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CICHLIDS

By Rhett Butler

OTHER SOUTH AMERICAN CICHLID SPECIES
Besides the three groups mentioned above, their are many other South American Cichlids. Included in this book are fish of the gener A: Astronotus, Cichla, Cichlasoma, Crenicichla, Heros, Mesonauta, Pterophyllum, Symphysodon, and Uaru .


Oscar, Velvet Cichlid
[Pictures]
Astronotus ocellatus
SYN: Acara ocellatus, Cychla rubroocellata, Hydrogonus ocellatus, Lobotes ocellatus
PD: The body is moderately compressed and oval shaped. The caudal fin is rounded, while the anal and dorsal fins are often pointed. Several different color variations are available, although the common form is fairly uniform. Juvenile fish are gray to black in color with a pink marbled-ring pattern on the body. Adult fish have a olive back with black and orange lower parts. An obvious tail-spot can be seen near the caudal peduncle.
SIZE: To 14" (35 cm)
SS: Astronotus crasspinnis of Peru.
HAB: South America; wide distribution from the Orinoco River Basin to the Rio Paraguay.
S: bottom, middle
TANK: A tank measuring 30" (76 cm) with a capacity of 20-25 (75-98 L) gallons is sufficient for small individuals under 5" (13 cm) in length. Adult fish require a tank measuring at least 72" (183 cm) with a capacity of 100 gallons (378 L). The tank should have a deep substrate with some large rocks. Plants must be potted and robust with their stems and root protected with rocks. Arrange heaters so that they will not become unattached from the tank glass. The tank must have powerful filtration.
WATER: pH 6-8 (6.9), 4-20 dH (10), 72-79F (22-26C)
SB: A peaceful cichlid despite its large size. Many make the mistake of placing the Oscar in tanks with fish that are too aggressive. The Oscar should be combined in a large community aquarium with other similarly-sized companions. Pairs become aggressive while spawning and participating in brood care. Oscars will burrow in the substrate.
SC: Catfish (Loricarids, Pimelodids, Doradids), characins (Silver Dollars, Leporinus, Anostomus ), cichlids (Severum, some Cichlasomines), Arawana, Knifefish.
FOOD: Live; fish, earthworms, Tubifex, large insects, aquatic insects, large crustaceans; chopped meat; pellets; tablets; spinach. The Oscar is a greedy and messy eater.
SEX: Sexes are only distinguishable at spawning times when the female has a more obvious, rounded genital papilla.
B: Breeding usually only takes place in a very large tank (i.e. 150 gallon-568 L). The water must be kept clean and at a warm temperature of 79-86F (26-30C). Once a pair bonds, it may remain together for over ten years, spawning on a regular basis. As many as 2000 opaque, white eggs are laid on previously cleaned rocks. The eggs look like they have fungus, although the clear up after 24 hours. If the eggs do not clear up in this time, they probably do have fungus. Both parents participate in brood care. The eggs hatch after three to four days, and the larvae are moved to shallow pits. There the young remain until they are free-swimming six to seven days later. Sometimes the young may affix themselves to the flanks of the parents. Start feeding with roftiers, Artemia nauplii, and Cyclops nauplii. The young grow quickly and are large enough for sale at 1" (2.5 cm).
BP: 7. Breeding is moderately difficult partly because of the large tank required. The eggs are susceptible to fungus. Once a pair spawns successfully, regular spawnings can be expected.
R: Oscars are available in several colors do to selective breeding. Common pattern morphs available are the Tiger, Red, Albino, Jewel, and Veil-tail varieties. The Oscar has a wide distribution which has lead to the debate over different populations. Some of these populations are thought to be different species of Oscar, other than A. ocellatus . The Oscar creates large amounts of waste in the tank, thus it is important to perform frequent water changes. If the water is not maintained, the Oscars may become susceptible to hole-in-the-head disease. Occasionally wild-caught fish are imported, although these lack the colors of selectively-bred Oscars, and are more delicate. Oscars are well-known for their fondness of their keeper. After a few months, the Oscar can recognize its owner and without concern, take food right from the keeper's hand. A food fish in its native lands.
DC: 7. Care is moderately difficult because this carnivore reaches a large size and requires a good-sized tank. Do not buy this fish with intentions of keeping it in your 10-, even 20-gallon, tank.


