The Friendliest Apistogramma Tank Mates for a Peaceful Community Tank

Estimated read time 9 min read

In the post, you’ll find some of the best Apistogramma Tank Mates for a peaceful community tank.

Apistogramma, or affectionately known as Apistos are a small, inquisitive and brightly-colored fish that you’re able to add to your community. The entire family of Apistogramma is showstopping as they come in so many variable colors and sizes.

Apistos have a semi-aggressive temperament but are widely known for their avid curiosity, you’ll soon see how they’ll swim up to say, ‘Hi!’ as you look in at the side of the tank.

Learn what it’s like caring for Apistogramma. And, get great information and suggestions for Apistogramma tank mates so they’re not lonely!


Equipment For Your Apistogramma Tank

A Little More About The Apistogramma

The Apistogramma hails from South America and the Amazon. They grow to be approximately 3 to 3.5 inches in size.

The tank they require should be a minimum of 20 gallons, and getting larger from there. Apistos require water of between 72 and 86 degrees, and they’re best suited to neutral pH water (you don’t have to have a low pH).

The best thing about Apistogrammas is they’re fairly low maintenance and pretty inexpensive.

To feed these babies? Live food works best. Things such as glass worms, larvae and other kinds of worms are best, anything living will go down well with your Apistos.

Inside your tank, keep your greenery and plant life to the fullest, Apistos love their hiding places!

Apistogramma sp. "Black-Chin/Schwarzkinn"

Care Level: Intermediate
Ideal Tank Size: the aquarium needs to be at least 10 gallons big.
Temperature Range: the ideal temperature range is 20°C to 26°C
PH Range: the perfect pH range is 5-8

Apistogramma Tank Mates

Now that you’ve got yourself a little Apisto tank, you need to know who will get along famously with them. You don’t want your Apistos suffering at the hands of the potential bullies you may be putting into your tank.

One last note before we head onto the most ideal tank mates for Apistos; while they may be, for the most part, peaceful and gentle, Apistogramma may be semi-aggressive towards each other or other tank mates if their space isn’t big enough. Make sure the tank you have is large enough for them and their neighbors.

1. Rasboras

Chili Rasbora

Care Level: Intermediate
Ideal tank size: 10 gallons or larger
Temperature range: between 75° and 80° F
PH Range: between 6.8 and 7.8

Rasboras are colorful, peaceful fish who grow to a maximum of 4 inches which makes them ideal for medium-sized aquariums and tanks. They’re super active fish and are truly ideal for beginner level enthusiasts.

Rasboras are schooling fish, so they should be kept in groups of seven or more.

2. Pencilfish

Golden pencilfish (Nannostomus beckfordi)

Care Level: Intermediate
Ideal tank size: 20 to 30 gallons
Temperature range: 71.6° to 80.6° F
PH Range: from 5.7 to 7.0

The Pencilfish can be kept as a single tank mate to the Apistogramma, but also added in a small group. You should definitely keep more females than males in one tank though.

A very sensitive fish, the Pencilfish does not like changing environments and temperatures.

3. Cardinal Tetras

Cardinal tetras

Care Level: Beginner
Ideal tank size: 15 to 20 gallons
Temperature range: between 73-81 degrees Fahrenheit
PH Range: between 4.5-7

Cardinal Tetras have a red stripe across the entire length of their body, which makes them different from their cousins the Neon Tetra, which they’re very often mistaken for.

You’ll need to provide quite a bit of swimming space for the Cardinal Tetra as they are extremely active swimmers.

Check out this roundup list with 7 of the best tank mates for Cardinal Tetras

4. Splash Tetras

The Splash Tetra is a long-finned fish with beautiful coloration and is loved for its elongated fins. They’re known for being a peaceful species, they’re small and hail from Guyana.

You can keep Splash Tetras in pairs, or groups of 8 for ideal group sizings.

Care Level: Beginner
Ideal tank size: Minimum of 20 gallons
Temperature range: between 75 and 85 degrees
PH Range: between 6.5 and 7.5

5. Pygmy Cories

Salt and Pepper Cory - Corydoras habrosus

Care Level: Beginner/Intermediate/Expert
Ideal tank size: Minimum of 10 gallons
Temperature range: 72-79 °F
PH Range: 6.5-7.5

Pygmy Cories are peaceful, schooling fish that can live in quite small aquariums. They’re a great choice for smaller tanks as they fend well in a community of 2 to 3 other species.

To tell their genders apart, you simply have to look down at the top of the Pygmy Cory, the females are rounder and larger than their male opposites.

6. Otocinclus Catfish

Otocinclus affinis

Care Level: Beginner
Ideal tank size: Minimum of 10 gallons
Temperature range: Between 72 and 82°
PH Range: Between 6 and 7.5

The Otocinclus Catfish can be directly translated as, “Best Algae Eater ever!”

Well, not exactly, but it is what they’re known for. Which in turn, makes them super easy to keep fed. The Otocinclus Catfish is the perfect fish for beginners, they’re peaceful and they simply keep to themselves by staying out of the way, usually dwelling at the bottom of the tank.

