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Cichlids / Asia / Orange Chromide

Orange Chromide
Etroplus maculatus

Synonyms: Chaetodon maculatus, Etroplus coruchi
Physical description: A slightly elongated, oval-shaped fish. The body is yellow to bright orange in color with several rows of small red-orange spots that mark the body. Three, short transverse bars are located near the mid-section of the body. The lower sections of the body may be marked with a large black area. The belly is light orange while the fins are transparent with an orange tint. The fins are close to the body and the tail is slightly forked. The eye is dark and large. The pelvic and anal fin are sometimes black.
Size/Length: To 3.5" (9 cm)
Similar species: None
Habitat: Southwestern Asia; inhabits shallow areas of coastal, brackish rivers and lagoons in India and Sri Lanka.
S: bottom, middle
Aquarium: A 24" (50 cm) tank with a capacity of 15 gallons (57 L) can be used. Use a fine gravel or preferably coral sand bottom with scattered rocks. Supply shelter and retreats with rocks, wood, and roots. Plants that can tolerate brackish water can be used. The tank should be in a position to receive morning sunlight.
Water chemistry: pH 7-9 (8.0), 5-30 dH (18), 68-84°F (20-29°C). A 1 to 1.5% addition of salt is recommended. This can be accomplished by adding 7.5 to 11 TSP. of salt to 10 gallons of water (10-15 g of salt/10 L).
Social behavior: A peaceful, non-destructive cichlid that can be kept in a brackish water community tank. The Orange Chromide can also be kept in a freshwater community tank, although salt must be added. Best kept in pairs. Let pairs select themselves from a selection of 6-8 juveniles. The pairs form monogamous bonds and later nuclear families.
Suggested companions: Livebearers, Danios, Celebes Rainbowfish, other Rainbowfish, Chanda, Halfbeaks, Brachygobius.
FOOD: Algae; live; Brine Shrimp, other crustaceans, Tubifex; tablets; flakes; pellets. Feeding this species color-enhancing foods fortified with beta-carotene will bring out its reddish hues.
SEX: Males have a red edge to their anal dorsal and caudal fins, and generally have brighter colors. These differences are somewhat unreliable.
Breeding techniques: An addition of a small amount of sea water and a slight increase in temperature will help initiate the spawning. 200-300 eggs are laid on previously cleaned rocks, wood, and roots. The black eggs adhere to the surface in short little stems. Both parents guard the eggs with hatch in 3-6 days. The fry are taken to pits where the parents continue their care. The fry attach themselves to the flanks of the parents where they appear to receive some sort of nourishment perhaps similar to Discus. The fry are free-swimming a few days after, and can be raised on Artemia nauplii and roftiers. Be sure to keep an adequate amount of salt in the water so the eggs or the fry are not to suffer from fungal infections. The fry are slow-growing and very sensitive to changes in water conditions. Parental care may continue for up to four months.
Breeding potential: 7. Breeding is moderately difficult.
Remarks: If the Orange Chromide is keep in fresh water without any salt, their colors will fade, as will their appetites, and they will be subject to fungal infections. The Orange Chromide serves as a cleaner fish for the Banded Chromide. This fish is very sensitive to changes in water chemistry, thus try to perform very frequent, small water changes instead of occasional large ones. This timid fish needs retreats and hiding places in order to develop its attractive colors. There are two common color variations, the original orange strain, and a golden strain.
Difficulty of care: 5. An attractive, but delicate species that is a good candidate for a peaceful, brackish-water community tank.


By Rhett Butler   Mongabay.com