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Cichlids / South America / Eartheaters / Red hump Eartheater

Red hump Eartheater
"Geophagus" steindachneri

Synonyms: Geophagus hondae, G. magdalenae, G. pellegrini
Physical description: Males have a large, characteristic hump on their forehead that develops with age.   The body coloring differs depending on the population.  Common colors are gold, green, red, orange, and black.   The body is marked with irregular black spots.  The hump may change from golden to red.   The fins are spotted with iridescent scales.  The male has an orange spot at each corner of his mouth.   These serve as the equivalent of the egg-spots of Lake Malawi Cichlids.
Size/Length: To 10" in nature, although tank-bred fish usually do not exceed 6" (15 cm).  Females are considerably smaller.
Similar species: "Geophagus" surinamensis
Habitat: South America; upper parts of the Rio Magdalena and its tributaries in Columbia and Venezuela.
S: bottom
Aquarium: A tank measuring 48" (122 cm) with a capacity of 50 gallons (190 L) is recommended for adult fish.  Use a deep substrate of sand or fine gravel.   The back parts of the tank should be planted with large, well-rooted plants.  Use wood, rocks, and caves for hiding places.  
Water chemistry: pH 6.5-7.2 (7.1), 5-15 dH (8), 75-81°F (24-27°C)
Social behavior: Females are not territorial, while dominant males can be aggressive.   This species can be combined with medium-sized fish of the upper swimming levels, and other Eartheaters.   Pairs may become aggressive during spawning season.   Keep one male with several females.  Females perform matriarchal duties, while males often form harems.  
Suggested companions: Catfish (Loricarids, Pimelodids, Doradids), characins (Silver Dollars, Headstanders), cichlids (Eartheaters, Cichlasomines).
FOOD: Live; crustaceans, Tubifex, insects larvae; pellets; tablets; chopped meat.
SEX: Males are larger and more colorful with an egg spot at each corner of the mouth.   Males also have a characteristic hump on their forehead. 
Breeding techniques: Use the recommended water values and a temperature between 77-82°F (25-28°C).   Depending on the size of the female, from 30-150 bright yellow eggs are laid on a previously cleaned stone, following a brief courtship.  The eggs are immediately taken into the female's mouth along with the sperm of a male.   The eggs are mouthbrooded for a period of 15-20 days.  The female should not be fed during this time as she may accidentally swallow her brood.  The large fry are easy to feed with dry and small live foods.  
Breeding potential: 6.  Breeding is not difficult.
Remarks: Several different coloration/geographical populations are known to exist.   Sexually mature from 2.8" (7 cm).
Difficulty of care: 4.  A robust and peaceful Eartheater.


By Rhett Butler   Mongabay.com