Synonyms: Apistogramma marmoratus, A. U-2
Physical description: Males have highly developed fins. The dorsal fin's first three to five rays are elongated and stand out among the others. The dorsal tip comes to a sharp, elongated point. The caudal fin is forked and the anal fin's tip comes to a point. Females, by contrast, have less elaborate fins. The male's coloring depends on its population, and thus can be varied. The most common variety has a brown to gray body coloring. The belly is golden-brown as are the anal, pelvic, and dorsal fins. The anal fin is edged with a blue-green fringe, as are the pelvic fins. The pointed dorsal rays are tipped with orange, that become green before reaching the main part of the fin, which is gold. The body is marked with one lateral stripe that extends from the eye to the caudal fin. Below this stripe are three shorter lines. Depending on the mood of the fish, five to seven broad bands are visible on the upper back. The eye is marked with a stripe that extends down to the corner of the gill cover. The tail green with a series of red spots on the upper lobe. Females are much drabber in color.
Size/Length: Males to 3.5" (9 cm), females to 2" (5 cm)
Similar species: Banded Dwarf Cichlid ( A. bitaeniata)
Habitat: Shallow, still to slow-moving bodies of water with leaf litter as a substrate. This species inhabits clear and white water bodies of water. South America; Yavari River along the border of Brazil and Peru.
Aquarium: The tank should measure around 32" (81 cm) with a capacity of 30 gallons (114 L). Use a cover of floating plants to diffuse the lighting. The substrate should be dark. The tank should be heavily planted with many hiding areas among rocks, wood, and roots. Cover the tank well.
Water chemistry: pH 6.2-7.7 (6.7), 5-16 dH (10), 75-81°F (24-27°C)
Social behavior: A territorial fish that can be combined with other Apistogramma species, catfish, and schooling fish of the upper swimming levels. Males form harems, thus one male should be kept with several females. Males are pugnacious during the spawning season and may attack other fish in the tank-including the females.
Suggested companions: Corydoras , tetras, pencilfish, hatchetfish, Loricarids, Apistogramma.
FOOD: Live; crustaceans, insects, insect larvae; flakes; pellets; tablets; finely chopped meat.
SEX: Males develop the characteristic 'peacock' crest, are larger and more colorful. The male's caudal fin is forked.
Breeding techniques: Use water with a pH from 6.8-7.2, a water hardness of 10 dH, and a temperature 79-84°F (26-29°C). Each female should be provided with a cave or over-turned flower pot to defend. The females lay up to 100 eggs on the ceiling of the site. The female guards the eggs, while the male guards the harem territory. The eggs hatch after three to four days. Start feeding with roftiers, after a week or two, the fry can be fed with nauplii. As the fry grow, they may change from one mother to another.
Breeding potential: 7. Breeding is fairly difficult.
Remarks: The Cockatoo Dwarf Cichlid requires frequent partial water changes in order to prosper. Several different color variations have been exported including a popular red-spotted form. Well-maintained water leads to the beautiful colors that this fish is known to develop.
Difficulty of care: 5. The Cockatoo Dwarf Cichlid is among the hardiest of all Apistogramma species.