Apistogramma viejita

Scientific name Apistogramma viejita
Descriptor Kullander
Year of description 1979
IUCN category LC
Family Cichlidae
Genus Apistogramma
Apistogramma viejita Apistogramma viejita


Apistogramma viejita is a fresh water fish from the Amérique du Sud.

Who is it?

Genus Apistogramma

In 2019 according to Fishbase, 89 species belong to genus Apistogramma. Fishes of this genus all belong to the „dwarf cichlids“ family. As a reminder, cichlids are one of the main freshwater families. Most of the Apistogramma fishes measure less than 10 cm, which is why they have been attributed the adjective „dwarf“.

Into the wild, these fishes can be found in almost the entire neotropical realm, east of the Andes, with a high concentration in the Amazon Basin. Most of them live in highly localized and isolated areas, in drainage systems of lowlands tropical rainforests and in open savannas around the Amazone, Orinoco and Paraguay rivers areas. Some species are widespread such as A.agassiziiA. bitaeniataA. cacatuoides or A. trifasciata.

Other species with a narrow geographic distribution are particularly threatened by rapid environmental changes and could be affected by forest degradation or dam construction.

Apistogramma fishes generally inhabit edges of streams or rivers, in waters of shallow depth and with leaf litter on the bottom. They can be found in all kinds of waters (clear waters, dark waters, white water streams). These territorial small fishes take good care of their offsprings. Sociability varies from one species to the other.

In these characteristic environments, they swim along various species of tetras, pencil fishes, Corydoras fishes and Loricariidae. Others cichlids also inhabit this kind of habitat.

It is clear that some species have not been described to date. Researches are ongoing in order to further refine information on this genus. Three main subgroups of Apistogramma fishes have been identified: the steindachneri, the agassizii and the regani lineages. Despite strong similarities between certain species, hybridization risks are very low. Wild females are very picky and a study shows that they recognize males from a same territory and will choose them in order to reproduce.

This genus is considered as the sister clade of the Taeniacara genus.


  • Average size
    5 cm
  • Maximum size
    7 cm
  • Longevity
    5 year
  • Shape
  • Average size
    5 cm
  • Maximum size
    7 cm
  • Longevity
    5 year
  • Shape

How to recognize Apistogramma viejita ?

Apistogramma viejita measures between 5 and 7 cm.

Behaviour & Life cycle

  • diet
    carnivorous and soil-eating
  • Sociability
    living as a couple or in a group
  • territorial
  • Way of living

Apistogramma viejita is a fish living as a couple or in a group naturally found near the bottom. This species is carnivorous and soil-eating .

Although slightly territorial, Apistogramma viejita is a rather peaceful animal that generally behaves in a peaceful manner with other species. It should be noted that it is sometimes less tolerant with its conspecifics. Parades or even small jousts may occur between different members of the group until a hierarchy is established.


  • Migratory species
  • Polygamy

Apistogramma viejita is a fish ovipare qui pond sur substrat caché. In this species, the dominant males are polygamous and reproduce each season with several females.

Harmless species

This species does not represent any particular threats to humans when encountered in its natural environment.

Where to find it?

What is its habitat?

Natural environment characteristics

  • Temperature
    23 - 28 °C
  • pH (acidity)
    5.5 - 6.5
  • gh (hardness)
    1 - 5
  • Flow
    Slow and Stagnant

Biotope presentation

Species of the same biotope

Main recommendations for fishkeeping


In order to preserve wildlife, if you acquire this animal, it must not be released into the wild. See also, the Fishipedia charter.

Fishipedia supports the practice of responsible and environmentally friendly aquarium keeping. We encourage maintenance if it is motivated by a desire to understand the biological functioning of living things and if it is done with respect for animal life.

We believe that aquaristics is an opening to the discovery of aquatic environments, especially freshwater, and that this knowledge is necessary to better protect and respect these environments. Logically, we refute the compulsive purchase of animals that would not find a sufficient and / or adapted place in the host aquarium.

Our recommendations

  • Min volume
    150 liters
  • Population min
  • Temperature
    23 - 28 °C
  • pH (acidity)
    6.8 - 7.2


  • Difficulty breeding
  • Robustness
  • Behaviour
  • Availability

General reminders

It is strongly advised to read the complete dedicated file and to get information on the feedbacks of maintenance of the envisaged animal, this to avoid any potential conflict whose end result is generally the death of the individual (or the other inhabitants). It is important not to overload your aquarium to limit pollution. This will make maintenance easier.

