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Best Apisto tank mates for 20g high


New Member
I have a pair of Macmasteri and planning on getting tank mates mainly for a better looking tank. My options currently at my LFS are Cardinal, Black Neon and Glowlight Tetras.

I'm getting 6-8 for a decent school. Which would be best for a pair of Macmasteri? I've heard Black Neons will predate on fry less, but I think all of these will eat fry. I may not breed them anyway since I just want a balanced aquarium that would be less maintenance and pleasing with the eyes.


Well-Known Member
As A. macmasteri are among the larger species, I would only keep a single male in that tanksize. Unless you have a second tank to separate the Apistos at any time you risk one of them succumbing to stress. A. macmasteri are also part of the majority of Apistogramma that are non-monogamous. Unless the female is receptive, the male will try to get her out of his territory. Sadly a fish tank has limitations. And once brooding, the female will likely turn the tables and all the other fish in the tank will be chased into a corner.

Considering this your goal
I just want a balanced aquarium that would be less maintenance and pleasing with the eyes.
I would really recommend a single dwarf cichlid and a 8-10 piece group of one characin species and be done with stocking.

And yes, all the tetras eat fry.

Mike Wise

Staff member
5 Year Member
Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.
None of the tetra species listed are ideal with a pair of apistos that potentially will breed. Black Neons are reportedly less predatory, but all will try. So the question is not which tetra but do I want a breeding tank or a community tank. It's almost impossible to have it both ways in such a small tank. If the former, leave the 2 apistos by themselves. Macs are not a shy species so they don't need dither fish. If you want a community tank then, as MacZ suggests, keep only 1 apisto and build a community around it.


Well-Known Member
For a tank that size i would consider borelli or similar. A 29 is really a better size for larger species of apisto. Also since these are non-pair forming you need some space for the female to escape the male. I have a pair of a. sp winkelfleck in a 29 and while they are relatively speaking a docile species there are times the female would like more space from the male.

I'm not sure if this is always true but the a. lineta i have the m/f aggression seems relatively low; the first week the male chased the female everywhere but since then they are frequently near each other without much bickering or chasing; the female just flicks her tail if she doesn't want attention from the male (very different from the winkelfleck and mac who will chase females endlessly).


New Member
Appreciate the replies. I would definitely transfer these Macs to a larger tank in the upcoming days. Aside for Borelli, what smaller species of Apistos might best live well for this 20g tank?

For now I won't get tetras yet since I want the best living conditions for them. Thanks.

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