Hailing from Central America, these beauties are a staple in home aquariums. A firemouth cichlid are great for beginners, and countless people have said how easy it is to keep the freshwater fish in a tank.
Good Paired With: Cat Fish, Tetra Species, Other Firemouths
The Firemouth Cichlid (Thorichthys meeki) is a tropical fish from the family Cichlidae. It was discovered in 1919 by Walter Brind.
The scientific name of the Firemouth Cichlid comes from the American ichthyologist Seth Eugene Meek. (Ichthyologist means someone who studies fish.) It was named in his honor.
The common name of this fish, Firemouth Cichlid, comes from 2 factors. One, the fiery red coloration around their gills and mouths. Two, the display males do during the breeding season.
To look impressive, these cichlids flare out their gills, and it seems as if their mouth is on fire.
Their natural habitat is Central America. A fish native to Mexico (the Yucatan Peninsula,) El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama, and Costa Rica.
They’ve also been introduced into Hawaii, the US mainland, Puerto Rico, Colombia, and even Singapore!
They live in slow moving ponds, rivers without fast currents, and canals with sandy and muddy bottoms. The cichlid firemouth inhabit the middle and bottom of the water areas.
While Firemouth Cichlids aren’t some of the most vividly colored freshwater fish out there, they still have a unique coloration.
Like many types of Cichlid species, they are sexually dimorphic. However, the differences aren’t extreme. It can be challenging to tell the sex of your fish.
(Don’t bother trying to sex your firemouth cichlid when they are young. Juveniles are almost impossible to tell apart.)
Markings and Colors: The males are brighter than the females and juveniles. The male and the female firemouth gain their coloring when they reach maturity.
It becomes much more noticeable on the adults during the breeding season.
The Firemouth Cichlid has orangish-red or red coloration markings on their neck, abdomen, and gill covers (opercles). However, the males’ markings are always brighter.
The male and female firemouth also have blue spots or turquoise spots on their anal fins. The female usually has a dark spot on her dorsal fin.
Size and Shape: The males tend to be larger than females and have more sharply pointed dorsal and anal fins.
Their fin rays trail longer than females, and their pointed dorsal and anal fins are much longer too. The adult male has a visible genital papilla too.
The females are plumper and fuller looking.
Behavior: In general, males are more aggressive than females. Though, sometimes a female can be quite protective of her eggs.
You may have heard that Firemouths flare their gills and expand their throat sac. All year round, males flare their gills when they want to intimidate or are aggressive, females don’t usually.
Yet, in the breeding season, both male and female fish do it.
On color (for the juveniles), they have a light-gray to olive-gray for most of their body, with a blueish tint. When they reach maturity, their skin becomes almost entirely violet.
The Firemouth Cichlid has another marking that depends on the freshwater fish and environmental conditions.
Sometimes, they have broad, dark-colored lines that extend along the body. They might have a black spot in the middle, or a horizontal stripe.
Their opercles have one black spot on them, called an eye spot, and most of the fins are light pink, with blueish flecks. The eyes are usually a blue color, with black pupils.
In captivity, they grow larger than in the wild. The largest length for males is 6″ (15cm). Females are smaller. They have a very fast growth rate, and reach full size quite quickly.
Their lifespan is usually 10-15 years.
Like most, but not all fish, they lay eggs. Also, they are mouth breeders.
In the wild, in the warmer months, the water changes. This fuels the beginning of the breeding.
There are changes in the behavior of both sexes, but the males are more noticeable. Their colors and patterns become more vibrant.
They become more aggressive. They fight other males in the fish tank to impress the females.
Over a few days, they will usually pick their mates, which they stay with for the rest of their life. Breeding follows soon after.
The female becomes fertile and begins looking for a place to put her eggs. Firemouths often lay their eggs on a flat rock. Once she is ready, lays the eggs in long rows. The male follows, fertilizing them.
The usual clutch size for a Firemouth is up to several hundred eggs.
They’re excellent parents.
The female does most of the egg looking after. She stays and tends to the eggs, while the male is on guard, protecting the territory. The eggs hatch after 3-4 days. After that, they care for the fry.
Once the fry have hatched, the parents move them to another location and stay there until the babies can swim.
The parents continue to care for the fry. They do this for around six weeks until the babies can take care of themselves.
After this, the parents and fry go their separate ways, though the same couple may raise several broods in the one year.
When you want them to start breeding, raise the tank temperature to 82°F (28°C) over the course of 2 days or so.
When they have paired off, or they are too aggressive to their tank mates, separate the couples from the other fish with a divider. Or put the pairs in a separate breeding tank.
You should have appropriate places for them to put their eggs. Like PVC pipes, upside-down flowerpots, and flat rocks.
They lay about 100 – 500 eggs.
When the fry have hatched, check up on them occasionally for the first week or so, but they don’t need feeding yet. The parents keep them in pits to guard them.
After the 7th or 8th day, they can swim. This is when you should start feeding them.
They grow fast, make sure there’s enough room in the tank.
Recommended high-quality foods for the first three weeks are brine shrimp, crushed flake food, micro worms, and other foods designed for fry.
When they reach three weeks of age, you can introduce dried fish food. When they mature, feed them what you feed other Firemouths.
When you have the fry, it’s essential to change 10% of the water every day with aged water.
(A word of warning, sometimes, first-time parents have been known to eat their hatched young. Don’t panic if this happens. But they stop eating the fry after the second or third time.)
Looking After Firemouth Cichlids
It’s best to keep them with their species, or a pair if you know their sex.
They are relatively large fish, and they tend to be aggressive, so they need plenty of space and swimming room.
A freshwater aquarium with a tank size of fifty gallons (189 L) is a good starting point and makes for a perfect size for a couple.
If you are thinking about keeping a group, a tank size of 100 gallons is excellent (if you can manage it).
Live plants with large leaves is a good idea, such as Sagittaria.
It gives these cichlid fish something to hide behind. Plant them in pots, root surfaces covered with stones around the sides of the tank leaving swimming space in the middle.
That stops the fish from disturbing and moving the aquarium plants.
Have a sand bottom or fine gravel substrate so it’s easy for them to do their burrowing.
Another idea is putting rocks, roots and driftwood and arrange them to make plenty of nooks, crannies, and caves. So they can seek refuge and hide if they need to.
Water Conditions k & Ideal Water Parameters
To keep the water parameters healthy for the fish, filter the tank water often, a good choice is at least once a week. Good water quality and water movement are essential for their health.
Filtering it often keeps nitrite and ammonia out of the water. However, with nitrate, it’s okay to have some in the water conditions, but nothing over 20mg a liter.
An addition of lava rocks can help keep the nitrates under control.
These cichlid fish are susceptible to harmful nitrogen compounds.
Having live vegetation in the aquarium and a good external filter helps maintain water purity and fish health. Cichlids are sensitive to changes in the pH levels, and pollutants.
It’s essential that you change 15-20% of the water weekly.
When you replace the water, you need to clean up the decomposing organic matter. Do this with a gravel cleaner.
When you clean the tank, remove most, but not all the algae growth from the glass panes. You may not like it, but alga is an excellent source of food for the Firemouth cichlid.
75–86 °F (23–30 °C) is the recommended tank water temperature range.
PH And Hardness
pH Range: 6.5 – 8.0
Water Hardness Range: 8-15 dGH
Suitable Tank Mates
This cichlid quite aggressive, and they don’t seem to be afraid of anything. Also territorial, and protect what they believe is theirs.
Because of this, careful planning must go in if you wish to have a harmonious tank.
In general, having lots of tank mates for these fish isn’t the way to go. They’re not very good community fish.
The firemouth cichlid gets very defensive during the breeding season. In some cases, they have been known to eat tinier fish tank mates.
Despite everything mentioned above, if you plan carefully, you can avoid most of these problems.
Step one would be having a big community tank.
Step 2 is to choose the right tank mates! Here are some recommended species.
Others of their species are a good bet. However, have several of them.
