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CICHLIDS



CICHLASOMA

AMPHILOPHUS GROUP

Midas Cichlid, Lemon Cichlid, Red Devil
"Cichlasoma" (Amphilophus) citrinellus
SYN: Cichlasoma basilare, Heros citrinellus, H. basilaris, Erythrichthys citrinellum
PD: An elongated, laterally compressed cichlid with a large cranial lump on the forehead. The mouth is slightly undercut and the lips are large. The caudal fin is fan shaped, while the dorsal fins comes to a point. The forehead is slightly concave and the eye is small. The coloring depends entirely on the geographical population of the fish. Commonly available colors include yellow, orange, orange-red, and white. Usually the entire body is one color.
SIZE: To 12" (30 cm)
SS: Red Devil (C. labiatum)
HAB: Central America; Southern Mexico, Nicaragua (lakes-Nicaragua, Managua, and Xiloa; Rio San Juan), Honduras, Costa Rica (Costa Rica River and Cuba River)
S: bottom, middle
TANK: A 48" (122 cm) tank with a capacity of 55 gallons (209 L) is sufficient for a specimen up to 8" (20 cm). Larger tanks are required for larger fish. The tank should be large with plenty of open swimming area. Provide plenty of hiding places with stones, cave, and roots. These structures must be stable for these fish dig and collapse is possible. Use plastic plants, if any at all.
WATER: pH 6-8 (7.0), 6-25 dH (10), 70-79F (21-26C).
SB: A territorial and pugnacious cichlid, especially around spawning times. The Midas Cichlid can be combined with medium to large sized cichlids. Mates form monogamous pairs and become fine parents. If the female is not ready to spawn, she may be bullied to death by the male.
SC: Cichlasomines, other South American cichlids, Loricarids, Pimelodids, large Characins, Hemichromis, Tilapia.
FOOD: Live; snails, fish, earthworms, insects; chopped meat; vegetables; spinach, peas, lettuce; pellets; tablets.
SEX: Males are larger and develop a characteristic bump on their forehead. Males have a pointed genital papilla.
B: Water chemistry is unimportant for the breeding of the Midas Cichlid. Use warmer water with a temperature from 75-82F (24-28C). As many as 1000 eggs are usually laid on a vertical surface (i.e. slate, pane of glass) or sometimes on rocks at the tank floor. The eggs are guarded by the female and the territory is defended by the male. The eggs hatch in 3 days and the young are moved to large, previously dug, pits where the parents continue their care. The fry can swim on their own after 5 days, at which time they can be fed small live foods. Occasionally the fry may adhere to the flanks of the parents in order to feed off a mucus sections produced by the skin of the parents.
BP: 6. The Midas Cichlid is not especially difficult to breed.
R: The color of a fish varies depending from where it originated. The Flowerhorn (Hualorhan, Luohan) is thought to have originated as a cross between A. citrinellus and A. trimaculatum.
DC: 6. The Midas Cichlid is an aggressive species which must be kept in a large tank.

Large Lipped Cichlid, Red Devil
"Cichlasoma" (Amphilophus) labiatum
SYN: Cichlasoma erythraeum, C. lobochilus, Heros labiatus
PD: An elongated, laterally compressed cichlid with a large cranial lump on the forehead. The mouth is slightly undercut and the lips are very large. The caudal fin is fan shaped, while the dorsal and anal fins comes to a point. The forehead is slightly concave and the eye is small. Juvenile fish are usually gray to gold in color with five to six faint cross-bands. The coloring of adult fish depends entirely on the geographical population of the fish. Commonly available colors include gray, yellow, orange, orange-red, and white. The body is usually a mix of colors. A pure red form exists, although it is seldom caught in nature or available to the hobby. Some populations have black markings.
SIZE: To 10" (25 cm)
SS: Midas Cichlid (C. citrinellum)
HAB: Central America; Lakes Managua, Nicaragua, and Xiloa in Nicaragua.
S: bottom, middle
TANK: A 48" (122 cm) tank with a capacity of 55 gallons (209 L) is necessary for adult fish. See suggestions under C. citrinellum.
WATER: pH 6-8 (7.0), 6-25 dH (12), 75-79F (24-26C).
SB: A territorial cichlid that is often very aggressive and belligerent. The Red Devil can not be combined with small fish as they will simply be treated as food. Combine this cichlid with other robust cichlids in a tank with lots of hiding places.
SC: Cichlasomines, other South American cichlids, Loricarids, Pimelodids, large Characins, Hemichromis, Tilapia.
FOOD: Live; snails, fish, earthworms, insects; chopped meat; vegetables; spinach, peas, lettuce; pellets; tablets.
SEX: Males are larger and have elongated anal and dorsal fins. The male also has a pointed genital papilla, while females have a rounded genital papilla
B: Use warmer water with a temperature from 77-82F (25-28C). Usually 600-700 amber-colored eggs, although as many as 7500, are laid on a vertical surface (i.e. slate, pane of glass) or sometimes on rocks at the tank floor. The eggs are guarded by the female and the territory is defended by the male. The eggs hatch in 3 days and the young are moved to large, previously dug, pits where the parents continue their care. The fry can swim on their own after five or six days, at which time they can be fed small live foods. Occasionally the fry may adhere to the flanks of the parents in order to feed off a mucus sections produced by the skin of the parents, similar to the behavior of C. citrinellum. The parental care quickly dissipates after the first week and the fry must be moved to a separate tank. The female should also be removed as the male will usually bully her.
BP: 6. The Red Devil is fairly easy to breed in a large tank.
R: Several color variations are available, including white, gold, yellow, orange, red, and mixes. Scientists have observed hybridization between C. labiatum and C. citrinellum. It is thought that the reason for hybridization is the cause of the lack of partners for C. labiatum in small lakes. Thus the only way to reproduce is to spawn with similar-looking species where hybridization is possible. C. altifrons, C. macracanthus, and C. robertsoni are other cichlids in the Amphilophus group. The fish of the Amphilophus group are characterized by living close to the substrate and filtering detritus in search for food.
DC: 6. A hardy, yet pugnacious cichlid that requires occasional live foods.

