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Cichlids / South America / Eartheaters / Jurupari

Demon Fish, 'Jurupari,' Eartheater
Satanoperca leucosticta

Synonyms: Geophagus jurupari, G. leucostictus, Satanoperca jurupari, S. leucostictus
Physical description: An elongated, laterally compressed cichlid with a large, rounded head.   Each ray of the dorsal fins comes to a shape point.  The body color is greenish-yellow to yellow-brown with each scale having an iridescent yellow to gold spot.  On the head, these spots may develop a turquoise blue iridescence.   The fins retain a similar pattern as the body.  Sometimes faint, broad transverse stripes are present on the body.
Size/Length: To 12" (30 cm), although not usually larger than 9" (23 cm) in aquaria
Similar species: Other Satanoperca species
Habitat: South America; Brazil and Guyana.
S: bottom, middle
Aquarium: A tank measuring 48" (122 cm) with a capacity of 55 gallons (209 L) is sufficient for adult fish.  Use a fine gravel or sand bottom.   The tank should include hardy plants, roots, wood, and rocks for hiding places.  Use an efficient filtration system as the substrate is stirred up from constant burrowing.  This species favors peat filtration.
Water chemistry: pH 6.2-7.5 (6.9), 3-15 dH (8), 77-84°F (25-29°C)
Social behavior: A peaceful and non-aggressive cichlid.   This Demon Fish is the most peaceful of the genus Satanoperca .  Combine with other Eartheaters, catfish, and smaller fish of the upper swimming levels.   This cichlid may not spawn with other species are present as the presence of other fish tends to intimidate them.   Pairs form nuclear families.
Suggested companions: Catfish (Callichthys, Loricarids, Pimelodids, Doradids), characins (Hatchetfish, Headstanders, large tetras), cichlids (Eartheaters).
FOOD: Live; Tubifex , crustaceans; tablets; sinking flake foods.
SEX: Males are slightly larger and more slender with maturity.
Breeding techniques: Use a separate breeding tank with the following range of water values: pH 6.2-7.0, 5-10 dH, 81-86°F (27-30°C).  Up to 400 eggs are laid on a previously cleaned stone.   These eggs are tended to and guarded for a period of 24-30 hours, when they are taken into the mouth of the female.   Over the course of two weeks, the mouth brooding duties are evenly shared between the two parents.   The fry are held in the front of the mouth, not in the throat sac like many other species.  After two weeks, when the fry are free-swimming, they are released.   Start feeding with Artemia nauplii.  The fry seek shelter in the parent's mouth at times of danger.   Remove the fry after a period of three to four weeks.  The young grow slowly.
Breeding potential: 7.  Breeding is moderately difficult to induce, and the fry are not easy to raise.
Remarks: This species is often sold under the name S. jurupari, although S. jurupari is a separate, seldom imported, species.  The name Satanoperca is Latin for 'Satan's Perch.'  Jurupari is taken from the Tupi Indian word meaning 'demon's lure,' after a relationship drawn between this species and the forest demon mentioned in local folklore.
Difficulty of care: 5.  A hardy and peaceful Eartheater that is sensitive to cool water.


By Rhett Butler   Mongabay.com