A definite no-no 2 males together. Two females aren’t such a good idea either. It’s best to have a mix of both sexes.
Gouramis and Mollies. Many species of Gouramis (except Siamese Fighting Fish) are generally not aggressive. Mollies are excellent too. They are some of the most serene fish around,
Make sure the ones you choose are larger than the Firemouth Cichlids. This will minimize most conflict.
Other ideas would be Catfish and the Tetra group of fish.
All in all, you can keep Firemouths with other species, you have to be careful about which ones you choose. However, if you decide to keep the cichlid by themselves, that’s an excellent idea too.
In the wild, Firemouths, like other Cichlids, have a varied diet. They are primarily carnivorous, but they are omnivores.
They feed upon all sorts of things, such as larvae, invertebrates, small fish, and worms. They also eat some algae.
The food you give them must be high in protein in a varied diet, and you mustn’t overfeed them, and must be high quality.
Newly-bought firemouth cichlid fish are often timid and shy. They aren’t familiar with their new surroundings. At first, they may refuse to be fed, but if you feed them, then leave, they might eat.
(The timidness can last up to several months, so be patient.)
Here are a few foods you should consider feeding your Firemouths.
Bloodworms and white worms are a good option for fulfilling the meaty need. As are brine shrimp and tubifex worms.
(However, shrimp and blood worms are quite meaty. So, they should only be given occasionally. Consider them as a treat food.)
Frozen Foods is good for Firemouth Cichlids too. Examples would include of frozen foods is artificial food such as flakes and tablets, Cyclops, and frozen shrimp.
Good Paired With: Other Jaguar Cichlids, Aggressive Cichlid Species
Jaguar Cichlids are from Central America. These are freshwater fish, living in lakes and basins throughout several countries. Mostly found in Nicaragua, but also in Honduras in the Ulua River and Costa Rica.
In Costa Rica, they’re most prevalent in the Matina River.
However, now they’ve spread throughout Central America. Including Salvador, Guatemala, Panama, and southern areas of Mexico.
Though they’re sometimes found in South America with other native South American cichlids. Also in the United States or Singapore.
It’s not included on the IUCN red list of threatened species.
The habitats of their preference are usually waters like cloudy lakes and sometimes rivers. They also prefer warmer water, without too much oxygen.
Jaguar Cichlids live in water bodies with muddy bottoms.
However, they can sometimes be found in places with sandy bottoms, such as ponds, springs and canals. They’ve also been bred in captivity for many years now.
Their common name ‘Jaguar Cichlid,’ comes from the pattern of the spots being likened to a Jaguar.
The second part of their scientific name, Parachromis managuensis, comes from the habitat where the first of their species was found.
The ‘holotype’ (the first known specimen of a species) came from Lake Managua in Nicaragua. Today, that lake has a large and thriving population of these fish.
Jaguar Cichlids are known under many different names. Including Aztec Cichlid, Managua Cichlid, and Managuense Cichlid, Spotted Guapote, Guapote Tigre, and the Jaguar Guapote.
(‘Guapote Tigre’ is Spanish, it means the Guapote Tiger/Jaguar.)
A popular fish among fish keepers in home aquariums, readily available in fish stores and online.
In their native habitat, they grow quite large and are sometimes used for human consumption when over a certain size.
The majority of their colors consist of tones. But, keep them in clean conditions, and the patterns stand out. The extra colors vary for each.
It can be interesting to see how they develop, and which hue is the most intense.
Sexual Differences: here is how to sex a jaguar cichlid.
Markings and Colours: In the earlier stages of life, the males have more spots. However, as they grow older they lose them. They reach a stage where the spots disappear entirely. The females go through a similar process, but they keep most of theirs.
Another difference is the edging of the males’ fins are brightly colored. The female has coloration but less vibrant.
Size and Shape: The males are always bigger than the females. Usually, there is an inch or so difference in length. They have broader and sharply pointed proctal and dorsal fins.
The females are rounder in shape.
Behavior: In the breeding season, the males become very aggressive, ready to impress the females. Also, but this happens all year round, the females tend to stay in the tank’s bottom area.
(Even if after you’ve followed all the pointers listed above, and you still can’t tell, ask your local vet or expert.)
Jaguar Cichlids are robust fish.
They have light-colored skin, usually pale yellowish-brown, to yellow to bronze. When they are younger, they display dark-grey/black vertical stripes across their body.
However, it completely changes when they become mature.
Slowly, as they reach sexual maturity, the vertical stripes disappear, replaced with dark spots. They are present all over the body but mostly on the gill cover and lower sides.
They sometimes have black bars on the gill covers too.
They have a horizontal line of dots across the lateral line of the bottom of their body. Jaguars also have dark bars extending to the dorsal fin.
The dark bars are some of their most recognisable features.
Like the Jaguar, no two body patterns of the fish are the same, and none of them have the same amount of spots. Their fins are dark-grey/black, becoming significantly darker during the breeding process.
Sometimes, the background color of their skin has a light bluish-green to a purple tint. There’s often a burgundy red tint on the head.
Both sexes have lower lips with two to four small incisor teeth.
Jaguar Cichlids are predatory fish. They have sharp teeth at the back of their throat. It makes hunting easier. They also have sharp edging on the ends of their fins.
These are for protecting themselves from other predatory fish.
In the wild, the average size is 24 inches (60cm), and the females being smaller. However, there’s no reason to panic. You don’t need to punch out a wall to accommodate them!
They don’t grow this big in the aquarium. Males grow to an average of 16″ (40cm), and for females, their sizes are a bit smaller, at 13″ (35cm).
Keep in mind they may not grow to that exact size, and many factors come into play to determine how big each one grows.
They are some of the longest-living Cichlids. Their lifespan is 10-15 years, but most live for around 15. Many experts say with proper care and a healthy diet, you can extend their lifespan.
Breeding Jaguar Cichlids isn’t for amateurs, it’s better if you’re a more experienced fish keeper. This fish species get unpredictable during the breeding season.
For Jaguar Cichlids, there isn’t a set time of the year; it depends on the water conditions. Specifically, the temperature. They start to prepare for reproducing when the water gets warmer.
When you want them to begin, raise the temperature. Do this over a period of two days. Don’t shock the fish. The recommended temperature is 82° F (28° C).
The warmer temperatures will trigger a spawning response in some of the aquarium fish.
The male/s get aggressive and can attack tank mates and smaller fish (if you have any.) The other large fish don’t run such of a rish, but sil, Move the Jaguar Cichlids breeding out of that aquarium.
Put them into a particular breeding tank.
(If you don’t have one of these, using a tank divider is a good solution.)
If you are keeping these fish for breeding, it’s best to raise them in a pair from as early in their lives as possible.
A definite no-no is introducing a female straight before they breed. Why? The males have a nasty habit of sometimes killing an unknown female.
These freshwater fish court each other, but this may take a while.
Once the courtship has finished, spawning begins. The usual spot of preference is a flat rock, make sure you include this, and caves, hiding spots and rocks for females to seek refuge.
The female lays the eggs; the male fertilizes them. The number is always variable, but she can lay up to 5000 eggs! However, the usual range is 3000-5000 eggs.
The male protects the unhatched offspring, and the mother looks after the eggs. You may notice the female flaps her fins around the breeding site.
This is so the tank water continually moves to provide oxygenated water for the eggs.
In 3-5 days, the eggs hatch, and the fish larvae emerge. As they are still encased in their yolk sacs, they provide food for the larvae.
No need to feed them during the first week of their lives.
Once they consume the yolk sac, this is when the parents take responsibility for feeding them. The fry are fed organic matter, and they can’t swim at this stage. Let another week pass by.
By now, the fry are free-swimming. The parents can continue to look after them for another six weeks until they are old enough to look after themselves.
However, some Jaguar Cichlids may consume their fry if left in with them for more than two weeks. If they do, remove the fry immediately.
Suggested foods for the fry would be baby brine shrimp. Also, artificial feed designed for fish hatchlings, like baby powder food.
