Synonyms: Astronotus bifasciatum, Cichlasoma bifasciatus
Physical description: 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/Length: To 10" (25 cm)
Similar species: Cichlasoma melanurum
Habitat: Central America; in the Rio Usumacinta Basin in Mexico, Guatemala.
S: bottom, middle
Aquarium: 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 chemistry: pH 6.5-7.5 (7.0), dH 2-15 (6), 72-82°F (22-28°C)
Social behavior: 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.
Suggested companions: 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.
Sexual differences: Difficult to distinguish except during spawning season. Males are slightly larger with somewhat duller colors. Males have a pointed genital papilla.
Breeding techniques: Use warmer water with a temperature from 77-82°F (25-28°C). 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.
Breeding potential: 7. The Red-spotted Cichlid is fairly difficult to breed.
Remarks: 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.
Difficulty of care: 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.