Long fin Cichlid
"Cichlasoma"(Amphilophus) longimanus
SYN: Astronotus longimanus, Astatheros longimanus
PD: A cichlid very similar in body shape to the Firemouth Cichlid. The steep forehead gives the fish an oval-shape, not including the caudal fin or the peduncle. The back is gray with seven to nine short bars, that extend from the top of the back to the lower part of the back. The first bar extends from the eye to the forehead while the last ends near the end of the base of the dorsal fin. The mid-section of the body is marked with four to five splotches that form a broken marking that extends from the gill cover to the middle of the fish. Just above, behind, and below this marking is an iridescent green area. This green color quickly becomes golden and then orange and finally leads to a bright red belly. The lower part of the head is bright yellow to gold. The iris of the eye is bright red. The fins have turquoise spots and stripes, while the dorsal fin includes a red edge.
SIZE: To 7" (18 cm)
SS: C. aureum, C. ellioti, C. helleri, C. pasionis, Firemouth (T. meeki)
HAB: Above muddy or sandy riverbeds, in fast moving sections of the Rio Choluteca, on the Southwestern border of Honduras and Nicaragua.
S: bottom, middle
TANK: A tank measuring 48" (122 cm) with a capacity of 50 gallons (190 L) is fine for adult fish. The tank should have a sandy or fine gravel bottom, preferably sandy. Provide hiding places with rocky areas, caves, and roots. Have open swimming areas. Use hardy, well-rooted plants because these fish often burrow.
WATER: pH 6.7-7.7 (7.0), dH 2-15 (5), 77-84F (25-29C).
SB: An aggressive, territorial fish that is usually peaceful when kept with other cichlids. The Long fin Cichlid will pick on smaller fish (Tetras). Pairs form rather easily and later form nuclear families.
SC: Cichlasomines, other South American cichlids, Loricarids, Pimelodids, large Characins, Hemichromis, Tilapia.
FOOD: Live; insects, insect larvae, worms, crustaceans; pellets; tablets; flakes.
SEX: Male is larger. Females are generally darker colored and display better colors during the spawning season. Males have a pointed genital papilla.
B: Use a separate breeding tank with a pH from 6.7-7.2, a water hardness from 2-8 dH, and a temperature from 79-84F (26-29C). Up to 800 eggs are laid on previously cleaned rocks. The pair make excellent parents and carefully guard both the eggs and the fry. The fry hatch after 2-3 days, and are free-swimming in 6-7 further days. Start feeding with white worms, Artemia, and dry foods.
BP: 6. Breeding is fairly easy.
R: Several different populations are known to exist. Besides the race mentioned above, there is one from the Northern part of Costa Rica that grows to 9" (23 cm), and another from Lake Managua and Lake Nicaragua that reaches 5" (13 cm). These other races are less colorful from the population of Honduras. This fish's scientific name means "long hands," describing its elongated pelvic fins.
DC: 5. This fish requires live food and is not suitable for a "typical" community tank because of its aggressiveness.


ARCHOCENTRUS GROUP

Convict Cichlid, Zebra Cichlid [picture]
"Cichlasoma" (Archocentrus) nigrofasciatum
SYN: Astronotus nigrofaciatus, Heros nigrofasciatum
PD: A moderately elongated, laterally compressed cichlid with an oval body shape. Eight or nine transverse bars mark the body. These are sometimes broken. The body color is white to very light gray. The dorsal fin may be yellow to iridescent green, and the other fins can have a green tint. The head is slight gray. The belly may have orange or pink scales.
SIZE: Males to 6" (15 cm), females to 5" (12 cm)
SS: C. spilurum
HAB: The Convict Cichlid comes from a number of varied biotopes. Central America; from Lake Atitlan and Lake Amatitlan in Guatemala south to Panama.
S: bottom, middle
TANK: 30" (76 cm) with a volume of 20-25 gallons (57-98 L) is sufficient for a pair. Use a cover of floating plants and provide plenty of hiding places with over-turned flower pots, driftwood, roots, caves, and rocks. This cichlid eats plants and burrows in the gravel.
WATER: pH 6.5-8.8 (7.0), dH 4-20 (10), 68-81F (20-27C)
SB: An aggressive fish despite its size. It is best not to keep an unstable pair in solitude, for the weaker of the mates likely be killed. Try raising a group of fish from youth to get the best pairings. Combine with other similarly sized cichlids. The pairs form nuclear families. The Convict Cichlid is not well suited for the "typical" community tank containing tetras and livebearers.
SC: Cichlasomines, other South American cichlids, Loricarids, Pimelodids, large Characins, Hemichromis, Tilapia.
FOOD: Algae; live; worms, insets, insect larvae, crustaceans; pellet; flake; plant matter; vegetables; chopped meat.
SEX: The males are generally larger, have larger fins, and a steeper forehead. Females are usually more colorful especially during the spawning season when she develops a yellow-orange underside which serves to attract the brood. Males have a pointed genital papilla.
B: A compatible pair is easy to breed. Spawning conditions can be easily brought about by the feeding of Brine Shrimp and bloodworms. Spawning takes place in a cave or on a previously cleaned, flat rock. The eggs are guarded by both parents. The fry are free-swimming 6-8 days after hatching. The parents continue brood care for 3-4 weeks, although commercially bred parents are less protective of their free-swimming fry. Start feeding with microworms, Artemia nauplii, and fine grade dry food.
BP: 4. Breeding is easy and usually inevitable in a tank with several males and females.
R: Most fish now available are captive bred and successive generations have lost their natural coloring. Try to find wild-caught pair. The color of a fish varies according to its geographical population. Four color variants are now commonly available: An "albino" form, a pink strain, a gold variation, and a bizarre multicolored morph. Other species in the Archocentrus group include C. sajica, C. septemfaciatum, C. spilurum, and C. spinosissimus.
DC: 4. This fish should occasionally be fed live foods. The Convict Cichlid is an aggressive fish.