Once they’ve grown into juveniles, feed the same thing you give the other adult fish in the tank.
Looking After Jaguar Cichlids – Aquarium Care
Jaguar Cichlids are aggressive fish. However, with specific aquarium and water conditions, their aggression level can lower.
Looking after these magnificent fish takes planning.
The bigger the tank, the more space they have, the less aggressive they will be. It’s best to keep them in couples.
The best Jaguar Cichlid tank size is something with a large tank capacity, ideally 100 gallons (378 L). Each fish in the fish tanks must have designated territory and plenty of room.
Keep decor and decorations simple and to a minimum, preferably around the perimeters of the tank. They’re going to get knocked over all the time.
As with most Cichlids, include a flat rock as a spawning site. Have hidey-holes and cave-like areas. Arranging Driftwood is a great way to do this. But balance it out with plenty of open swimming space.
Many aquarists advise not to have any plants at all. They like to dig into the substrate and sand. The plants could be uprooted, or torn apart by clumsy maneuvers.
These fish prefer dark, cloudy habitats in the wild with good water movement. The water is usually filled with plant debris.
An easy way to replicate this is to have a handful of leaves in the filter, and a bag of aquarium safe peat. (Change the leaves every two weeks.)
Ensure your filter is powerful, and can do lots of filtration, because they produce a lot of waste!
Make sure all tank equipment is external, as they can do a lot of damage to any internal systems.
Your aquarium must have a tight-fitting lid. Jaguar Cichlids can and will jump out of the tank.
Sometimes these fish can suffer from a problem disease called Ich or White Spot Disease. If that happens, copper based fish medications are available to help treat it.
The copper use must be kept within the proper levels.
Remove any water conditioners while the fish are under this treatment.
Once you’ve set up the tank correctly, looking after Jaguar Cichlids is easy. The water conditions and water quality needs to be regulated. For these fish, use a large simp or canister filter.
Over time, nitrates and phosphates can build up, and water hardness increases. Prolonged exposure to these weaken the fish’s immune system and cause a breeding ground for diseases.
The hardness of the water can increase with the evaporation of the water. You don’t want too much of these, as it’s harmful.
Like a few other Cichlids, these are sensitive to pH instability, pollutants and sudden water changes.
You need to do water changes twice a week, with 20-30% of the water. When you do this, use a gravel cleaner. This removes decomposing organic matter.
This is critical for the animal’s health.
Keep your lighting low or subdued.
These fish like the aquarium temperature to be slightly warm. They’re from a tropical climate. The best Jaguar Cichlid water temperature range is 74-79° F (24-28° C).
The higher the tank temperature, the more aggressive the fish. It’s best to keep it around 74° F (24° C).
PH And Hardness
Jaguar Cichlids thrive best with 10-15 dGH water hardness and pH of 7-8.7.
Suitable Tank Mates
These freshwater fish aren’t the most compatible community fish when it comes to other inhabitants of the aquarium. Take a breeding pair of Jaguar Cichlids. Sometimes, mating pairs kill fish that get too close.
However! You can keep them with other fish. You need to be selective, cautious, and monitor them closely. This becomes especially important if you are breeding them.
Make sure you don’t have small fish as their tank mates.
In preparation for the tank mates, you need a large tank. The usual recommended size is 100 gallons, (378 L.)
It leaves lots of space for the fish and the Jaguar Cichlids. You should always choose companions larger than the Jaguar.
Onto the recommended Jaguar Cichlid tank mates.
Others Of Their Species. Raise them together from the start.
Other Cichlid Species. You need large, aggressive Cichlids; this will lower the amount of conflict. Recommended species are Red Terrors, Green Texas Cichlids, and Oscar Fish. Also, the Jack Dempsey, Carpintis Cichlids, and the Convict.
Catfish. These are big fish and have a temperament that doesn’t cause them to get into many conflicts. Choose a large type of Catfish or a common pleco.
Tinfoil Barbs. These fish hail from South-East Asia, and are a peaceful fish. This and their size make them an excellent choice.
In the wild, these freshwater fish are carnivorous and predators. Specifically, they are piscivores, which means they eat other fish.
They eat a variety of meat, but their diet mostly consists of other fish and smaller invertebrates.
They are also what is known as ‘raptorial’ feeders. In biology, it means predatory on other animals. It also says that they aren’t fussy eaters, they’ll eat just about anything they can fit in their mouth.
These fish love to eat! They have massive appetites.
Careful not to feed them by hand though, as they may attack it.
Live Foods. This should make up the bulk of their diet, and they eat many types of fish and foods. Variety is essential.
The foods include types of worms such as bloodworms, blackworms, and mealworms. Ghost shrimp is good too. They also like minnows, crayfish, crickets, even small frogs.
Frozen Foods. A good option, as well. You don’t have to feed them only live food, a balance of both of them is excellent as well. Feed them the same foods, only frozen, as mentioned in the live foods.
They’ll usually accept large pieces of frozen and dry foods.
Other Options To Consider
Pellets and Flakes. They don’t always eat these, and shouldn’t make up the bulk of their diet. However, flake food and pellets make an excellent supplement/addition.
Keep in mind sometimes your Jaguar Cichlids may not accept these. The food you choose must high-quality and designed for Cichlids.
Things To Avoid
Many fishkeepers advise against feeder fish bought from pet stores, as these might introduce diseases into the tank.
Meaty Food. Don’t feed them any animal meats used for humans consumption; it makes them ill. Don’t feed them beef heart either for the same reason.
Overfeeding. This is never a good idea. Feeding them daily is the best feeding frequency.
Jaguar Cichlids. Aggressive, territorial, large, and sometimes, the terror of the tank. But they’re beautiful, uniquely colored fish.
Something I forgot? Or have a question? Leave a comment at the end.
Good Paired With: Other Jack Dempsey Fish, Catfish, Goldfish
The Jack Dempsey Cichlid was named after a professional boxer.
He was from the US, and he wasn’t just any boxer. From 1919 to 1926, (7 years), he reigned as the World Heavyweight Champion!
This cichlid has robust facial features and is an aggressive fish. Despite the reputation for aggressiveness, they aren’t the most out of all the cichlids.
The story behind the scientific name (Rocio octofasciata) is as interesting. The genus name (Rocio) was named after the discoverer’s wife.
Rocio in Spanish means ‘morning dew’. This is likely a reference to the ‘spots’ on the body of the Jack Dempsey.
The other part of the scientific name (octofasciata, the name of the individual freshwater fish). Supposedly comes from the Latin words “octo” (meaning eight) and “fascia” (meaning stripe or belt).
Putting those two together, you get “eight striped.”
They hail from various countries throughout Central America. Including Southern Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, and Belize, where they’re more commonly known as the Mexican Blue Frontosa.
Whether accidentally or on purpose, the Jack Dempsey fish has been introduced to North America, specfically the United States, Thailand, and Australia.
They’re a freshwater fish, but very adaptable. Their usual habitats include water bodies with slow water movements. Rivers, streams, and drainage ditches!
Also in canals with sandy or muddy bottoms, and waters with warm and murky swamp areas.
They’re not listed on the IUCN Red List, so they’re not threatened.
Readily available in pet stores and for purchase online, usually in a purchase size of 1″ to 2″ long.
These aren’t the most colorful freshwater fish, though they are some of the more colorful central american cichlids. But they make up for it with their unique ‘spots’ and sparkling scales in a variety of colors.
Here is how to sex a Jack Dempsey cichlid.
Markings and Colors: The males are brighter in color and patterns than females. The male sometimes has a black, round spot at the base of the tail, and the center of the body.
In contrast, the female can have a small one on the lower edge of each gill cover and one on the dorsal fin. Females always have fewer spots than the male.
The males also have more sparkly scales and red edging around their anal and dorsal fins.
A male has blue spots directly back from the eyes, and no spots near their mouth. A female has blue markings across the whole cheek.
Size and Shape: The males are bigger than the females with a longer and pointier dorsal fin. They also have a bigger head and a more defined and square jawline.
