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Macmaster’s dwarf cichlid - Apistogramma macmasteri

Macmaster’s dwarf cichlid - Apistogramma macmasteri

Scientific name: Apistogramma macmasteri

Common name: Macmaster’s dwarf cichlid

Family: Cichlidae

Usual size in fish tanks: 5 - 6 cm (1.97 - 2.36 inch)


Recommended pH range for the species: 6.4 - 7.1

Recommended water hardness (dGH): 4 - 14°N (71.43 - 250ppm)

0°C 32°F30°C 86°F

Recommended temperature: 23 - 28 °C (73.4 - 82.4°F)

The way how these fish reproduce: Spawning

Where the species comes from: South America

Temperament to its own species: peaceful

Temperament toward other fish species: peaceful

Usual place in the tank: Middle levels


South America; Macmaster’s dwarf cichlids inhabit the clear water streams.


The expected life span for Apistogramma macmasteri is 3-5 years.

Short description

Macmasters Cichlids can be a great addition to a peaceful SA community set up but be careful as tank bred specimens tend to be hardier than wild specimens. The wild specimens will demand pristine water conditions and can be more aggressive even for a small fish, especially at spawning times .They do well with other species of a similar size that require the same water parameters but they can be hostile towards other Apistogrammas so if keeping these it is best to house them with other species or keep them in a smaller aquarium as a species only set up. Provide Macmaster’s dwarf cichlids with a planted tank and soft acidic water, they can tolerate harder water but may not display their true colours. Add plants and some rocks or wood to create hiding places. They can be skittish if hiding places are not provided and bright lighting should also be avoided to make them feel more secure, careful selection of plant species that will thrive with less lighting should be undertaken.

Floating plants are also an ideal choice not only for aesthetics but to help keep the lighting dimmed to a suitable level. Avoid unstable water parameters by keeping the water changes regular but at a reasonable percentage such as 10%, this will keep a balanced aquarium allowing these fish to thrive.

Food and feeding

Macmaster’s dwarf cichlids will accept all foods offered but prefer live or frozen foods. Use a quality flake or small cichlid pellets but vary the diet by feeding them with blood worms, brine shrimp, white worms and mysis.


Males tend to be larger than the females and they also possess a rounded caudal fin with red edges.


One male can be kept with several females whilst breeding. They may all spawn at the same time. Provide the fish with clean, soft and acidic water. They are cave spawners so provide them with plenty of caves in the form of upturned plant post or similar. The female will guard the eggs while the male defends the territory and the fry should be free swimming after 7 days. At this stage, they can be fed on newly hatched brine shrimp. They are very secretive during spawning times, hiding away during the process so you may not realise this has occurred until the fry emerge, you should also keep an eye on the female as she may become very aggressive towards the male while raising the fry, if the aggression becomes too much then the male should be removed as he will take no part in parental care and can be seen as a threat by the female.


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Macmaster’s dwarf cichlid, picture 1 Macmaster’s dwarf cichlid, picture 2 Macmaster’s dwarf cichlid, picture 3 Macmaster’s dwarf cichlid, picture 4 Macmaster’s dwarf cichlid, picture 5 Macmaster’s dwarf cichlid, picture 6

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