HENRICHTHYS GROUP

Pearlscale Cichlid
"Cichlasoma" (Henrichthys) carpinte
SYN: Cichlasoma carpintis
PD: An oval-shaped, laterally compressed cichlid with a slightly concave forehead. A small hump develops with age on the top of the head. At spawning times, the body color is black with bright turquoise spots covering the body and fins. The usual body coloring is brown to dark gray. The iris of the eye may develop a deep red color in well-maintained water. The caudal fin is fan-shaped.
SIZE: To 12" (30 cm) in nature, although not usually more than 8" in aquaria.
SS: Texas Cichlid (C. cyanoguttatum), Minckley's Cichlid (C. minckleyi), C. pantostictum, Jack Dempsy (C. octofasciatum)
HAB: Central America; in the Rio Panuco Basin on the Atlantic slope of Northern Mexico.
S: bottom, middle
TANK: A 48" (122 cm) tank with a capacity of 55 gallons (209 L). Provide shelter with roots, caves, and rocky areas. Allow open swimming areas for swimming. Only use large, robust plants, for this fish burrows.
WATER: pH 6.7-8.5 (7.0), dH 8-25 (12), 73-82F (23-28C).
SB: An intolerant, territorial fish that will eat small fish. Try combining with other large cichlids. This species will be particularly aggressive towards its own and similar species. Pairs form monogamous bonds and later nuclear families.
SC: Cichlasomines, other South American cichlids, Loricarids, Pimelodids, large Characins, Hemichromis, Tilapia.
FOOD: Live; fish, Tubifex, earthworms, insects; vegetables; lettuce, spinach, peas; plants matter; large flakes; pellets; tablets.
SEX: Females are smaller and males develop a large bump on their forehead with age. Males have a pointed genital papilla.
B: Similar to the spawning procedure of C. cyanoguttatum.
BP: 7. Breeding is moderately difficult.
R: Known as the Texas Cichlid to European hobbyists. Some ichthyologists suggest that the name, Henrichthys replace the orphaned Cichlasoma genus name for Central American cichlids. H. pearsei is another cichlid of the Henrichthys group.
DC: 6. This cichlid is highly aggressive and should be combined cautiously with other fish.

Texas Cichlid, Rio Grand Cichlid [picture]
"Cichlasoma" (Henrichthys) cyanoguttatum
SYN: Heros cyanoguttatus, H. temporalis, Neetroplus carpintis
PD: An oval-shaped, laterally compressed cichlid with a slightly concave forehead, and an arched back. A small hump develops with age on the top of the head. The anal and dorsal fins come to a point. The body color is gold to dark brown with many gold to turquoise spots on every scale covering the entire body. These spots become turquoise to purple on the fins. The belly base coloration is usually redder in color. The iris of the eye may develop an orange-red color in well-maintained water. A black spot is located at the base of the caudal fin and often three to five splotches runs from the mid-section to the base of the caudal peduncle.
SIZE: To 12" (30 cm) in nature, although not usually more than 8" in aquaria.
SS: Pearlscale Cichlid (C. carpinte), Minckley's Cichlid (C. minckleyi), C. pantostictum, Jack Dempsy (C. octofasciatum)
HAB: Central America; in the Rio Grande, Rio Pecos, Rio Conchus in Mexico
S: bottom, middle
TANK: A 48" (122 cm) tank with a capacity of 55 gallons (209 L). Leave large open swimming areas. The substrate should be fine gravel or preferably, sand. Build rock and wood structures to serve as retreats and hiding places. Some robust plants can be used and a cover of floating plants is suggested. Provide strong aeration.
WATER: pH 6.7-8.5 (7.2), dH 6-25 (12), 68-75F (20-25C).
SB: An intolerant, territorial fish that will eat small fish. A good fish for a community tank containing other robust Central American Cichlid. Pair form nuclear families.
SC: Cichlasomines, other South American cichlids, Loricarids, Pimelodids, large Characins, Hemichromis, Tilapia.
FOOD: Live; fish, Tubifex, earthworms, insects; vegetables; lettuce, spinach, peas; plants matter; chopped meat; large flakes; pellets; tablets.
SEX: Males, with age, develop a large bump on their forehead and are brighter colored. Males have a pointed genital papilla.
B: Use a tank with a pH from 6.8-7.2, a water hardness from 8-15 dH, and a temperature from 75-82F (24-28C). Spawning pairs are dark in the rear part of the body and light in the frontal region. These colors indicate that the pair is ready to spawn. The male defends the spawning site, while the female prepares it. As many as 500 eggs are laid on a previously cleaned stone. Both parents guard and clean the eggs, although the female does the bulk of the work. The female digs pit where the fry are to be moved. The eggs hatch in 5-7 days and are free-swimming several days later. Start feeding with Artemia, white worms, and dry foods. The parents are often lax in their care for the fry.
BP: 6. The Texas Cichlid is not difficult to breed.
R: The Texas Cichlid is the only native cichlid to the United States. Make frequent water changes as this species is sensitive to old water. During the winter, this species can tolerate a temperature of 59F (15C) for short periods of time.
DC: 6. This cichlid needs frequent partial water changes in order to prosper. The Texas Cichlid is an aggressive fish that it well-known for its tendency to up-root plants.


