Manausreport: The A. paucisquamis, a rare and beautiful gem
I was pacing the rows of tanks at my LFS when I noticed a new shipment had come in, along with some long awaited Apistogrammas. I had hoped for agassizii to go along with my female but what showed up obviously wasn’t. I bought seven and had them identified as A. paucisquamis, and A. gibbiceps. Apistogrammas weren’t my thing back then and I gave away all of the juveniles and only kept one adult of each species, unfortunately, they died off and I really began to miss them.
I became a full blown Apistophile really began to miss keeping A. paucisquamis and never thought my collection complete without one. My Apistogramma collection grew until I had 9 species in all including Apistogramma sp. abacaxi, A. sp. tefe, A. gibbiceps, A. bitaeniata, A. agassizii, A. cf. pertense, and A. hippolytae.
One thing however was missing, I had no A. paucisquamis.
It was during a trip to the interior to the Amazon basin where my desires were satisfied. I had never been collecting there before and probably few if any ichthyological work has ever been done at the location. I planned on staying the week there, but the time was cut in half as we had to return sooner. I was fishing along a sandy beach when suddenly in my nets there appeared a black Apisto jumping in my net. I scarcely believed it, Ap. Paucisquamis!!! Thrilled I continued to fish along the banks with my net, poking in any likely place, under leaves, twigs, beside plants, until I had caught over 10 specimens. The place where I caught them was in a little inlet where the water was relatively still, they liked leaves, and other structure to live in. I let some of the juveniles go but kept the adults.
Unfortunately while I was there two of my prized adults died from unknown causes.
What was left of the group survived the way back, almost 11 hours on busses, boats, cars, and walking! The quintuple (three males and two females) acclimated well, the largest male in a separate, 16 gallon, tank while the younger ones (and a subadult male) went into a temporary 8 gallon tank.
The 16 gallon tank is a dwarf cichlid only tank currently containing some 11 species while the 8 gallon has lots of rocks, is sparsely planted, has driftwood and copious amounts of leaves. Cories and pencilfish serve as cleanup crew and dithers among the different Apistogrammas. This tank is filtered with a top-fin 20, the substrate in both tanks is beach sand.
The paucisquamis is not an aggressive species but it can get rowdy and some times disruptive, unfortunately however they can also be bullied by larger more boisterous Apistos.
I have to admit, this is one of my favorite fish I have ever had and that is saying a lot, as I enjoy many of my fish.
I believe that in the long run these cichlids deserve a tank of at least twelve gallons, though 15 is better. The substrate is not as important as for some Apistos as they do not like to sift sand as much as some other members of the genus.
They prefer lots of boundaries such as rocks, leaves and driftwood. Where I caught the most paucisquamis was in a big heap of twigs, and leaves.
They like tannins in the water and a low ph, less then 6 preferably.
Many people claim that these Apistos are hard to keep. So far mine have been relatively hardy. Frequent waterchanges are good for these fish, there is no such thing as too many waterchanges.
This Apisto can be identified by the banded forked tail, grayish body, and duel parallel bands on its body.
The paucisquamis is in the bitaeniata group and was first imported from Manaus.
They are often collected in the company of A. gibbiceps.
A paucisquamis is an awesome Apisto, it comes in a variety of colors, my personal favorite is the orange coloration. The fins are edged with red, it is breathtaking.
I really enjoy this Apistogramma and if you ever get the chance to get one, do so, it isn’t likely they will be coming around again soon.