Peacock Bass, Tucunar, Lukanani
[Pictures]
Cichla sp. affin ocellaris
SYN: Acharnes speciosus, Cichla argus, C. atabapensis, Crenicichla orinocensis, Cychla argus, C. trifasciata
PD: A cichlid with a sloping forehead and an elongated body. The back is silver-gray and marked with three, broad transverse stripes. The lower parts are yellow to gold, with a region marked with black splotches. Just below the yellow area is an orange-red region, which also parallels the white belly. The mouth is very large and faces towards the surface. The pelvic, anal, and caudal fins are orange-red, and the dorsal fin is black. An obvious, black eye-spot can be found on the caudal fin near the caudal peduncle.
SIZE: To 36" (91 cm) in nature, although rarely larger than 24" (61 cm) in aquaria.
SS: Cichla intermedia (Orinoco river in Venezuela), Cichla monoculus (Peruvian Amazon), Cichla orinocensis (Orinoco River in Venezuela), Cichla temensis.
HAB: Found in large rivers and lakes in the Guyanas, Venezuela, and Brazil. This fish inhabits the following river systems: Lower Amazon, Lower Orinoco, Tocantins, and Xingu.
S: bottom, middle
TANK: This species is not recommended for private aquaria. Fish over 12" (30 cm) in length should be kept in a 72" (183 cm) tank with a capacity of 125 gallons (472 L), although a 96" (244 cm) or 220 gallon (832 L) is preferable. Use large rocks and large, robust plants in the background to serve as hiding places. Cover the tank well-as this fish may take to the air when frightened. The filter should be able to handle the copious amounts of waste produced by this species.
WATER: pH 5.5-8 (7.1), 2-20 dH (8), 73-82F (23-28C)
SB: A large, predatory cichlid that is territorial towards others, especially of its own species. The Peacock Bass should only be kept with other large, robust fish. This fish is best kept in a species tank. This species will not damage plants. Pairs form nuclear families.
SC: Arawana, larger Cichlasomines, Crenicichla, larger Pimelodids and Loricarids, Pacus, Piranha.
FOOD: Live; fish, earthworms, Tubifex; chopped meat; tablets.
SEX: Males develop a hump when mature.
B: No reports of successful spawns in aquaria. In nature, as many as 10,000 eggs are laid in circular nest that are dug in the muddy shallows during the rainy season. The parents are excellent, caring for the young for four weeks, at which time they are 2" (5 cm), and the female is chased off by the male.
BP: 10. This fish has not been spawned in captivity.
R: Due to some recent reclassification of the various populations of C. ocellaris, there are now four separate species. Since imports come from all over, it is difficult to conclude which species one may have. This fish is not an aquarium fish, and never should have been considered one. This large cichlid is not particular about water value, although it is sensitive to ammonia and nitrites. The Peacock Bass is a messy eater who quickly pollutes the tank. Thus it is important to use strong filtration and make frequent partial water changes. The eye-spot on the caudal fin is believed to confuse piscivorous piranhas which try to nip at the tail fin. This popular angling species is said to be one of the strongest fighters around. The Peacock Bass is raised in ponds as a food fish.
DC: 8. This large fish, requiring a huge tank and live foods, is not an aquarium species.