NANDOPSIS GROUP

Friedrichsthali
"Cichlasoma" (Nandopsis) friedrichsthalii
SYN: Astronotus friedrichsthalii, Cichlasoma multifasciata, Parapetenia friedrichsthalii, P. multifasciata
PD: An elongated, laterally compressed cichlid with a large, fan-shaped caudal fin. The mouth is slightly up-turned toward the water surface. Many different color variations are known but two are commonly seen. The first has a bright yellow body color with 10-12 black, lateral stripes. The upper parts of the back are dark yellow as is the forehead. The eye is dark. The fins have a yellow tint. Various black spots are found sparingly on the head. The other common morph has pointed anal and dorsal fins along with a gray-yellow back. The body is marked with a series of large black splotches that form a band running from the eye, back to the caudal fin. Below this marking the body is yellow as is the lower jaw. An elongated blotch followed by a spot runs from the eye to the bottom of the gill cover. The fins have a yellow tint and a turquoise edge. These descriptions are based on a female's or young male's coloring.
SIZE: To 10" (25 cm)
SS: C. dovii, C. lyonsi, C. mortaguense
HAB: Central America; found in numerous biotopes from Mexico to Costa Rica
S: bottom, middle
TANK: 48" (122 cm) or 55 gallons (209 L). The tank should be provided with a great deal of hiding places (roots, caves, rocks). Well-rooted, hardy plants can be used as the Friedrichsthali burrows, but will not eat plants.
WATER: pH 6.5-8 (7.0), dH 2-25 (10), 72-82F (22-28C).
SB: The Friedrichsthali is a highly aggressive, intolerant cichlid. It is extremely pugnacious and should only be combined with other large, aggressive fish. Pairs are excellent parents and form strong nuclear families.
SC: Cichlasomines, other South American cichlids, Loricarids, Pimelodids, large Characins, Hemichromis, Tilapia.
FOOD: Live; fish, earthworms, insect larvae, insects; pellets, tablets; chopped meat
SEX: Males are larger and darker in overall color with a base color ranging from gold to blue. The female has a base color of bright yellow. Males have a pointed genital papilla.
B: Use slightly warmer water with a temperature from 75-82F (24-28C). Up to 400 eggs are laid on previously cleaned, smooth stones and rocks. The eggs are guarded by the female, while the male guards the territory. The eggs hatch after 2-3 days and the fry are transferred to previously dug pits. They are free-swimming after 5 days, and can be fed Artemia, Cyclops, and fine-grade dry foods.
BP: 7. The Friedrichsthali is a fairly difficult fish to breed.
R: The colors of this fish vary greatly on the population where the fish originated. Other fish belonging to the Nandopsis group are C. bartoni, C. beani, C. dovii, C. grammodes, C. haitiensis, C. loisellei, C. mortaguense, C. steindachneri, C. tetracanthus, C. trimaculatus, and C. umbriferum.
DC: 6. A hardy, but highly aggressive fish that need to be fed live foods regularly.

Managuense, Jaguar Cichlid, Managua Cichlid [picture]
"Cichlasoma" (Nandopsis) managuense
SYN: Heros managuense
PD: An elongated cichlid with an up-turned mouth. The most common color type has a pinkish-gray to beige background, base coloration. The body is covered with black spots and splotches. These are very irregular and no two fish have the same pattern. On the fins, this pattern continues. The iris of the eye is bright red.
SIZE: Males to 20" (50 cm), females to 16" (40 cm); not usually larger than 14" (35 cm) in captivity.
SS: C. mortaguense
HAB: Found in still to slow-moving water. Central America: Lake Managua, Lake Nicaragua in Nicaragua; to Southern Costa Rica and Southern Honduras.
S: bottom
TANK: 36" (91 cm) or 45 gallons (170 L) is sufficient for young individuals up to 8" (20 cm). However, this fish can grow up to 12" (30 cm) its first year, and should be moved to a 72" (183 cm) or 100 gallon (378 L) tank. The tank should have open swimming areas, and be supplied with hiding places of rocks, roots, and wood. These fish burrow and uproot plants. Use potted or plastic plants.
WATER: pH 7-8.5 (7.2), dH 5-18 (8), 73-79F (23-26C)
SB: A territorial fish that is an active predator. The Managuense is intolerant of its own species. Combine with other large, robust fish, especially cichlids. Pairs form nuclear families and are fine parents.
SC: Cichlasomines, other South American cichlids, Loricarids, Pimelodids, large Characins, Hemichromis, Tilapia.
FOOD: Live; fish, earthworms; raw meat; pellets; large flakes; tablets
SEX: The larger and more colorful males have pointed anal and dorsal fins. Males have a pointed genital papilla.
B: Some report breeding as difficult while others consider it fairly easy. In any case, up to 5000 yellow eggs are laid on a surface. The male guards the eggs and the fry very aggressively. The young grow quickly if fed live foods (Daphnia, Artemia). The pair often will break up after spawning and look for another mate.
BP: 7. Breeding the Managuense is fairly difficult because of the size the fish reach.
R: The Managuense is a major food fish and can often be found in local fish markets in its native lands. Different color populations based on geographical location exist.
DC: 6. The Managuense grows to a very large size. It must be regularly fed live foods to keep it from picking on smaller tank mates.