In nature, animals are subject to weather conditions and live in waters with variable characteristics. The recommendations offered by our team for aquarium maintenance are a guidance and cannot be assimilated to scientific datas.

General reminder on maintenance datas

Le démarrage d'un aquarium est une partie primordiale pour l'équilibre et le bien-être des poissons. Lorsque l'on met en eau un aquarium, l'eau passe naturellement par un cycle biologique : le cycle de l'azote. Celui-ci dure environ trois semaines. Tous les 2 jours, nous vous conseillons de tester votre eau jusqu'à ce que le taux de nitrite soit à zéro pendant plusieurs jours d'affilée.

Pour accélérer ce cycle, vous pouvez utiliser un activateur de bactéries comme JBL Denitrol. Cette solution riche en bactéries vivantes et enzymes permet une mise en place rapide du cycle de l'azote. Les poissons peuvent alors être introduits plus rapidement.

Il est important de tester l'eau de son aquarium régulièrement pour maintenir un environnement sain pour les poissons et les autres habitants. Les tests d'eau permettent de mesurer les niveaux de différents paramètres tels que le pH, la dureté totale, ainsi que les taux de nitrates, de nitrites et d'ammoniaque.

Pour réaliser ces tests, vous pouvez utiliser des produits d'analyse spécialisés tels que JBL ProScan qui permet de réaliser un diagnostic de l'eau directement via un smartphone. Il existe également des coffrets de tests plus classiques de bandelettes, comme JBL PROAQUATEST.

En cas d’usage de l’eau du robinet, vous pouvez utiliser un conditionneur d’eau de type Biotopol de JBL pour éliminer les substances nocives comme le chlore, le cuivre, le plomb et le zinc. Les conditionneurs d'eau garantissent une meilleure santé aux poissons et une meilleure croissance des plantes.

Chlorine and chloramine are dangerous for the health of animals. Used to disinfect water, these agents are present in significant quantities in tap water. We recommend using an anti-chlorine agent every time you change the water. In addition to chlorine, treatments and medicines sold for aquarium use sometimes contain dangerous heavy metals in high doses.

Specific needs for Apistogramma viejita

Apistogramma viejita is a species which lives naturally at a temperature between 23 °C and 28 °C. For proper maintenance, the temperature should never exceed the 31°C for long periods. Nitrate levels should remain below 50mg/L. To keep the water clean and unpolluted, plan on changing 20% to 30% of the water volume each month.

The breeding of this species is accessible on condition of being well informed about its needs in aquarium . Any cohabitants must be chosen with care to avoid the loss of animals.

This species is particularly common in the aquarium trade. Animals from long-term breeding are usually acclimatized at a temperature of about 26 °C in neutral water.

Cohabitation & Environment

In a community aquarium context, this species should be kept in a minimum volume of 150 liters.

Fearful by nature, it is advised not to let Apistogramma viejita cohabit with large territorial species or with too aggressive fish. It can easily evolve with territorial neighbors with a peaceful temperament or with non-territorial species.

Be careful to plan an adequate space for each territorial species. Each species should have a surface and a decor allowing it to juxtapose its territory with that of its neighbors.

This fish being polygamous, the male must always be maintained with several females. A ratio of three females to one male seems to be a good compromise for the constitution of the group.

Tips for feeding

Apistogramma viejita is carnivorous and soil-eating.

This species can eat dry food (flakes, pellets), fresh food and frozen food. To avoid deficiencies, it is recommended to vary the types of food.

You should not overfeed your residents to avoid polluting the water. For most species, it is better to feed a few small portions each day rather than one large meal.

Food recommendations from our partner JBL - Products PRONOVO

Reproduction protocol

  • Maintenance difficulty
  • egg-laying protection

Reproduction of this species in an aquarium is considered moderate. Ideally, it takes place at a temperature of around 25 ° C for a pH of 6.5 .

Hybridization risks

In general, it is advised not to mix several species of the same genus or different varieties of the same species, to avoid the risks of hybridization.

These animals might interest you

To go further

Species of the same family

To read on the web

Sources & Contributions

Participation & Validation

The Fishipedia team and specialist contributors are committed to providing high-quality content. However, although the information comes from scientific sources or testimonials from specialists, the cards may contain inaccuracies.

Robert Allgayer

Robert Allgayer

In collaboration with : Fédération Française Aquariophilie

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Template and content © Fishipedia - Unauthorized reproduction without prior request - ISSN 2270-7247 - Last modification 29/09/2023

Scientific partners

Species of the same family

Same genus

Species of the same biotope

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