Behavior: During the breeding season, the behavior, colorations, and attitudes of the fish change. Males become much brighter and their turquoise flecks become more vibrant.
They also become much more aggressive and territorial than usual.
Females sometimes change color too. When she is feeling frisky, sometimes she becomes very dark. The blue specks on her gills and jaw become brighter.
(Even if after you’ve followed all the pointers listed above, and you still can’t tell, ask your local vet or expert.)
When the fish are born, and a juvenile, their coloration is dull. They don’t have any of the spots or sparkly scales Jack Dempsey fish are known for.
The colors develop slowly, taking a year or more to appear. When the fish matures, it becomes vibrant.
They have purple-gray skin, with iridescent scales all over. These come in the colors of light green, blue, and gold, varying in their shades.
There are two grey-black bars on their face. These extend from the top of the head to the eyes and are positioned between the eyes. They also have dark bars going vertically across the body.
Their colors change when they age. If they get stressed, they become paler, and their spots and markings are less vibrant. Of course, the male’s colors become brighter during the breeding season.
The Jack Dempsey is a medium-to-large fish, which grows to a maximum of an adult size of 10″, but the range is 8-10″, (20-25 cm). They are smaller in the wild than they are in the home aquarium
They have a lifespan of 10-15 years.
It starts with the breeding season. In the wild, it begins when the temperatures get warmer.
If you are planning to breed them, it’s best to have several fish. Six is a good starter. You’re likely to get more couples.
When the breeding starts, it can be a risky time for other fish in the tank. Watch the behavior of the Jack Dempsey Cichlids, especially the males. If they’re too aggressive, step in.
The males’ colors brighten, and their behavior becomes territorial. This is the time when they begin to pair off. Make sure the pair isn’t bothering the fish in the aquarium. If they are, you need to separate the couple from the others.
If you have a separate tank set up for breeding, put the breeding pair in there. If you don’t, place a divider in the tank.
Jack Dempsey fish are monogamous, and they mate for life.
Have a clean, flat surface for the fish to spawn and lay their eggs on. Flat rocks, upturned flowerpots, or something similar.
They prefer an enclosed spot.
The process of breeding goes like this. The female lays her eggs on the chosen spot. The male fertilizes the eggs after. The parents dig a pit around the area to hide the eggs from sight.
(It’s essential you don’t have plants near they could accidentally dig up!)
The clutch size depends on the female. On average, the female lays 500-800 eggs. Both parents guard the eggs protectively. The male gets even more aggressive at this point.
The eggs take three-six days to hatch. They’re looked after by the parents until they can move by themselves and become free swimming. This usually takes another four days.
By this time, they can eat.
Here are a few foods to consider. Powdered fish food, newly-hatched brine shrimp, and food designed for Cichlid fry. When they develop into juveniles, you can feed them the same food you give your adults.
Breeding Problems And Solutions
Jack Dempseys are easy to breed, but a few problems can arise.
#1 When the fry hatch, the parents split the jobs. The male looks after the territory, keeping everyone safe. The female tends to the unhatched eggs, the larvae and juveniles.
If the male neglects his responsibility or is too excited about it, this may infuriate the female. Usually, nothing happens. However, the parents may eat the eggs and larvae!
If this shows signs of happening, remove the male from.
#2 The female can lay up to 800 eggs. The aquarium may be too small to hold them all. If she shows signs of being overwhelmed, step in.
It may seem cruel, but it’s the best thing you can do. Take 50% to 70% of the fry out of the tank. You can use them as live food for other fish. This leaves the female to concentrate on the remaining hatchlings.
Despite all this, Jack Dempsey Cichlids are attentive parents. They look after their offspring well.
Looking After Your Jack Dempsey Cichlids
Plan your tank carefully to avoid problems. They are a medium-sized fish. A fifty-five gallon tank size is a good starting point, as it gives them plenty of space.
The bigger the area, the less likely they are to be aggressive.
However, if you have lots of fish in a community tank, go with a bigger tank size, something like a 100 gallon aquarium. Many aquarists recommend the dimensions of 4 ft, or if you can manage it, 5 ft.
Rocks, both flat and those that form caves and hiding places are integral to your tank. Make sure you place the stones first. Jack Dempsey Cichlids dig into the substrate.
If you like it to look natural, decorate it with bogwood.
With plants, you need tough, hardy ones that either grows on the bottom or are floating. Try not to have too many. The ideal ones are Anubias or the Java Fern.
Place the rocks and ground decor in a way that breaks up the aquarium into territories. Also, have vertical structures, so they have something to hide behind.
An important note. When you first buy them, they’re quite shy, awkward, and afraid of their new surroundings.
It’s best to introduce them to their tank mates right from the start.
When you introduce them, make sure the lighting isn’t too bright, and there are places for them to hide.
Tank Conditions & Water Conditions
Here are some guidelines of ideal water parameters.
Keep the aquarium water clean. It should have no nitrite or ammonia, so make sure to do regular water changes to prevent buildup.
You can allow some nitrate, but no larger than 40mg in a liter. You can achieve this with the help of a strong, quality biofilter.
Be sure the water is free of harmful nitrogen compounds.
Keep your lighting subdued. They don’t like bright lights.
They’re sensitive to pH instability and pollutants in the water. Restock 15-20% of the water every two weeks.
When you do the water changes, make sure to use a gravel cleaner. This removes the decomposing organic matter.
The recommended temperature range is 72–86 °F, (22–30 °C), with the best water temperature being 73-76 °F, (23-26 °C).
PH And Hardness
The pH: 6-7; the water hardness, 9-20 dGH.
Suitable Tank Mates
The smaller the tank, the more fish, the more the Jack Dempsey fish will feel cramped. In turn, it’s likely to be more aggressive. If you’re planning on tank mates, make sure you have a big tank.
Second, is how many Jack Dempsey Cichlids you are planning to keep? They work best with other fish in groups. If you have a pair for breeding, don’t have tank mates.
Third, is the fish that you choose for tank mates. They should be larger and have a peaceful/non-aggressive temperament, like community fish.
When they are juveniles, they get along well with other South American Cichlids. However, they become intolerant of these fish when they age. If any problems arise, move them into a separate tank.
Other Jack Dempseys Cichlids. This one’s a no-brainer. These fish are comfortable with their species.
Goldfish. The relationship works quite well.
Choose a big goldfish and a ‘common’ one, not a ‘fancy’ one. Common goldfish, for example, a koi, get to 14″, so they’re big fish.
Other Types Of Cichlids. Recommended species would be Firemouth Cichlids, Acaras Cichlids, Green Terrors, and Oscars.
Midas Cichlids. Similar in temperment and personality,
Kissing Fish. Avoid if you are a beginner, they are an excellent choice. These are peaceful fish, and they eat nearly the same food Jack Dempseys do.
Banded Corydora, also known as bearded catfish, reach around 4″ inches in length. This, along with its temperament and ease of feeding, makes it a good choice if you’re a beginner.
Catfish are a good idea. They’re large and mind their own business.
Their diet is omnivorous. In the wild, they eat crustaceans, other fish, insects, worms, and plant matter.
These fish will thrive if fed a carefully chosen and varied diet. If you do this, it has even been known to increase their lifespan.
Convict cichlids breeding: Hatching and taking care of the new born fry
Name: Convict Cichlid
Scientific Name: Amatitlania nigrofasciata
Size Of The Fish: Small/Medium
Temperament: Aggressive and Territorial
Aquarium Size Required: Medium
Where It Swims: All Areas
Care Difficulty Rating: Easy
Good Paired With: Convict Cichlids, Other Aggressive/Semi-Aggressive Cichlid Species
They come from several countries in Central American region. Guatemala, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Honduras.
They’re a freshwater fish species, usually found in streams and creeks. They seem to prefer a habitat of water bodies with a steady stream of running water.
They prefer habitats with hiding spots and protection. Such as rocks and branches that have fallen into the water.