Jack Dempsy
"Cichlasoma" (Nandopsis) octofasciatum [picture]
SYN: Cichlasoma bifasciatum, C. biocellatum, C. hedricki, Heros octofasciatum
PD: An elongated, laterally compressed cichlid. The background coloring is brown to black depending on the mood, condition, and population of the fish. Each scale is marked with a bright spot that depending on the light and water conditions can be gold to dark blue in color. Under these markings sometimes black stripes can be seen. The fins retain the same coloration and the edge of the male's dorsal fin is red.
SIZE: To 8" (20 cm)
SS: Pearlscale Cichlid (Cichlasoma carpinte), Minkley's Cichlid (C. minckleyi)
HAB: In slow-moving water in swamps, bogs, and ponds. Central America; Guatemala, Belize, Yucatan, Honduras
S: bottom, middle
TANK: A 48" (122 cm) with a volume of 55 gallons (209 L). Have a fine gravel or sand bottom. Provide hiding places with roots, caves, and rocks. Use partial cover of floating plants. The Jack Dempsy may uproot plants, thus if plants are desired, use hardy, well-rooted or plastic ones. Supply a good aeration system.
WATER: pH 6.5-8.5 (7.0), 2-18 dH (6), 72-82F (22-28C)
SB: A territorial fish that is intolerant of other fish. They pair easily, form nuclear families, and are excellent parents. Combine with other large, hardy cichlids that can fend for themselves.
SC: Cichlasomines, other South American cichlids, Loricarids, Pimelodids, large Characins, Hemichromis, Tilapia.
FOOD: Live; crickets, cockroaches, beetles, fish, earthworms, snails, aquatic insects, crustaceans, insect larvae; pellets; plants; vegetables; spinach, peas, lettuce; chopped meat.
SEX: The male has pointed anal and dorsal fins, and the upper edge of its dorsal fin is dark red. Males have a pointed genital papilla.
B: Breeding is fairly easy in a tank with slightly acidic water (6.5-6.8 pH), a hardness of 6-12 dH, and an increased temperature of 82-84F (28-29C). Spawning takes place near the bottom. Eggs are laid in the open on previously cleaned rocks. Both parents carefully guard the 500-800 eggs. The fry are kept in pits and are continuously watched by both parents. Start feeding with small live foods like Brine Shrimp. The young should be removed when the parents lose interest in protecting them-usually about the time when the young begin to develop stripes.
BP: 6. Breeding is not especially difficult if a compatible pair is found.
R: This fish was named after the heavyweight boxing champion for its pugnacious behavior. To keep the Jack Dempsy in good condition, partial water changes must be performed monthly.
DC: 5. An aggressive cichlid which is quite hardy.

Salvini, Salvin's Cichlid, Tricolor Cichlid
"Cichlasoma" (Nandopsis) salvini [picture]
SYN: Heros salvini, H. triagramma
PD: An elongated cichlid with a pointed head. The caudal fin is fan-shaped and the anal and dorsal fins of the male come to a point. The head is bright yellow in color with some fine turquoise lines located about the lower jaw. The back is darker yellow with some turquoise-tipped scales. A set of wide splotches form a broken line that extends from the tip of the snout, through the eye, and back to the caudal fin. Paralleling this, but located above is another broken band that runs from the top of the forehead, back. Three slender black stripes runs parallel to the mouth but are located farther up on the forehead. The belly is bright red as is the anal fin. The caudal fin is yellow with the bottom rays also having a red color. The dorsal and the pelvic fins are red with a turquoise edge.
SIZE: Male to 6" (15 cm), female to 4" (10 cm)
SS: None
HAB: Still and slow-moving water with heavy vegetation. Central America; Southern Mexico south to Honduras.
S: bottom, middle
TANK: A tank of 48" (122 cm) with a capacity of 50 gallons (190 L) is ample for adult fish. Provide plenty of hiding places and shelters, such as plants thickets, roots, rocks, and caves. Leave open swimming areas. Use a substrate of fine gravel or sand.
WATER: pH 6.8-8.5 (7.0), dH 6-25 (10), 72-88F (22-31C)
SB: A territorial fish that can be kept in a tank with other hardy, medium-sized cichlids and catfish. The Salvini will not uproot plants. This fish forms a nuclear family and is an excellent parent. Around spawning times, this fish becomes extremely pugnacious and territorial. It is advisable to remove the other fish if the bullying becomes too much.
SC: Cichlasomines, other South American cichlids, Loricarids, Pimelodids, large Characins, Hemichromis, Tilapia.
FOOD: Live; Brine Shrimp, insect larvae-especially bloodworms, insects, aquatic insects, small fish, earthworms, Tubifex; pellets; large flakes; tablets. The Salvini must be fed a variety of live foods especially bloodworms and Brine Shrimp to develop their beautiful colors.
SEX: Males are larger, with pointed anal and dorsal fins, and are more colorful. Males have a pointed genital papilla.
B: Fish need time to pair. Once a pair bonds, spawning comes fairly easy. Use medium (10 dH), neutral water (7.0), with a water temperature of 79-86F (26-30C). Up to 1000 eggs, usually about 500, are laid on a previously cleaned vertical surface or rock. Both parents guard the eggs and the fry. The fry should not be separated from the parents for as they usually do poorly without them. Start feeding with Artemia.
BP: 6. Spawning comes easily once a compatible pair is found.
R: Now most of the Salvini available are captive bred, and are not as stunning as wild caught individuals. A wild-caught specimen's color, pattern, and size greatly depends on where the individual is from. The Salvini has been found in water with temperatures exceeding 97F (36C).
DC: 5. A hardy, but aggressive fish that requires a varied diet in order to develop its stunning colors.


