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Apistogramma macmasteri (red mask) (Macmaster's Apisto)

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Captive bred fish Apistogramma macmasteri are the recommended choice for the community aquarium. They are generally peaceful, but can become rather territorial when breeding. The advice is to keep them in a pair, or if the aquarium is large enough, one male with several females (they will then form a harem).

Good tankmates include Corydoras catfish, hatchetfish, pencilfish, small tetras, and suckermouth catfish.

Wild caught variants are safest kept either alone or with dither fish. Dither fish are used by aquarists to reassure the more 'nervous fish' and encourage them to come out of hiding.

There are many tank-bred colour forms available for this species. Some examples are; 'red', 'double red', 'gold', and 'gold red-mask'.

Fish information (behaviour and breeding):

A. macmasteri is a generally peaceful choice of fish. They will not respond well to elevated nitrate levels, so regular partial water changes are vital to ensure they are kept healthy and happy.

Regarding diet, feed these wonderful little fish flake, micropellets, small frozen foods (e.g. bloodworm, white mosquito larvae, vitamin-enriched brineshrimp and daphnia).

Breeding is possible in the home aquarium, but it requires some effort on the part of the aquarist. Keep the water quite soft and acidic and maintain a water temperature of around 28C. Place a cave or flower pot in the aquarium, so that the female can use it as a spawning site. With a bit of luck, she will lay between 50-100 eggs and the female will then guard her eggs. The male will support her by guarding the general harem area. It is worth noting you may see territorial behaviour around this period of time.

Depending not he temperature of the aquarium, the eggs will hatch on day 2, 3 or 4. The female continues guarding the fry and several days later she should guide the fry out from the cave. You will notice her behaviour shift, in order to protect her young. She will become potentially aggressive and hostile, fending off potential threats to her babies.

The fry will require your attention. Advise is to offer frequent small feeds with appropriately sized food e.g such as baby brineshrimp. If the spawning occurred in a general community tank, the wise thing to do is feed other fish at another end of the tank, to remove the risk of motherly stress and quarrel. Sometimes females might protect their fry in their mouth in order to safely transport them to more sheltered area of the aquarium.

Family Group: South and Central American Cichlids
Distribution Columbia
Temperature 23-29C
Size 7CM
Water Parameters Soft and slightly acidic
Water PH 5.5-6.5
Sociability Peaceful
Schooling Fish No
Water Chemistry less than pH 7 - acidic
Care Level Easy
Diet Adaptable