Texas Cichlid, Rio Grand Cichlid "Cichlasoma" (Henrichthys) cyanoguttatum
Synonyms: Heros cyanoguttatus, H. temporalis, Neetroplus carpintis
Physical description: 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 penuncle.
Size/Length: To 12" (30 cm) in nature, although not usually more than 8" in aquaria.
Similar species: Pearlscale Cichlid (C. carpinte), Minckley's Cichlid (C. minckleyi), C. pantostictum, Jack Dempsy (C. octofasciatum)
Habitat: Central America; in the Rio Grande, Rio Pecos, Rio Conchus in Mexico
S: bottom, middle
Aquarium: 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 chemistry: pH 6.7-8.5 (7.2), dH 6-25 (12), 68-75°F (20-25°C).
Social behavior: 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.
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; chopped meat; large flakes; pellets; tablets.
Sexual differences: Males, with age, develop a large bump on their forehead and are brighter colored. Males have a pointed genital papilla.
Breeding techniques: Use a tank with a pH from 6.8-7.2, a water hardness from 8-15 dH, and a temperature from 75-82°F (24-28°C). 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.
Breeding potential: 6. The Texas Cichlid is not difficult to breed.
Remarks: 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 59°F (15°C) for short periods of time.
Difficulty of care: 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.
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