THERAPS GROUP

Red-spotted Cichlid
"Cichlasoma" (Theraps) bifasciatum
SYN: Astronotus bifasciatum, Cichlasoma bifasciatus
PD: A high-back cichlid with an oval body shape. A large cranial hump develops on the forehead of older fish. The mouth is very small when compared to the overall body size. The caudal fin is fan-shaped. The body is copper colored with black speckled markings around the center of the body. Just below the black area, there is a large amount of green speckles. Just behind the black area are orange speckles. The head to just behind the gill cover is red as is the belly and the upper back. The iris of the eye may develop a bright yellow-green color when good water conditions are maintained. The fins are spotted with black dots and copper in color. This copper color gives way to a violet color, and finally to a red edge.
SIZE: To 10" (25 cm)
SS: Cichlasoma melanurum
HAB: Central America; in the Rio Usumacinta Basin in Mexico, Guatemala.
S: bottom, middle
TANK: A 48" (122 cm) tank with a capacity of 55 gallons (209 L) is recommended. Young individuals can be kept in smaller tanks measuring 48" (122 cm) with a volume of 45 gallons (170 L). Provide many hiding places with roots, caves, wood, and rocks. Plants will be eaten, so use plastic plants if they are desired.
WATER: pH 6.5-7.5 (7.0), dH 2-15 (6), 72-82F (22-28C)
SB: A territorial fish that is aggressive towards others. The Red-spotted Cichlid can be combined with other robust cichlids and catfish. The parents form nuclear families and make excellent parents.
SC: Cichlasomines, other South American cichlids, Loricarids, Pimelodids, large Characins, Hemichromis, Tilapia.
FOOD: Live; fish, Tubifex, earthworms, insects; vegetables; lettuce, spinach, peas; plants matter; large flakes; pellets; tablets.
SEX: Difficult to distinguish except during spawning season. Males are slightly larger with somewhat duller colors. Males have a pointed genital papilla.
B: Use warmer water with a temperature from 77-82F (25-28C). The water chemistry should have values between those mentioned above. Up to 500 eggs are laid on a previously cleaned surface. The parents guard the eggs, which hatch in 3-4 days. The larvae are moved to pits where the parents continue to watch over them. The young are free-swimming after 5 days and can be fed on fine-grade dry foods and Artemia.
BP: 7. The Red-spotted Cichlid is fairly difficult to breed.
R: The Red-spotted Cichlid is a vegetarian by nature and will eat plants. Other fish in the Theraps group are C. coeruleus, C. fenestratus, C. godmanni, C. guttulatus, C. hartwegi, C. intermedium, C. irregulare, C. lentiginosum, and C. regani.
DC: 5. The Red-spotted Cichlid is not difficult to care for. It is fairly hardy and aggressive. This large fish's diet should be varied.

Black Belt Cichlid
"Cichlasoma" (Theraps) maculicauda
SYN: Astatheros maculicauda, Astronotus parma, Chuco globosum, C. manana, Cichlasoma globosum, C. manana, C. nigritum, C. parma, Heros parma
PD: This cichlid has an oval-shaped, laterally compressed body. The head is rounded and the caudal fin is fan-shaped. The anal and dorsal fins come to a point. The base body color is white to dark gray with a characteristic wide, transverse black band that is located around the mid-section of the body. Sometimes the band may be broken, while at other times the band runs unbroken from the tip of the mid rays of the dorsal fin, down to the belly. The throat to the lips is bright red as is the caudal fin. Depending on the color variation, a portion of the scales may be spotted. A black area encircles the eye and often includes the iris. The anal and dorsal fins have black spots, and the last rays are red. In some variations the rays leading up to the red parts are yellow and green before becoming red. Some variations have a short, broad, lateral marking on the caudal peduncle. Older fish, especially males, develop a hump on their forehead.
SIZE: To 12" (30 cm)
SS: None
HAB: Central America; from Southern Mexico south to the Panama Canal. Found on the Atlantic slope of Central America.
S: bottom, middle
TANK: A 48" (122 cm) tank is needed to keep adult fish. This 55 gallon (209 L) tank should have large hiding places provided. These can be rocks, caves, wood, roots, or a large over-turned flowerpot. Leave open swimming areas. Plants can not be used as these fish are herbivores by nature.
WATER: pH 6.5-8 (7.0), 4-15 dH (6), 72-82F (22-28C)
SB: An aggressive and territorial species that can be combined with other large Central American cichlid species. The parents become even more aggressive when caring for the young. The pair form nuclear families and are excellent parents. Try to obtain a compatible pair by the pairing off method.
SC: Cichlasomines, other South American cichlids, Loricarids, Pimelodids, large Characins, Hemichromis, Tilapia.
FOOD: Vegetables; peas, lettuce, spinach; live; fish, earthworms, insects, Tubifex; large flakes, pellets; tablets.
SEX: The male is larger, with more intense colors, and with age develop a hump on their forehead. Males have a pointed genital papilla.
B: Use water with a temperature from 75-82F (24-28C), a pH from 6.7-7.5, and a water hardness from 4-10 dH. 500-600 eggs are laid on a flat stone or rock . The eggs are aggressively protected and cleaned by the pair. The fry hatch in two to three days and are moved to previously dug pits. The fry remain in these pits until they are free-swimming 6-7 days later. Start feeding with Artemia and dry foods.
BP: 7. Breeding is moderately difficult.
R: Because of the Black Belt's wide distribution, several color variations exist, thus leading the number of synonyms.
DC: 5. A hardy, but aggressive cichlid.

