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Old March 7th, 2014, 07:28 PM   #1
robertprice
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Default Cichlid Profiles - Apistogramma atahualpa (Sunset Apisto)

The Sunset Apisto is native to blackwater habitats of the Rio Ucayali and Nanay River basin in the District of Loreto in the Peruvian Amazon. It was described, however, from fish already in the hobbyist trade. It is among the most beautiful of dwarf cichlids, and only seen in the USA this century. It is tentatively assigned to the cacatuoides or Cuckoo group of Apistos because of its relatively thick lips. The base color of the male is rust to burnt orange over the posterior part of the body with a large black stripe from the eye to gill cover, a series of black dots forming a broken line under the dorsal fin, a black caudal peduncle spot, a black dorsal headdress, and a variably colored dark line from eye to tail which changes with mood and season. This area is often underscored with shimmering blues. The tail is clear and rounded without streamers. The cheeks and belly are bright gold. The species is highly sexually dimorphic. The females have a yellow ground color, with jet black pelvic fins and dorsal fins which are up to half black toward the body, iridescent white above. They have the dark stripe from eye to tail, but it condenses into a single midbody spot during breeding season. They also have a black caudal peduncle spot.

These fish like soft acid water, pH 4 to 6, and temperatures of 76 to 82 degrees. It is aggressive for an Apisto. It is easy to breed below pH 4.5. Eggs are deposited on the ceilings of caves and mostly tended by the female. Males get as big as 4 inches, but are usually smaller. They are easy to keep and accept most properly sized foods.

A. atahualpa, the Sunset Apisto, is named after the last Inca King. It's close relative A. huascar, the Sunrise Apisto, was recently described and named for the king's brother. So far, available pictures show that the females of both species are doppelgangers: they cannot consistently be told apart by any morphological means. The male huascar has long streamers on its tail. Because of the irregular original description, and the lack of exact ranges of the two species, it is possible that they are partial doppelganger species that can only be separated by DNA analysis, or even subspecies. Genetic research should tell the tale. See "Images of Apistogramma atahualpa," but be advised that there are huascars and other species in the groupings.
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Last edited by robertprice; March 7th, 2014 at 08:24 PM. Reason: incomplete
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Old March 10th, 2014, 11:00 AM   #2
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Default Cichlid Profiles - Addendum to Apistogramma atahualpa and A. huascar

On March 10, 2014, I received an email from Uwe Romer who described Apistogramma atahualpa in 1997 and huascar in 2006. After examination of 800 specimens, it has been established that while the females remain very hard to tell apart, huascar females have a bigger middorsal spot in breeding color, a substantially bigger caudal peduncle black spot, a thicker eye bar, and usually a lavender tinged rather than iridescent white (as in atahualpa) dorsal fin top. Also, so far both species of females only mate with their own kind. There are now 5 localities known for huascar, and 8 for atahualpa, one of which for both is the Rio Huallaga, which is up to half a mile wide in places, and where they may overlap, but usually is a barrier to small fish. This is still being investigated. Romer adds that there are approximately 250 cryptic morphs of other Apistos yet to be definitively differentiated.
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