The origin of the common name is simple. They have black stripes vertically across the body, similar to the uniform prisoners in Britain wore. These people were called convicts.
They’re sometimes known as Zebra Cichlids.
Their dark to light gray color skin make them recognizable. Though they’re not vibrant, they’re still an aesthetically pleasing fish.
How Do You Tell The Difference Between A Male And Female Convict Cichlid?
Here are a few pointers on how to tell the difference between a male and female.
Markings and Colours: Although the male and female have the same characteristic stripes, they’re colored differently. A male has grey color scales, and paler black lines.
What’s unusual about this cichlid fish is the female has more colors. When the female is breeding, she has an orange spot on her body.
She has dark stripes and orange to pink coloration on her dorsal fin and belly.
If the fish has spots on their dorsal fin or anal fin, they’re a male.
Size and Shape: The males are larger than females. Their fins are more longer and pointer, and often they end in tendrils. When a male matures; he develops a fatty lump on his head.
So, his cranium is bigger than females.
Behavior: Males have much more aggressive behavior and territorial in the breeding season.
(Even after you’ve followed the pointers listed above, and you still can’t tell, ask your local vet or expert.)
The usual coloration is blue-grey with around 8-9 black stripes. There are no differences between males and females until the fish reach maturity.
They aren’t as big as some others. In the wild, they’re much smaller than in the aquarium, the usual range being 1.5-3″ (4-7cm).
In the tank, males usually grow to about 6.5″ (17cm) long. Females are around 4.5″ long (11cm).
Their lifespan is 8-10 years. However, many sources say if they’re well cared for, they may live for much longer..
These fish breed readily, but they’re difficult to manage. This is due to Convict Cichlids behavior becoming very aggressive during the breeding season.
It’s crucial to monitor the fish. If you plan on breeding them, it’s best you aren’t a complete beginner.
Before the breeding process, raise the water temperature to 84 °F. Make sure you have flat rocks through the tank. These will be used to lay the eggs.
Have a separate breeding tank or a divider to separate the breeding pair from other fish.
The animal behavior of the males change, and they begin to pair off. (The courtship takes a long time.) Once there’s a pair, take them away from the others.
(Convicts have a different partner each breeding season, but only 1 at a time.) When they have begun breeding, renew ¼ of tank water regularly.
The female will lay her eggs in a spot of her choosing in the aquarium, usually one with a flat surface. The male will fertilize them. The average clutch amount is around 100-200. Then, they split the responsibility.
She looks after the eggs, and he guards her and their unhatched offspring fiercely.
(This is why it’s important to separate them from other fish.)
Like other cichlid species, these fish are attentive parents. The eggs hatch in around three days. The hatchlings can’t swim for another 2-3 days until they are freed from the yolk.
When this happens, they become free-swimming.
During this period, they are guarded by their parents. After this time, (it’s quite rare,) the male might become skittish, and could eat the juveniles.
If this happens, separate him from the female and the eggs.
The parents will continue to look after the fry for another 10-14 days. After that, they look after themselves. Once this happens, move the mother back into the usual aquarium.
Introduce the juveniles into the tank over time.
Once the convict fry have established themselves, start feeding them. You should feed them with milled live food and dry flakes and pellets. Also renew the water twice a week.
Looking After Your Convict Cichlids
They are remarkable when it comes to adaptability. In the wild, they live in a variety of habitats and conditions.
When you plan the tank for their care requirements, there are a few things to take into account. First, the layout of the decor. They prefer habitats with spaces they can hide. There should be plenty of hidey-holes.
(Arranging rocks or lying flower pots is a good idea.)
Other essential items in decor include plants and flat stones. (This is for the females to lay their eggs on if you choose to breed them.) Make sure the plants are tough and hardy.
These fish like to dig in the substrate, delicate plants can be ripped out.
Second, the minimum tank size is 52 gallons, (200 L) is an excellent place to start, for a pair. If you have a group or more fish in a community tank, go bigger.
It’s essential to have a powerful, external filter to mantain the water conditions. The constant flow of substrate into the water from the fish digging can make it clogged.
Temperature – They’re a tropical freshwater fish, from a warm climate. The best temperature range is 79–84 °F (26–29 °C).
PH And Hardness – For the pH 6.6–7.8 is best, and for the hardness, 6-8 dGH.
Convict Cichlid Tank Mates
Convict Cichlids are some of the most aggressive fish. They attack most fish, sometimes for no reason at all. If provoked, they can and will do damage.
They have sharp teeth and could injure the fish they are bullying.
This isn’t the best fish to keep with others, issues can and will arise. However, you can keep them with some, but under specific conditions, and particular species.
The community tank must be large enough for all the fish. You should also introduce your fish to their tank mates as early in their life as possible.
Adults are more aggressive than juveniles. The aggressiveness decreases if you introduce them early.
Make sure the fish you choose are large, as large as you can afford/accommodate. This minimizes the risk of them being attacked.
Keep them in pairs, not groups. If you have an established couple, don’t bother with tank mates.
Here is a list of the best tank mates.
More Of Their Species.
Other Cichlids. Make sure they are large and have aggressive/semi-aggressive demeanors. Like Firemouth Cichlids, Jewel Cichlids, Blue Acara, the Red Terror, Green Terror, Jack Dempsey and Yellow Lab Cichlids.
Other Large Fish. Like Tinfoils, Plecos, Irridescent Shark and Clarias.
What To Feed Convict Cichlid?
A convict cichlid diet is classified as omnivorous. In the wild, they eat a variety of things. Invertebrates, such as small insects and worms and they eat many types of algae and plant matter.
They aren’t fussy. Some have compared this fish to the Labrador, as it eats nearly everything you give them.
However, put thought and planning into their food. You don’t want a sick fish. These fish need a plentiful and varied diet.
Feeding them twice a day is best. Don’t make the amount too big.
(Also remove any uneaten food within 24 hours from the tank.)
Flake and Pellets: Many aquarists recommend Flake and Pellet Foods. Make sure the foods that you choose are high-quality, and well-rated by users. Remember to make sure it’s designed for this type of fish.
Live Foods: These fulfill the meaty requirements in their diet. Like Tubifex worms, brine shrimp, ghost shrimp, bloodworms, and Daphnia. They enjoy these. However, remember everything in moderation.
Other Options To Consider
Frozen Foods: Feeding them the same foods (Tubifex worms, brine shrimp blood worms, Daphnia,) just frozen, is an easy and convenient alternative.
Insects & Invertebrates: As we mentioned earlier, an integral part of their diet. If you can, feed them a few live insects every so often. They like Mosquito Larvae.
Things To Avoid
Overfeeding: This could make your fish sick.
Meaty Foods: Don’t feed them any meats humans eat, (lamb, chicken, beef, pork.) It’s bad for their digestive systems.
Popular Types Of Convict Cichlids
They’re a single species. However, there a few variants. They look quite different from the original, the black convict, because they’ve been bred with other colors.
Sometimes, there is a mutation in these fish known as “Leucism.” It happens in many animals, not only fish.
When an individual has this, the pigments in their skin and scales are weak. So the animal seems pale. (It’s not to be confused with Albinism, which is a complete lack of pigments.)
The colorations breeders have developed are gold, white and pink
Pink ones are the only variant to have an official classification, it being Convict Cichlid archocentrus nigrofasciatus.
Red Devil Cichlid Care – Predator Fish? Tank Mates?
Name: Red Devil Cichlid
Scientific Name: Amphilophus labiatus (Previously Known As Cichlasoma labiatum)
Size Of The Fish: 15.0 inches (38.10 cm)
Temperament: Extremely Aggressive and territorial
Aquarium Size Required: Extra-Large
Where It Swims: Around the bottom
Care Difficulty Rating: Medium
Good Paired With: Very aggressive. It’s best to keep a single pair together in a tank to themselves.
This freshwater fish comes from Central America in several lakes in Nicaragua, like Lake Managua or Lake Nicaragua. It has been introduced to Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and Singapore.
