Long fin Cichlid "Cichlasoma" (Amphilophus) longimanus
Synonyms: Astronotus longimanus, Astatheros longimanus
Physical description: 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 penuncle. 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/Length: To 7" (18 cm)
Similar species: C. aureum, C. ellioti, C. helleri, C. pasionis, Firemouth (T. meeki)
Habitat: Above muddy or sandy riverbeds, in fast moving sections of the Rio Choluteca, on the Southwestern border of Honduras and Nicaragua.
S: bottom, middle
Aquarium: 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 chemistry: pH 6.7-7.7 (7.0), dH 2-15 (5), 77-84°F (25-29°C).
Social behavior: 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.
Suggested companions: Cichlasomines, other South American cichlids, Loricarids, Pimelodids, large Characins, Hemichromis, Tilapia.
FOOD: Live; insects, insect larvae, worms, crustaceans; pellets; tablets; flakes.
Sexual differences: Male is larger. Females are generally darker colored and display better colors during the spawning season. Males have a pointed genital papilla.
Breeding techniques: Use a separate breeding tank with a pH from 6.7-7.2, a water hardness from 2-8 dH, and a temperature from 79-84°F (26-29°C). 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.
Breeding potential: 6. Breeding is fairly easy.
Remarks: 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.
Difficulty of care: 5. This fish requires live food and is not suitable for a "typical" community tank because of its aggressiveness.
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