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Borelli's Dwarf Cichlid

borelli's dwarf cichlid

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Scientific Name:   Apistogramma borellii      
Min. Tank Size:   25 gallons      
Personality:   Peaceful      
Temperature:   75-82°F      
pH:   6.0-7.5/0-5°dGH     
Size:   3.5"      
Diet:   Omnivore      
Breeding:   Egglayer      


Can be kept in the community tank with other peaceful species; can also be kept with other Apistogramma species as long as adequate room and cover is provided.

Borelli's Dwarf Cichlid

Also called the Yellow Dwarf Cichlid and the Umbrella Cichlid or Umbrella Apisto, Borelli's Dwarf Cichlid is native to northern Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil. These fish tend to inhabit the creeks and tributaries of the Rio Paraguay and Rio Parana as well as the surrounding basins. Females of this species tend to have light grey or white bodies ornamented with vibrant yellow coloration on the face and fins while males have more blue in their coloration. Many specimens also exhibit a faded or partial dark lateral stripe extending from the eye to the base of the caudal fin.

Tank Set-up

Borelli's Dwarf Cichlids are one of the more peaceful Dwarf Cichlid species and they can be kept in the general community tank. These fish thrive in planted tanks that provide plenty of cover and also appreciate rock caves as hiding places and spawning sites. Construct caves with low ceilings and small openings to provide a place of refuge for the female away from the male. Use a fine, sandy substrate is preferred over a gravel substrate. Leaf litter can also be used to decorate the tank for Borelli's Dwarf Cichlids. This species is sensitive to poor water quality so regular partial water changes are necessary. Although the Borelli's Dwarf Cichlid can tolerate hard, alkaline water, they seem to show their best coloration in soft water on the acid side of neutral.


In the wild, these fish are micropredators and tend to feed on small insects and crustaceans. In the home aquarium, Borelli's Dwarf Cichlids should be fed a varied diet of small live and frozen foods, such as Daphnia, bloodworms, etc. A good quality Cichlid food will also be eagerly accepted. Feed a varied diet to help promote optimum health and coloration.


This species is a cave spawner with the typical brood size being between 40 and 70 fry. After spawning, the female will care for the eggs until they hatch 2 to 4 days later and will then defend the fry against other fish in the tank. When threatened, the female will signal to the fry using her body language that danger is near and the young fry will lie motionless in the substrate until the threat has passed.

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