7. Black Skirt Tetras

Black Skirt Tetra

Care Level: Intermediate
Ideal tank size: Minimum of 15 gallons
Temperature range: Best at 70° to 85° Fahrenheit
PH Range: From 6.8 to 7.0

Black Skirt Tetras are identified by two black, vertical stripes on the front part of their bodies and a black dorsal fin. As they age, however, their black color will begin to fade and be very pale by the time they’re 5 years old.

They will grow to about 2 inches in length but don’t let the small size fool you, these little guys will jump skillfully, right out of your tank, so you will need to keep it covered.

8. Neon Tetras

Neon Tetra

Care Level: Beginner
Ideal tank size: 10 gallons or more
Temperature range: 70°F to 81°F
PH Range: below 7.0 and above 6.0

The Neon Tetra, the ‘cousin’ of the Cardinal Tetra, hails from South America. It has beautiful, vibrant colors and is great for beginners to care for.

Alongside being great for beginners, they’re non-aggressive and love living in a community. The Neon Tetra should be kept in a group with approximately 15 members, fewer members will stress them out, so be sure to give them enough friends.

Check out this roundup of the 7  Neon Tetra Tank Mates to give this pretty little fish some company in your tank.

9. Kuhli Loach

Striped Kuhli Loach

Care Level: Intermediate
Ideal tank size: 20 gallons
Temperature range: Between 73-86°F
PH Range: pH as low as 3.0-4.0

The Kuhli Loach will be your nightshift security guard, they stay awake all night scavenging around the tank and dwelling, peacefully at the bottom. They’re a really shy and peaceful fish species which makes them one of the best Apistogramma tank mates, but they’re on an intermediate care level, so be prepared.

10. Dwarf Rainbow-Fish

neon dwarf rainbow

Care Level: Intermediate
Ideal tank size: 20 gallons
Temperature range: From 72.0 to 79.0° F
PH Range: From 6.5 to 8.0

The name perfectly describes this fish, the Dwarf Rainbow-Fish is just a miniature version of a normal rainbowfish. They only grow to be about 2.5 inches long, they’ve got really big, bulgy eyes and twin dorsal fins.

11. Dwarf Gourami

dwarf gourami

Care Level: Beginner
Ideal tank size: 10 gallons
Temperature range: 77–78.5°F
PH Range: 6–8

These beautiful fish, the Dwarf Gourami, are like little swimming rainbows in your aquarium. The Dwarf Gourami is especially easy to take care of because they’re such low maintenance.

These little guys have a fairly long fish lifespan, approximately 5 years, but sometimes they can live for even longer. They will generally keep to the middle and the top of the tank, so they’re great to pair with bottom-dwellers to even out your tank.

12. Bristlenoses

Bristlenose Pleco

Care Level: Beginner
Ideal tank size: minimum of 25 gallons
Temperature range: 60-80 F
PH Range: between 6.5 and 7.5

The Bristlenose, otherwise known as ‘The Great Tank Cleaner’, has a useful ability to keep the algae levels down in your aquarium. They’re sucker fishes that grow tentacles from their faces as they get older.

And you know what? The males have longer tentacles than their female counterparts.

Apistogramma Tank Mates to Avoid

The Apistogramma, as you now know, is a peaceful, friendly and group-loving fish. Having said that, it’s important to know that there are tankmates that you should not pair Apistos with.

Any fish paired with the Apistogramma should be fairly similar in size (as you will notice from our detailed list above).

Also, any fish that is famed for being a ‘fin nipper’ should not be grouped with your Apistos as they’ll most likely become the victims to these bullies.

Steer clear of putting the following species with your Apistogrammas:

  • Angelfish
  • Plecs
  • Parrot cichlids
  • Golden Wonder Killifish
  • Siamese Fighters
  • Striped and Spotted Doras
  • Pictus Catfish
  • Sucking Loach

Is The Apistogramma a community fish?

Unlike most other Cichlid species, the Apistogramma, or affectionately known as Apisto’s, are a small, inquisitive, and brightly-colored fish that you’re able to add to almost any freshwater community tank.

Are Apistogramma aggressive?

Apisto’s do have a semi-aggressive temperament but are, for the most part, a very peaceful species of Dwarf Cichlid. They are most known for their avid curiosity and playful behavior.

Can you mix Apistogramma?

As with most semi-aggressive fish species, it’s best to stick with one type. However, in a larger tank, you can mix Apistogramma.

Apistogramma Fun Ahead

Apistogrammas are used to a partially shaded environment and a sandy substrate. Don’t forget to add loads of plant life so there are more hiding places.

It’s suggested that you add some empty shells and rocks with holes to really give them a home they’ll be fond of.

Apistos can be quite easy to breed, but if you’re ready to take that step, then you’ll need to see which fish species aren’t famed for eating the fry.

We’re sincerely adamant that you’ll truly enjoy having Apistos in your aquarium, and now that we’ve paired you with the best Apistogramma tank mates, you simply can’t go wrong.

If you need help with keeping up with your aquarium maintenance to keep your Apistos happy, read this.

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