Red Terror, Festa's Cichlid [Pictures]
"Cichlasoma" festae
SYN: Heros festae
PD: An elongated cichlid with a sloping forehead. The body color varies greatly depending on the sex and age of the fish. Adult males have a light green to iridescent green body with six to eight light blue to black, transverse stripes. The belly is rosy pink as is the throat. The dorsal fin is bright blue and the last few rays are violet. The anal and caudal fins are violet-pink in color, and the pelvic fin is sky blue. The colors may vary depending on the population. As if males were not colorful enough, females, in their spawning dress, are bright fire red. The body is marked with six to eight, transverse stripes. The fins are also bright red, and the dorsal fins has a large black spot. The front rays of the dorsal in are black. A black marking runs from the forehead to the eye. At non-breeding times, the female is still quite captivating with a sliver-red body color and red fins, with the alternating black stripes.
SIZE: Males to 20" (50 cm), females not larger than 12" (30 cm).
SS: " Cichlasoma" uropthalmus of Central America.
HAB: Found along shore areas of rivers. South America; Western Ecuador, on the Pacific slope.
S: bottom
TANK: For adult fish a tank greater than 48" (122 cm) is recommended. Young fish can be easily kept in a 48" (122 cm) tank with a capacity of 55 gallons (209 L), although with age, larger tanks are required. The tank should be large and roomy with open swimming areas. Provide plenty of hiding places with stable rock structures and caves. This fish dig and will uproot plants. Regular partial water changes must be performed every 2-3 weeks.
WATER: pH 6-8 (7.0), dH 2-18 (8), 77-84F (25-29C)
SB: An extremely pugnacious and territorial fish. The Red Terror can only be combined with other large, robust fish. The Red Terror can be combined in pairs. Incompatible pairings may end in the death of the weaker of the fish. To avoid this problem, raise a group of juveniles until a strong pair forms. Nuclear family.
SC: Larger Cichlasomines ( C. labiatum, C. managuense, C. octofasciatus, C. cyanoguttatus, ect), Crenicichla, Cichla species, Arawana, Pimelodids, Loricarids, Piranha, Silver Dollars.
FOOD: Live; earthworms, fish, crickets, other large insects, shrimp, snails; pellets; tablets; chopped meat
SEX: Males are larger. Females retain the juvenile coloring of a bright red body color with alternating black bands. Sexual dichromatism occurs at 4-5" (10-13 cm).
B: This cichlid is a crave brooder and lays its egg in caves and in sheltered areas. Several large pits are dug in the gravel before the eggs are laid. Up to 3000 eggs, that are larger than most other "Cichlasoma" eggs are laid. The female cares and guards the eggs while the male guards the territory. After 3 days, the eggs begin to hatch. The young are aided by the father, who pulls the egg shells off of them. The fry are then transferred by the female to the large, previously-dug pits. After 5-6 days, the young can swim on their own, although the parents still guard them carefully. Start feeding with Artemia nauplii, water fleas, fine dry food, and Cyclops.
BP: 7. The Red Terror is a fairly difficult fish to breed because its size and problems with pairings.
R: If the tank is not large enough, the Red Terror will stop growing.
DC: 7. The Red Terror is a hardy, but aggressive cichlid whose diet must be supplemented with live foods. The magnificent Red Terror need a large tank because of the size that it can attain.

Port Acara, Black Acara [Pictures]
Cichlasoma portalegrense
SYN: Acara minuta, A. portalegrensis, Aequidens portalegrensis
PD: An oval shaped cichlid with a deep body. The body of males is greenish-gray, while females tend to have red and brown hues. The scales may have a blue-green iridescence in reflected light. A broad, lateral band extends from the eye to the caudal fin. The anal, caudal, and dorsal fins are blue-gray to green gray with iridescent spots. At spawning times, the body is almost black.
SIZE: To 10" (25 cm), although usually not more than 8" (20 cm)
SS: Black Belt Cichlid ( C. bimaculatum), Flag Cichlid ( Laetacara curviceps)
HAB: South America; Rio de la Plata in Southern Brazil, Bolivia, and Paraguay
S: bottom
TANK: A tank measuring 36" (91 cm) or 40 gallons (151 L) is adequate for adult fish. The Port Acara has a tendency to burrow so potted or strongly rooted plants should be used. A cover of floating plants is recommended as is a gravel substrate. Leave open swimming areas and provide some rocks, wood, and roots for hiding.
WATER: pH 6-8 (7.0), 2-18 dH (8), 61-73F (16-23C)
SB: A territorial, but peaceful fish that can be combined in a community tank with other Acaras, catfish, a smaller fish of the upper swimming levels. Males may quarrel over territory, although little damage is done. Pairs form nuclear families.
SC: Cichlasomines, Eartheaters, Acaras, Armored catfish, Pimelodids, Doradids, Loricarids, Silver Dollars, large hatchetfish, Leporinus, Anostomus.
FOOD: Live; crustaceans, insect larvae, aquatic insects, worms; flakes; pellets.
SEX: Males are slightly more colorful, and more slender at spawning times.
B: Use water with a temperature from 73-77F (23-25C), a pH from 6.5-7.0, and a water hardness from 3-10 dH. Perform frequent partial water changes in order to stimulate spawning. As many as 500 eggs are laid on rocks and leaves (when available). The young and the eggs are carefully guarded by both parents. Start feeding with nauplii and roftiers.
BP: 6. Breeding is not difficult.
R: In nature this species often deposits its eggs on fallen leaves so that the brood can be moved when threatened by predators or drying up. An early fish to be imported into Europe.
DC: 4. A robust cichlid that can be kept in cooler water.


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