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Cichlids / Central America / Cichlasoma / Midas Cichlid

Midas Cichlid, Lemon Cichlid, Red Devil
"Cichlasoma" (Amphilophus) citrinellus

Synonyms: Cichlasoma basilare, Heros citrinellus, H. basilaris, Erythrichthys citrinellum
Physical description: 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/Length: To 12" (30 cm)
Similar species: Red Devil (C. labiatum)
Habitat: 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
Aquarium: 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 chemistry: pH 6-8 (7.0), 6-25 dH (10), 70-79°F (21-26°C).
Social behavior: 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.
Suggested companions: 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.
Sexual differences: Males are larger and develop a characteristic bump on their forehead. Males have a pointed genital papilla.
Breeding techniques: Water chemistry is unimportant for the breeding of the Midas Cichlid. Use warmer water with a temperature from 75-82°F (24-28°C). 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.
Breeding potential: 6. The Midas Cichlid is not especially difficult to breed.
Remarks: 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.
Difficulty of care: 6. The Midas Cichlid is an aggressive species which must be kept in a large tank.


By Rhett Butler   Mongabay.com