These freshwater fish were previously known as Cichlasoma labiatum. They like to inhabit open water and are rarely found in rivers.
They can be found swimming along rocks with crevices. The fish do this so if they need to retreat; so they can hide among the rocks.
Their habitat is very dangerous. It’s the only freshwater lake in Central America with a large bull shark population.
They have a lifespan of 10 to 12 years or more if looked after correctly and with care. This fish is called the Red Devil for a good reason.
It’s because it has aggressive behavior, large teeth and strong jaws.
They are usually a vibrant, rich red. These fish brighten any tank.
Their fins are pointed. especially the anal and dorsal fins. The usual red devil cichlid size is 15″ (38cm).
In the wild, they’ve been known to have dark brown to gray coloration which helps them to match their surroundings.
However, in the aquarium, they’re usually bright red, amber yellow and sometimes white. They have red thick rubbery lips that are occasionally black. In the wild, their mouths are larger.
Red Devil Cichlid Male Or Female?
Here is how to sex a red devil cichlid.
Markings and Colors: Males have a nuchal hump on their heads
Size and Shape: Males are larger than females and have more pointed anal and pelvic fins.
Behavior: During breeding season, males become aggressive and territorial.
Even if after you’ve followed all the pointers listed above, and you still can’t tell, don’t worry. You can ask your local vet or expert.
Breeding these fish isn’t the best idea for beginner breeders. They get temperamental when the breeding season rolls around, so you need to be careful.
Before you start the process, make sure the fish you are planning to breed are moved out of the tank. Else the other fish will be harassed endlessly.
Red Devil Cichlids are monogamous. Once they’ve chosen, they stay with this fish for the rest of their life.
Breeding season can become a hair-raising time for all fish in the tank.
The male ‘courts’ the female, which isn’t how we think of courting. They chase and harass the female. Some aquarists recommend using tank separators to give the female a break.
You wouldn’t want her to be hurt.
They will mate, and the spawning begins. Like other cichlids, put a flat rock for them to put their eggs. The female lays the eggs on the rock, and the male fertilizes them.
On average, she will have a clutch size of 600-700.
Provide plenty of hiding spots in the breeding area. This gives the opportunity for the fish to have a break from each other if needed.
Both parents protect and raise the eggs. The female looks after them will they are in the eggs, and they hatch after three to four days.
Once they have hatched, the parents will transfer the young fry into a pit dug in the sand. They live off their egg sacs for the first week, and after that, they become free swimming.
Now you need to feed them. The recommended food is artificial feed designed for Cichlid fry. Or, finely crushed flake foods. Once they are grown, you can feed them food you feed other Red Devil Cichlids.
Looking After Red Devil Cichlids
Red Devil Cichlids are easy to look after regarding tank maintenance and care. However, their aggressive nature puts them at a definite ‘medium’ care difficulty rating.
On tank conditions, they’re quite easy, provided you keep the tank water clean. They’re not a stickler for specific water, they have high tolerance levels. But keep within the requirements I’ve listed here.
Don’t keep them in a group, either a pair or by themselves.
Try to buy a female and male, and keep them in the tank together. Introduce them to each other as early as possible in life. When they become sexually mature, they’ll be ready for breeding.
This makes the breeding process much more manageable.
The smallest tank size for an individual fish is a 55 gallon tank (208 L). If you’re keeping a pair, you need something much bigger. A 150 gallon tank (568 L) is the optimal size for a couple.
Though they need a large aquarium, it’s worth it for all the issues you’ll avoid.
These fish need need hiding places. Sometimes, the couple need a break from each other. They’re also territorial, so make sure the tank is big enough each fish to have their territory.
Flat rocks are essential, as that is where (like most Cichlids) females do their spawning on. Red Devils love to dig, make sure the plants you put in are artificial.
This fish can tolerate most water conditions, keep in mind it will attack heater and filters. They also may damage aquarium equipment as well.
Secure them with suction cups to the walls. You can also hide them behind a series of rocks.
Put some stones on the sides of the tank. Rockwork makes these fish feel safe, gives them hiding places and mostly reduces aggression.
Put barriers on the heaters, so the fish don’t injure themselves.
A quick note on these animals, they can be suseptible to lateral line disease, or hole in the head disease.
IMPORTANT. Have a cover on the tank when you aren’t performing maintenance. Red Devil Cichlids have a nasty habit of jumping out of the aquarium.
Conditions Of The Tank
You need do water changes weekly. These fish are susceptible to changes in water conditions including pollutants and pH instability. Change 15-20% of the water.
Having a canister filter helps avoid unwanted water conditions.
Like Convict Cichlids, these fish are very messy! They produce a lot of waste. Consider having a dual filter. They also move decorations around, make sure everything is fastened down.
When you replace the water, clean the sides of the tank with a gravel cleaner to remove the build-up of decomposing organic matter.
These fish species don’t have specific lighting requirements, keep it normal.
Bottom Lining: The bottom of the tank needs to be lined with sand.
Water Current: The current in the water must be moderate.
Tank Temperature Red Devil Cichlids need a warm tank. The best tank temperature for these fish is 73-79 °F (23-26 °C). However, when it’s breeding time, the water temperature for the Red Devils will need to be 77 °F (25 °C).
pH and Hardness Their pH needs to be in the range of 6.0-8.0. The tank water needs to be very hard to keep the fish healthy. 6 – 25 dGH.
Suitable Tank Mates
Since this fish is aggressive, it isn’t such a good idea giving it tank mates. If other large males Red Devils are put in the tank with another male, they will try to kill each other.
They hunt down and kill any smaller fish species.
A male and a female pair will sometimes tolerate in the same tank.
Other large Central American fish would sometimes make suitable tank mates. Be sure they can protect themselves. (Examples, Firemouth Cichlids, Convict Cichlids, and Jaguar Cichlids.)
Give the fish plenty of hiding spaces such as rocks, wood, and artificial plants. Don’t bother with real plants.
You can keep Red Devils with other fish when it’s growing up. However, keep in mind. These fish won’t tolerate other fish in their tank when they’ve fully matured.
The only other fish they sometimes tolerate in the same tank is other Red Devils. However, it isn’t reliable, and the level of tolerance depends on the individual fish.
It isn’t guaranteed that putting more hiding spaces stop the fish from being aggressive. This is the same for the fish trying to get more territory and acting rudely to other fish.
In short, it’s best to keep the fish by itself, or in a couple.
What To Feed Red Devil Cichlid?
In the wild, they have a varied diet. Red Devil Cichlids eat worms, small fish, snails and other bottom-living creatures.
Since it’s an omnivore, it needs some vegetable food, but mostly meaty food. Have these fish on a varied diet, don’t overfeed them, and don’t give them the same food all the time.
On feeding frequency, they should have two to three feedings a day, of moderate amounts.
Crustaceans: Prawns or shrimp, whether frozen or fresh, make a good diet staple.
The flowerhorn cichlid is known among aquarists for its beautiful range of colors and big nuchal hump on the head of the males.
These include shades such as orange-red, gold, grey, blackish-grey, and other colors with pearls (silvery gray spots on their skin). Slightly aggressive and territorial, flowerhorns are spectacular fish.
A hybrid species with lots of different subspecies and variations, these fish can truly add the wow factor to your tank.
Here is my complete care guide, with all the information you need.
For a breeding pair: 150 gallons minimum (size varies based on the size of fish).
With tank mates: 215 gallons minimum.
Care Difficulty Rating: Intermediate
Good Paired With: In breeding pairs or by themselves, only good with other species when the flowerhorns juveniles.
Flowerhorn Cichlids are human-made in origin. As a result, they don’t have a natural habitat. These fish are never found somewhere naturally in the wild, if they are, they’ve been introduced by humans.
Red Devil, Trimac Cichlids, and Blood Parrot Cichlids were imported from Central America to Malaysia. The Red devil and the Blood Parrot were bred together, creating the Flowerhorn.
The fish were first produced in Malaysia, Thailand, and Taiwan. Asian fish hobbyists then took a liking to Flowerhorn Cichlids.
