally duller yellow in comparison.


    The requirements for trifasciata are the same as most Apistogrammas – they require well filtered water that is soft and slow moving. They will also need to be provided with numerous hiding places, a variety of foods, and territories. Use plants, wood, and/or rocks and decors to break up their line of sight which helps delineate territories. Perform small water changes frequently as this species is highly sensitive to changes in water conditions. They are harem breeders, so you should always keep 2 or more females for every male.


    The natural diet consists primarily of small insects and planktonic animals. However, it will accept frozen or freeze-dried brine shrimp, daphnia, bloodworms tubifex, as well as micro pellet food and high quality flake foods.


    Water parameter for breeding are: pH of 6.0-6.5, water hardness of 1-4 dH, and temperature of 82-86°F (28-30°C). They will also need a good selection of caves for the females to choose from. The female will lay up to 100 eggs which she carefully cares for. She will fearlessly drive away any fish that get too close, including the male (may want to remove him from a small tank setup). Eggs should hatch in approximately three days and the fry will be swimming around four or five days after that. The male might suffer the females wrath once fry are free swimming and he should be removed (if he hasn’t been removed after fertilization) for his own safety. The slow-growing fry should be fed on newly-hatched brine shrimp and slowly weaned onto adult foods as they grow.


    Black water lagoons and ponds with have leafy bottoms.

References:Three-striped dwarf cichlid – Apistogramma trifasciata
Apistogramma trifasciata – Threestripe Apisto
Blue Apistogramma, Three-Stripe Dwarf Cichlid
Fish base
Apistogramma trifasciata
Apistogramma trifasciata


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