Synonyms: Heros multipinosa
Physical description: The laterally compressed body is oval shaped. The coloring is generally gold with a black, lateral stripe that extends from just behind the eye to the caudal fin. In places this stripe may be broken. The rear, lower parts of the fish may be darker. The fins have a gold tint.
Size/Length: To 6" (15 cm)
Similar species: None
Habitat: In shallow, muddy shore areas of rivers with heavy vegetation. Central America; on Atlantic slope from Panama north to Honduras
S: bottom, middle
Aquarium: A 24" (61 cm) tank with a volume of 20 gallons (75 L) will do. Provide hiding places with rocks, heavily vegetated areas, roots, and wood. Only robust plants should be used. Use fine gravel as a substrate. Leave open swimming areas.
Water chemistry: 6.5-7.5 pH (7.0), 4-15 dH (10), 75-84°F (24-29°C)
Social behavior: A hardy, peaceful, but territorial fish. Combine with other fish ranging from live bearers to cichlids of comparable size. Pairs form nuclear families.
Suggested companions: Cichlasomines, Pimelodids, Loricarids, South American Cichlids, large, robust livebearers.
FOOD: Live; insect larvae, insects, worms, crustaceans; flakes; pellets; tablets.
Sexual differences: A difficult fish to sex. Males are slightly larger with pointed anal and dorsal fins. Males may be more colorful and have a pointed genital papilla..
Breeding techniques: Use water with a pH around 7.0, a harness from 5-10 dH, and a warm temperature of 79-84°F (26-29°C). Open breeders, the eggs are laid on rocks or small cavities. The male guards the eggs and fans them. When the fry hatch in 2-3 days, they are moved to pits where the male continues to guard them. Occasionally the parents may eat the fry. This behavior can usually be attributed to a lack of room in the tank. Start feeding with crushed dry food and Artemia.
Breeding potential: 5. Breeding is easy.
Remarks: Captive bred specimen have lost much of their coloration. This fish has the ability to rapidly change colors according to its mood. The rear and lower parts can change from whitish-gold to black. The Rainbow Cichlid belongs to a monotypic genus, meaning that it is the only fish included. This fish is sexually mature at 3" (8 cm).
Difficulty of care: 4. A robust cichlid recommended for a community tank with other similarly-sized Central American Cichlids.
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