United States and European hobbyists keep flowerhorns, but importing Flowerhorn Cichlids is banned in Australia.
The first generation of Flowerhorn cichlids available on the market was the Hua Luo Han. These fish were bred in about 1998. Since then, their hybrids became quite popular.
The Seven Colors Blue Fiery Mouth (also known as the Greenish Gold tiger), was imported from Central America and crossbred with the Jin Gang Blood Parrot from Taiwan.
This breeding made the first breed of Hua Luo Han flowerhorn hybrids. Since the development of other varieties of strains, they’ve risen in popularity.
Their lifespan is about 10-12 years, 12 years being on the rarer end.
Note: The cichlid flowerhorn isn’t to be confused with the parrot cichlid or the blood parrot cichlid.
Though they’re all freshwater fish, the parrot cichlid comes South America, and the blood parrots are a hybrid.
Flowerhorns are among the most vividly colored in the cichlid world. Males are more colorful than females, and these fish also have a ‘nuchal hump’ or ‘Kok’ on their foreheads.
Both sexes of this freshwater fish have flat, long bodies, with long dorsal and anal fins extending to the tip of their tails. Their pectoral fins are translucent and much shorter than their others.
Both male and female fish can grow up to 30-40 cm in size.
One of the easiest ways to differentiating male flowerhorn cichlids from other fish is their hump on their forehead. Females don’t have any.
Flowerhorn fish come in an extensive range of assorted colors, from light to dark, purple to red and gold. Their eyes are usually always red with a dark pupil in the centre of their eye.
You’re sure to find your favorite color or type in the extensive range of flowerhorn cichlid strains.
How To Tell The Sex Of A Flowerhorn Cichlid?
Here are a few pointers to help you determine the sex of the fish.
Markings and Colours: Males have more pronounced and vivid colors than females, making them stick out more. Females have black spots on their dorsal fins, and the dorsal fin is quite short.
Another way to tell is the males of these south american cichlids tend to have longer dorsal fins and anal fins.
Size and Body Shape: Males have a different head shape, with a large nuchal hump on their forehead. Males are larger than females.
Behaviour: Another tell-tale trait is when it becomes breeding season, everything on the male’s body gets brighter, and their skin patterns become more vibrant.
These cichlids should successfully breed if you follow these steps and ensure they will be as comfortable as possible.
Just a warning, the aggression of the males hightens drastically during this time. Beginner breeders should avoid attempting to breed them.
Before you breed flowerhorns, note this: Most flowerhorns become fully-grown and prepared to reproduce at 1.5-2 years. You usually don’t need to interfere or encourage the spawning procedure.
First, put both cichlids in a tank in which size suits the measurements of the breeding pair.
In the breeding tank, there should be 3-4 females per one male fish, all the same species to avoid hybridization. Don’t get two males. Otherwise, both will try to kill the other.
When the female fish lays her eggs (usually on a flat surface in the breeding tank), the male fish fertilizes them.
If the male fish becomes hostile, you can separate him from the fry using a tank setup with a divider.
Two days later the eggs of the flowerhorns hatch and the youngster freshwater fish will begin swimming about after two days more.
If you can, place these young offspring fish in a separate fry tank away from the parents.
Flowerhorn Cichlid Care
Make sure to monitor your fish, as, unfortunately, it’s common for flowerhorns to suffer from diseases such as a hole in the head and digestive blockages.
The flowerhorn is a slightly high maintenance fish and needs a huge tank with excellent water quality, and a lot of water flow. It’s best to have a canister filter with powerful filtration.
They need lots of space in their aquariums.
Flowerhorns make a mess when they eat, and these fish thrive best in clear water.
The aquarium light should be muted and not too bright.
These fish like digging into the gravel substrate, so having plants isn’t the best idea, rocks are a better choice to have on the bottom.
You should also clean the water weekly, with regular water changes to keep the water conditions under control.
Seventy-five gallons is the minimum tank size for an individual. For a breeding pair, flowerhorns require 150 gallons or more. But it depends on the size of the fish.
Water Parameters – PH And Hardness
Keeping the hardness and pH in good order with frequent water changes is very important to the health of the flowerhorn cichlid. If the parameters aren’t right, the fish will get sick.
pH: 7.4 – 8.0.
Hardness: 9-20 dGH
Water Parameters – Water Temperature
The best water temperature for these flowerhorns is 78.8-86 degrees Fahrenheit.
Suitable Tank Mates
It’s best to keep these in a maximum of one breeding pair of these fish per tank, or one individual. Not one tank mate, even another flowerhorn.
You can raise flowerhorns together as juveniles, but once they reach adulthood, separate the adults fish, so each has their territory to make their own ‘homes.’
Avoid having other tank mates, especially those of different species, because fights and the other fish tankmates being hurt will be a common occurrence.
Their compatibility is essentially zero, they’re not the best community aquarium fish.
What To Feed Flowerhorn Cichlid?
You can feed these large fish directly from your hand, as flowerhorns generally aren’t afraid of you, but careful, as bolder ones will bite!
If the fish refuse to eat, usually a clear sign they’re sick, as these cichlids have a very hearty appetite, and though they’ll eat just about anything, make sure you feed them the correct food.
Fish keepers say to feed the flowerhorns about two to three times a day, and adjust the amount as necessary. They need a variety of different things in their diet, and lots of protein.
Who doesn’t love beautiful fish with bright, vivid coloration? They bring real interest to any tank, and cichlids are no exception when it comes to bright colors. Sometimes, your fish look a little dull.
Don’t worry. There is a solution. Choosing the right food, feed specially designed to enhance the color of the cichlid.
Here, I’ll review all the best cichlid food for colors.
Designed for cichlids with an enhanced formula for better nutrients and colors, this contains no artificial ingredients. New life Spectrum makes a variety of different cichlid foods, perfect for any need.
Feeding Directions – 1-2 times daily
Whole Antarctic Krill
Whole Wheat Flour
Whole Menhaden Fish* Ulva Seaweed
Omega-3 Fish Oil Marigold
Vitamin A Acetate
Vitamin D Supplement
Vitamin B12 Supplement
L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (Vitamin C)
Made in the USA
Full of great ingredients designed for happy, healthy fish
All sorts of cichlids love them
Will even satisfy picky eaters
Brings out colors quite well
The pellets are tiny, so may not suit larger cichlids
They sink, and uneaten ones might get lost in the substrate, making the tank messy
Here are some ways to help your African cichlids color improve.
Feed them live/freeze-dried foods and others as well so they get the nutrients they need
Make sure there’s not too much or too little tank lighting.
Make sure to do regular water changes to keep the cichlids healthy.
Here’s an excellent video by Cichlidscape on Youtube, explaining more solutions to this problem.
Why Are My African Cichlids Losing Color?
Here are a few possible reasons why your African cichlids are losing color.
They may not have a varied enough diet, commercial foods and pellets aren’t enough by themselves
The water quality might not be good enough
Perhaps there’s not enough tank lighting or too much tank lighting
Do Cichlids Change Color?
Yes, many cichlids do change color as they age, or to attract a mate during the breeding season.
Does Color Enhancing Fish Food Work?
Yes, color enhancing fish food does work if used correctly. To promote color enhancement, the foods contain high levels of carotenoids. A nutrient suited for creating brighter colors.
However, cichlids need a balanced diet, and commercial food with color enhancers alone doesn’t cut it.
Hopefully, this post helped you find the best food to help your cichlids showcase their beautiful, bright coloring. It’s sure to enhance the wow factor in their coloration and add real interest to your tank.
Do you have any product recommendations or general tips on how to enhance the color of your cichlids? I’m sure other readers would appreciate your knowledge, leave a comment below.
