Heiko Bleher discovers: Apistogramma from the Rio Puritè

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Heiko Bleher has researched the Rio Puritè, a right-hand tributary of the Rio Içá in Amazonia, and found an amazing variety of previously unknown Apistogramma species to reveal to PFK readers.

Apistogramma sp. 1, male (pictured above)

Origin: Lago Grande, Rio Purité, Amazonas, Brazil.

Water: pH 5.88, conductivity 15 μS/cm, temperature 28.6°C/83.5°F at 8:30pm.

Habitat: Many leaves, driftwood, fallen-in trees and along the edge of the lake were overhanging jungle trees offering shade most of the day. The blackwater environment had no aquatic vegetation but many tree roots.

Notes: There are almost 100 Apistogramma species described from South America east of the Andes, but some of them have been described twice and many identified to a number of populations. However, there seems to be an endless variety of A. agassizii from the upper to the lower Amazon basin and in almost every tributary.

Aquarium: This beautiful and probably new species will look especially nice over a sandy bottom, with many leaves, some floating plants and driftwood. It should have a slowly-flowing filter, as they are used to still water. They breed easily, but males the are very territorial.

Apistogramma sp. 2, male

Origin, water, habitat and aquarium: Details as for Apistogramma sp. 1, male.

Notes: I found this species together with sp. 1 and there are similarities. However, all colour patterns are different, except for the red seam colour of the dorsal. This fish is also smaller and the female is very colourful.

Aquarium: I recommend the same set-up as for sp 1.

Apistogramma sp. 3, male

Origin: From a small very slow flowing and nameless blackwater creek entering the Rio Purité.

Water: pH 5.5, conductivity 12 μS/cm, temperature 27.6°C/81.7°F at 10am.

Habitat: This fantastic coloured Apistogramma was in a creek less than 1m/3.3’ wide and maybe 10cm/4” deep, and covered with many leaves over mud and sand. Fallen trees were everywhere, but there was no aquatic vegetation within the creek, only Cyperus growing near its mouth.

Notes: All the males collected typically had forked tails.

Aquarium: This species needs slow flow, but any aquarium should have a little flow. Use beige or white sand and add many leaves,

If they are wanted, any tank mates should comprise only bottom-dwelling small characoids like Characidium species and/or dwarf cichlids.

Apistogramma aff. regani, male

Origin, water, habitat and aquarium: Details as for sp. 3.

Notes: The species has similarities with the A. regani described from the Rio Negro, which is far from the Purité and not connected.

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