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CICHLIDS

By Rhett Butler


ASIAN CICHLIDS
Two or three species, belonging to the genus Etroplus , are found on the Asian Continent. These species live in the brackish water estuaries and lagoons of India and Sri Lanka.


Orange Chromide
[
Etroplus maculatus
SYN : Chaetodon maculatus, Etroplus coruchi
PD : A slightly elongated, oval-shaped fish. The body is yellow to bright orange in color with several rows of small red-orange spots that mark the body. Three, short transverse bars are located near the mid-section of the body. The lower sections of the body may be marked with a large black area. The belly is light orange while the fins are transparent with an orange tint. The fins are close to the body and the tail is slightly forked. The eye is dark and large. The pelvic and anal fin are sometimes black.
SIZE : To 3.5" (9 cm)
SS : None
HAB : Southwestern Asia; inhabits shallow areas of coastal, brackish rivers and lagoons in India and Sri Lanka.
S: bottom, middle
TANK : A 24" (50 cm) tank with a capacity of 15 gallons (57 L) can be used. Use a fine gravel or preferably coral sand bottom with scattered rocks. Supply shelter and retreats with rocks, wood, and roots. Plants that can tolerate brackish water can be used. The tank should be in a position to receive morning sunlight.
WATER : pH 7-9 (8.0), 5-30 dH (18), 68-84°F (20-29°C). A 1 to 1.5% addition of salt is recommended. This can be accomplished by adding 7.5 to 11 TSP. of salt to 10 gallons of water (10-15 g of salt/10 L).
SB : A peaceful, non-destructive cichlid that can be kept in a brackish water community tank. The Orange Chromide can also be kept in a freshwater community tank, although salt must be added. Best kept in pairs. Let pairs select themselves from a selection of 6-8 juveniles. The pairs form monogamous bonds and later nuclear families.
SC : Livebearers, Danios, Celebes Rainbowfish, other Rainbowfish, Chanda , Halfbeaks, Brachygobius .
FOOD : Algae; live; brine shrimp, other crustaceans, Tubifex ; tablets; flakes; pellets. Feeding this species color-enhancing foods fortified with beta-carotene will bring out its reddish hues.
SEX: Males have a red edge to their anal dorsal and caudal fins, and generally have brighter colors. These differences are somewhat unreliable.
B : An addition of a small amount of sea water and a slight increase in temperature will help initiate the spawning. 200-300 eggs are laid on previously cleaned rocks, wood, and roots. The black eggs adhere to the surface in short little stems. Both parents guard the eggs with hatch in 3-6 days. The fry are taken to pits where the parents continue their care. The fry attach themselves to the flanks of the parents where they appear to receive some sort of nourishment perhaps similar to Discus. The fry are free-swimming a few days after, and can be raised on Artemia nauplii and roftiers. Be sure to keep an adequate amount of salt in the water so the eggs or the fry are not to suffer from fungal infections. The fry are slow-growing and very sensitive to changes in water conditions. Parental care may continue for up to four months.
BP : 7. Breeding is moderately difficult.
R : If the Orange Chromide is keep in fresh water without any salt, their colors will fade, as will their appetites, and they will be subject to fungal infections. The Orange Chromide serves as a cleaner fish for the Banded Chromide. This fish is very sensitive to changes in water chemistry, thus try to perform very frequent, small water changes instead of occasional large ones. This timid fish needs retreats and hiding places in order to develop its attractive colors. There are two common color variations, the original orange strain, and a golden strain.
DC : 5. An attractive, but delicate species that is a good candidate for a peaceful, brackish-water community tank.

Green Chromide, Banded Chromide [
Etroplus suratensis
SYN : Chaetodon suratensis, Etroplus meleagris
PD : An oval-shaped fish with a pointed head. The coloration is olive green to greenish brown. The body is marked with six to eight transverse bars which may at times, be indistinct. Each scale has a golden spot and the fins are body-colored. The anal fins may have some blue iridescence. At spawning times, all the colors are enhanced, making the normal dull-coloring look more impressive.
SIZE : To 18" (46 cm) in nature, although not larger than 12" (30 cm) in aquaria.
SS : None
HAB : Southeastern Asia; lives in brackish water river estuaries and moves in schools between pure freshwater and sea water at different times during the year. India and Sri Lanka.
S: bottom, middle
TANK : A 45-55 gallon (170-209 L) or 40 (101 cm) is sufficient for fish under 8" (20 cm) in length. Adult fish need at tank of at least 56" (142 cm) or 75 gallons (285 L) to prosper. Use a substrate of coral sand or less ideally, fine gravel. The tank can be well-planted with large, robust plants, although this species is a known plant eater. Provide hiding places and retreats with large caves and wood. Leave open swimming areas.
WATER : pH 7-9 (8.0), 12-30 dH (20), 73-81°F (23-27°C). A 1 to 1.5% addition of sea salt is necessary. To obtain this dilution rate see suggestions under E. maculatus .
SB : A shoaling fish that should be kept in groups of at least 6 fish. In smaller schools, quarrels may break out. This fish may be more suitable to salt water community tanks than freshwater tanks. This fish can be kept with other brackish water species including E. maculatus . Pairs form monogamous bonds and later nuclear families.
SC : Monos, Archerfish, Scats, Anableps, Rainbowfish, Gobies.
FOOD : Live; Tubifex , crustaceans, insects; chopped meat; pellets; large flakes; oatmeal; plant matter; vegetables; spinach, peas, lettuce.
SEX: The only definite difference is the shape of the genital papilla which is visible at spawning times.
B : An open water spawner that lays up to 1000 eggs on a previously cleaned rock or in a cave. They hatch in 36 to 50 hours and are carefully guarded by the parents. The young are free-swimming after 7-8 more days. Start feeding with Artemia nauplii, roftiers, and dry foods. The young are susceptible to fungal infections if kept in freshwater, and are difficult to raise even in brackish water. Their coloring is different from that of the adults. They have a single transverse band around the mid-section. This band disappears, and for several weeks the fry are just silver. Eventually they develop the adult coloring.
BP : 8. Breeding is difficult.
R : Sexually mature from 6" (15 cm). This fish's colors are enhanced when they are kept in pure sea water.
DC : 6. A large fish that needs to be kept in brackish water.