Borelli's Dwarf Cichlid (Apistogramma borellii)

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Borelli's Dwarf Cichlid

Steel Blue.JPG
Male "Steel-Blue" A. Borellii

Apistogramma borellii

57 Litres (15 US G.)

5.1-7.9cm (2-3.1 ")




6 - 8.0

10 -27 °C (50-80.6°F)

3-12 °d

1:1-3 M:F

Pellet Foods
Flake Foods
Live Foods

3-5 years



Additional names

Banded Dwarf Cichlid, Borelli's Dwarf Cichlid, Yellow Dwarf Cichlid, Umbrella Cichlid

Additional scientific names

Apistogramma aequipinnis, Apistogramma borelli, Apistogramma reitzigi, Heterogramma borellii, Heterogramma ritense, Heterogramma rondoni


Leaf litter of the Mato Groso and Rio Paraguay. These habitats are not in the tropics and thus A. borellii is more cold tolerant than most cichlids; it has been collected in water as cold as 6 celsius!


Males have more vibrant coloration than females, being blue with (in many populations) a brightly colored head; they also have much longer fins when mature.


Soft water and live food encourages breeding. Like most Apistos, borellii are harem breeders; one male spreads his time between multiple females. This fish is a cave breeder; the female may lay from 50-100 eggs on the roof of a cave, which the male then fertilizes. Females (which typically turn bright yellow when they are ready to spawn or tending to a spawn) will guard their eggs and subsequent fry from all other fish (often including the father), while the male will defend the entire territory. Fry can be delicate.

Tank compatibility[edit]

Considered to be peaceful and a good community fish under most circumstances. Males are territorial, and if more then one male is kept in the same tank, much space and cover must be provided to allow for the creation of each male's territory. Females can become hostile when raising fry, but this can be minimized by providing ample space.


Good quality flake food, but should be supplemented with frozen, freeze dried and/or live food. Mosquito larva, tubifex worms, blood worms, water fleas, brine shrimp and Cyclops are all excellent additions to their diet.

Feeding regime[edit]

Feed once or twice a day, no more than can be consumed in a few minutes.

Environment specifics[edit]

Provide with ample hiding places/caves made from driftwood and unglazed ceramic pots. Planted tanks work quite well for this species, as they do most other members of the genus. Umbrella cichlids are less demanding about their water parameters than many other Apistogramma species but still prefer somewhat soft water and reasonably low nutrient levels; while they can technically be kept as a pair in a 10 gallon, the male would most likely need to be removed when they spawn for his own safety. Their cold tolerance means they can be kept in a container pond during the summer in many areas.


Commonly recommended as a beginner's apisto, this species is more tolerant of hard water than many of its congeners, is relatively peaceful, and is not particularly difficult to spawn. However, they still require good water quality.



External links[edit]