How To Guide: African Cichlid Peacock and Haplochromis Show Tank
Name: Peacock Cichlid
Scientific Name: Aulonocara nyassae
Group: Freshwater Fish
Size Of The Fish: Medium
Aquarium Size Required: Medium-Large
Where It Swims: On The Bottom
Care Difficulty Rating: Easy-Medium
Good Paired With: Other Small To Medium Community Fish, Other Peacocks
What is a peacock cichlid? The Peacock Cichlid, (Aulonocara nyassae) is one of the many African Cichlids. It comes from the family Cichlidae, which includes all known Cichlid species.
Many types of Peacock Cichlid come from Lake Malawi in Africa.
Cichlids are some of the brightest and vibrant fish. These indeed live up to the expectations.
They’re a sexually dimorphic species. The males and females have many physical differences.
Here are a few pointers on how to sex peacock cichlid.
Markings and Colours: Males are more colorful and vibrant than their counterparts. Especially in the breeding seasons.
Males sometimes have what’s called “egg spots,” on their anal fins. They are unusual, and they are unique to the tribe haplochromine.
According to Plos One, they seem to be for showing the male is healthy and may make it easier for the fish to find a mate. Some fish will go to the point of targeting others who don’t have egg spots.
Size and Shape: Usually, the males are bigger than the females, sometimes up to an inch (2.5cm) longer. The anal, dorsal and caudal fins of the male fish are longer.
Behavior: Males become flamboyant and aggressive in the breeding season, to impress the females. They also may become occupied with building a nest or cave, a suitable place for reproduction.
With the females, change in behavior is a bit more subtle. Two fish preparing to spawn will spend much time together. However, a group of females tend to ignore the other cichlids in the tank.
Breeding females often carry their eggs in their mouth to protect their young.
(If you still can’t tell, ask your local vet or expert.)
How big does a peacock cichlid get? Fully grown they reach lengths of 4-7 inches, (10-18cm).
Except in the breeding season, both sexes tend to lead solitary lifestyles. They’re territorial, but not overly aggressive.
If you want to breed them at home, here is a list of things to remember.
Set up a group of fish. A ratio of 1 male to 3-4 females is a good idea.
If you have different species in the same tank, make sure they look very different to avoid hybridization.
They lay and hatch eggs, and they’re mouth breeders. Once the eggs are laid and fertilized, the female keeps them in her mouth to protect them as they grow.
They are incubated and develop in her mouth for two-three weeks.
If the female is a first-time mother, she will lay around ten eggs. If she’s given birth before, she will lay around 30 eggs. Of course, it varies.
After the baby fish, (called fry), hatch, the mother looks after them for a week or so. Then they look after themselves.
How long does it take for peacock cichlid fry to hatch? Around 2 to 4 weeks.
How to tell if a peacock cichlid is holding? Here is an excellent video from Prime Time Aquatics explaining how to tell.
Looking After Peacock Cichlids
Cichlids from Lake Malawi are naturally aggressive. Often, when they are placed in an aquarium or similar confined space, there is usually an increase in aggressive behavior.
It’s essential to have a tank large enough to accommodate them. They need places to seek refuge, like aquarium plants or rocks.
Plan your tank carefully to avoid common problems. These include bigger fish preying on smaller ones and clashes between fish. It may prevent two different species breeding with each other. (Hybridization.)
The minimum recommended tank size (water capacity) is a 50 gallon tank. A 100 gallon tank is an excellent tank size for a group of fish.
Pick the size of your tank by 1/2 an inch of fish per gallon. As they swim in open water, tall tanks offer more space.
Despite many males being solitary, they do form schools. They swim together, feeding on the bottom of the lake.
In the aquarium, the fish forming schools is essential to minimize conflict. There are usually one male to 3-4 females, they’re polygamous. Keep this ratio to help the formation of schools.
They need lots of space to move around in. Their care and maintenance are like that of the Mbuna group.
Here is a care guide on ideal conditions for the tank to have.
They’re endemic to Lake Malawi and not very adaptable. They require fixed water parameters.
PH Levels And Water Hardness
In the natural conditions of their habitat, the water absorbs bicarbonate and calcium from the bedrock on the bottom of the lake.
The minerals release into the water, making it hard, and it has a neutral pH.
The pH needs to be 7.5 to 8.5.
Make sure the pH is the exact amount. If you put the fish in an environment with water parameters such as lower pH levels, it will stress them out, and it could contract diseases.
Lake Malawi is situated almost in the middle of the Tropic of Capricorn and the Equator. It has a tropical climate. The water is quite warm.
The recommended tank temperature for Peacock Cichlids is 74-80° Fahrenheit, (23-27° Celsius). Remember to maintain the water temperature steadily.
Sudden changes – even in the recommended range – make the fish uncomfortable. A useful tool to maintain the temperature is an aquarium heater.
The aquarium trade has created a few handy tools to make tank maintenance easier. Here are some of the best for these fish.
Rift Lake Salts
Rift Lake Salts create and maintain ideal water chemistry for your fish. They’re sometimes known as African Cichlid Salt. They contain bicarbonate and calcium, minerals prominent in Lake Malawi.
When you dissolve them in the tank water, the Rift Lake Salts maintain the pH and increase the hardness of the water. This imitates the water conditions of where these fish come from.
Dissolve it in a bucket of water before adding it to the tank.
The Cichlid Lake Salt by Seachem is an excellent choice, especially designed for African Cichlids, like the peacock cichlid.
This is like the natural processes of the rocks in the lake.
Suitable Tank Mates
Though protective of their territory, they can live alongside other species.
Here are some ideas for Peacock Cichlids tank mates.
Suggested companions include other cichlids, (preferably non-aggressive). Also other species with community temperament.
Other members of the tribe Peacocks come from, (haplochromine), share a similar temperament. Utaka Cichlids are an excellent choice.
Unsuitable tank mates are Zebra Cichlids and fish from the Mbuna genus.
Peacock Cichlids are insectivores. Unlike some of the other Lake Malawi Cichlids, whose diet consists mostly of vegetation. These are bigger and hunt in the open water, and have a much more varied diet.
They are a benthic species. This means they feed and live in the lower or deeper areas of water bodies, sifting through the substrate for food.
Feed them small amounts 2-3 times a day, rather than one big feed.
Remove any uneaten food from the tank. This prevents ammonia spikes and blockages in the filter.
Here is a list of what you should feed your cichlids, however, it’s best to look for specific guidelines depending on your cichlids.
Manufactured fish foods such as wafers, granules, and sinking or floating pellets.
Peas – (Slightly Blanched)
Zucchini – (Cut into small slices and lightly blanched)
Frozen and freeze-dried bloodworms
Can Tropical Fish Eat Cichlid Food?
Tropical fish can eat cichlid food, and cichlids can eat tropical fish food. Still, generally, it’s preferable if you feed them food specifically made for them.
How Often Should I Feed My Cichlids?
Two to three times daily. Feel free to lower that amount as necessary, wouldn’t recommend increasing it.
Of course, it depends on how much you feed them, how big they are and how many of them there are, and what type of cichlid. Refer to the food directions as a helpful guideline, and make your judgment.
What Vegetables Are Good For Cichlids?
Here’s a list of what vegetables are suitable for cichlids. Remember, it varies for different species.
Peas – (Slightly Blanched)
Zucchini – (Cut into small slices and lightly blanched)
What Do You Feed South American Cichlids?
Here is a list of recommended foods to feed south American cichlids.
Fish foods such as wafers, granules, and sinking pellets.
Peas – (Slightly Blanched)
Zucchini – (Cut into small slices and lightly blanched)
Frozen and freeze-dried bloodworms
How Much Food Should I Feed My Cichlids?
Start with little amounts and work upwards as necessary; don’t do the opposite. Use the directions on the packaging of the food you use as a guide, but adjust it as needed to the fish themselves.
All the products listed in this review were specifically designed for encouraging your cichlids to grow and maintain a healthy size. Hopefully, you found the right one to suit your tank and its occupants.
Another benefit, and arguably the most important, your fish will have the nutrients and vitamins to provide sustenance for them to stay healthy and happy.
Is there something missing from this article, or do you have a question? Let me know in a comment below.
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