Nicaragua Cichlid, Nicaraguense, Spilotum
"Cichlasoma" (Theraps) nicaraguensis
SYN: Cichlasoma balteatum, C. nicaraguense, C. spilotum, Heros nicaraguensis
PD: An elongated, oval-shaped, laterally compressed cichlid. The head is rounded and the mouth is small. The caudal fin is fan-shaped and the pectoral fins are large. The eye is golden yellow to amber. Juvenile fish are gray to brown in color with a black lateral line that extends from the eye to the caudal fin. The adult coloration depends entirely on the geographic population of the fish. Two common color morphs are from Nicaragua and Costa Rica. The Nicaragua morph has a golden body color with a beige head. The parts below the gill cover to the middle part of the belly are a delicate lavender. The female has a black lateral stripe that extends from just behind the eye, back to the caudal fin. This stripe is absent or barely detectable in the male, often the only trace being a black spot located near the fish's mid-section. The morph from northern Costa Rica has a pastel blue-green colored head and back with a lavender region below the gill cover. The light green back gives way to lavender hues before reaching the lateral stripe. This purple lateral stripe extends from behind the eye and back to the caudal fin. The belly is a light gold color. The fins are quite colorful. The base of the dorsal fin is yellow becoming green, the turquoise on the edge. The rear tip of this fin is red in color. The others fins are similarly colored. The male has a bright green head and a bright yellow back. A black lateral stripe from behind the eye to the caudal fin. Below this stripe, the body is orange-red. The dorsal fin is yellow with the last few rays being green. The dorsal and pelvic fins are lavender.
SIZE: Males to 10" (25 cm), females to 8" (20 cm)
SS: C. septemfasciatus
HAB: Still and slow-moving water with rocky areas. Central America; Nicaragua (Lake Nicaragua, Lake Managua) and Costa Rica (Rio San Juan basin)
S: bottom
TANK: 48" (122 cm) with a capacity of 50 gallons (190 L) is required for adult fish. Provide hiding places with roots, caves, rocks, and wood. Use fine gravel or preferably, sand, as a substrate. Hardy, well-rooted plants can be used, since this fish usually does not eat them.
WATER: pH 6.7-8 (7.0), 4-20 dH (10), 73-81F (23-27C).
SB: A territorial, but relatively peaceful fish. Combine with other Cichlasoma species. Fish defending eggs or fry will become aggressive. Pairs form a patriarch-matriarch family and are fine parents.
SC: Cichlasomines, other South American cichlids, Loricarids, Pimelodids, large Characins, Hemichromis, Tilapia.
FOOD: Live; fish, insect larvae, shrimp, snails, earthworms; pellets; flake; vegetables; raw meat; mussels.
SEX: Males grow larger and develop a small hump. Females usually have more color. Males have a pointed genital papilla.
B: The problems that arrive with spawning C. nicaraguensis usually deal with the incompatibility of a pair. Once this obstacle is overcome, breeding comes fairly easily. Use water with a temperature from 79-82F (26-28C). The pair digs a large pit, using their mouths, under a rock or in a cave. The eggs are laid in the pit. They are not adhesive, but rest on the substrate in the pit. Usually only 20-50% of the eggs laid will hatch, although if the male is not fully mature, a smaller percent yield can be expected. The eggs hatch in 3 days, and the fry are free-swimming 4-5 days thereafter. Both parents participate in brood care; with the female fanning and guarding the eggs and fry, and the male guarding the territory. Start feeding with Artemia nauplii.
BP: 7. Breeding the Nicaragua Cichlid is not an easy task, because of the difficulty of finding a compatible pair.
R: Colors of this species vary greatly on its population. Many different color and pattern morphs are known. Wild-caught specimen have more striking colors than the commonly-available tank-bred fish. C. nicaraguensis has been successfully cross-bred with C. nigrofasciatum. The result is a rather interesting-looking, fertile hybrid.
DC: 4. Other than this cichlid's occasional aggressiveness, and requirement of supplements of live foods, it is easy to care for.

Quetzal Cichlid, Redheaded Cichlid, Firehead Cichlid
"Cichlasoma" (Paratheraps) synspilum
SYN: Cichlasoma hicklingi, C. synspilus
PD: An oval shaped fish, which develops are large hump on the top of the forehead. The head to just past the gill cover is red. This red area is followed by a white area, which is followed by a mix of green, gold, red, orange, and blue hues. The dorsal and caudal fins are also multicolored, although dominated by gold and orange colors. The anal and pelvic fins are dominated by green and blue colors.
SIZE: To 14" (36 cm)
SS: Hypselecara temporalis, Cichlasoma bifasciatum, Cichlasoma maculicauda
HAB: Found in muddy, slow-moving water. Central America; from the Rio Usumacinta Basin in Mexico and Guatemala to the Belize River in Belize.
S: bottom, middle
TANK: A tank of 48" (122 cm) with a capacity of 70 gallons (266 L) is necessary for adult fish because of their size. Preferably a longer tank can be used. Young individuals can be kept in smaller tanks. The bottom should be sand and fine gravel. Provide plenty of shelter and hiding places with driftwood, rocky areas, stone plates, and caves. Only use sturdy, well-rooted plants, for this fish has a habit of snacking on plants and burrowing in the substrate. Use dimmed light. Frequent water changes are necessary for this large cichlid to prosper. The Redheaded Cichlid does best with peat filtered water.
WATER: pH 6.8-8 (7.0), dH 2-15 (4), 75-82F (24-28C)
SB: A peaceful fish when kept with medium to large cichlids. However, among themselves, they are territorial and aggressive. Keep two as a pair.
FOOD: The Redheaded Cichlid needs a varied diet to develop its beautiful coloration. If fed the same foods, their colors will fade. Live; insect larvae-especially bloodworms, Brine Shrimp, larger crustaceans, insects, earthworms, Tubifex; pellets; vegetables; spinach, peas, lettuce; chopped meat.
SEX: Older males have a large hump on their forehead and have brighter colors. Males have a pointed genital papilla.
B: Breeding the Redheaded Cichlid is often difficult because of poor compatibility among pairs. The best way to prevent poor pairing is to acquire at least 6 fish when they are young. At 4" (10 cm), the fish begin to pair off. At that time, get rid of the other fish and keep only one pair. Up to 1200 eggs are laid on a previously cleaned substrate. The fry hatch in 2-3 days and are free-swimming after 4-5 more. Remove some of the fry as they often do poorly of they continue being raised by the parents. The parents protect and lead the young. Start feeding with Artemia nauplii, roftiers, and crushed flake foods.
BP: 8. A difficult fish to breed, mostly because of the troubles in pairing.
R: Fish that have grown up together usually form better pairs. Fights between pairs often lead to death of the weaker mate. Different color variations are known.
DC: 7. This fish needs a well-balanced diet with live food given on a regular basis.


THORICHTHYS GROUP

Firemouth Cichlid [picture]
"Cichlasoma"(Thorichthys) meeki
SYN: Cichlasoma meeki
PD: A tall, laterally compressed cichlid. The head is large and pointed. The anal and dorsal fins come to a point. The body color is light gray to dark slate gray and six to seven, often faint, transverse stripes mark the upper parts. A black spot can be found on the gill cover. The throat and breast are bight red as is the anal fins which also has some iridescent blue spots. The other fins have a red tint with the green to blue iridescent spots.
SIZE: To 6" (15 cm)
SS: C. longimanus, T. aureum, T. callolepis, T. ellioti, T. helleri
HAB: Shallow areas of lakes, springs, streams, and flooded areas, usually in slow-moving water. Central America; Southern Mexico, Honduras. The Firemouth has been found in underground water systems.
S: bottom
TANK: 20" (50 cm) or 10 gallons (38 L) is adequate for young individuals (under 3"), but adults should be kept in larger tanks, 36" (91 cm) or 40 gallons (151 L). Provide shelter with rocks, roots, and wood. Leave open swimming areas. The substrate should be fine gravel or preferably sand. Use hardy, well-rooted plants as this species will burrow.
WATER: pH 6.5-8.5 (7.0), dH 4-20 (10), 68-81F (20-27C).
SB: A relatively peaceful cichlid that can be kept in a community tank with other cichlids and even smaller fish. The Firemouth is territorial and will display its bright red gill covers to frighten other fish off. The Firemouth will eat small fish. The Firemouth is best kept in pairs. To acquire a compatible pair, place a group of young fish in a tank and allow them to pair up. Take the best looking, and most evenly matched pair and keep them. Two pairs can be kept in 55-gallon tank. During the spawning season, this fish becomes a menace to other tank mates. The Firemouth aggressively attacks any other fish that swim near the spawning site or brood. The pairs form a nuclear family and are excellent parents.
SC: Cichlasomines, other South American cichlids, Loricarids, Pimelodids, large Characins, Hemichromis, Tilapia.
FOOD: Live; insects, insect larvae, worms, crustaceans; flakes; plant matter; vegetables.
SEX: Males have more intense colors and have pointed anal and dorsal fins, while the female has a dark spot on its dorsal fin. Males have a pointed genital papilla.
B: An easily bred cichlid in neutral water, with a harness around 10, and a temperature of 77-82F (25-28C). The eggs, numbering as many as 500, are laid on previously cleaned rocks. There, the female fans the eggs while the male guards the territory. It is advisable to remove other fish, to keep the from being harmed by the male. The eggs hatch in 3-4 days and are taken to pits where both parents guard them. Start feeding with fine-grade dry food and Artemia. The pair may raise several broods yearly.
BP: 5. The Firemouth is an easy cichlid to breed.
R: Firemouths are nervous fish, so try to avoid sudden movement or noise. When frightened they may swim frantically around the tank, often injuring themselves in the process. They may even play dead. The Firemouth is one of the most popularly kept cichlids. Wild-caught specimen are much more beautiful than the plentiful tank bred fish from Southeast Asia. The Firemouth is sexually mature at 3" (8 cm).
DC: 4. The Firemouth is a hardy cichlid that is very aggressive during the spawning season.


OTHERS (NOT "CICHLASOMA" )

Rainbow Cichlid
Herotilapia multipinosa
SYN: Heros multipinosa
PD: The laterally compressed body is oval shaped. The coloring is generally gold with a black, lateral stripe that extends from just behind the eye to the caudal fin. In places this stripe may be broken. The rear, lower parts of the fish may be darker. The fins have a gold tint.
SIZE: To 6" (15 cm)
SS: None
HAB: In shallow, muddy shore areas of rivers with heavy vegetation. Central America; on Atlantic slope from Panama north to Honduras
S: bottom, middle
TANK: A 24" (61 cm) tank with a volume of 20 gallons (75 L) will do. Provide hiding places with rocks, heavily vegetated areas, roots, and wood. Only robust plants should be used. Use fine gravel as a substrate. Leave open swimming areas.
WATER: 6.5-7.5 pH (7.0), 4-15 dH (10), 75-84F (24-29C)
SB: A hardy, peaceful, but territorial fish. Combine with other fish ranging from live bearers to cichlids of comparable size. Pairs form nuclear families.
SC: Cichlasomines, Pimelodids, Loricarids, South American Cichlids, large, robust livebearers.
FOOD: Live; insect larvae, insects, worms, crustaceans; flakes; pellets; tablets.
SEX: A difficult fish to sex. Males are slightly larger with pointed anal and dorsal fins. Males may be more colorful and have a pointed genital papilla..
B: Use water with a pH around 7.0, a harness from 5-10 dH, and a warm temperature of 79-84F (26-29C). Open breeders, the eggs are laid on rocks or small cavities. The male guards the eggs and fans them. When the fry hatch in 2-3 days, they are moved to pits where the male continues to guard them. Occasionally the parents may eat the fry. This behavior can usually be attributed to a lack of room in the tank. Start feeding with crushed dry food and Artemia.
BP: 5. Breeding is easy.
R: Captive bred specimen have lost much of their coloration. This fish has the ability to rapidly change colors according to its mood. The rear and lower parts can change from whitish-gold to black. The Rainbow Cichlid belongs to a monotypic genus, meaning that it is the only fish included. This fish is sexually mature at 3" (8 cm).
DC: 4. A robust cichlid recommended for a community tank with other similarly-sized Central American Cichlids.



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