The genus Cichlasoma

The genus Cichlasoma originates from Central and South America. These fish are considere as potentially aggressive, especially during spawning, though some species remain reasonably peacable. Because of their temperament and their size, it is important to keep them in large tanks: 200 liters for the smaller species and at least 400 liters for the largest. The decor should consist of rockwork and sturdy plants. These fish are omnivorous; there is no problem keeping them in captivity, but be aware that they are quite voracious. In general, the female is smaller than the male. She lays her eggs on a rigid surface which she has previously mouthed clean; the male then fertilizes them. After some 2 days incubation, they are carried to nursery pits hollowed out of the sand to encourage them to hatch. The hatchlings remain there for a few days, while the male defends the territory.

• Cichlasoma citrinellum

The Midas cichlid is rather aggressive, requiring a sizable tank: at least 500 liters. The golden yellow coloration is less common in the wild, where most specimens are more or less gray. Size: 30-35 cm.

• Cichlasoma citrinellum

The Midas cichlid is rather aggressive, requiring a sizable tank: at least 500 liters. The golden yellow coloration is less common in the wild, where most specimens are more or less gray. Size: 30-35 cm.

Cichlasoma crassum

Quite timid and tranquil, despite reaching up to 30 cm in length, the Chocolate cichlid can be recognized by its bulbous forehead. A native of the Amazon basin, requiring soft, acidic conditions and a large tank. •

Cichlasoma (or Parapetenia)salvini

The adults of Salvin's cichlid are belligerent, but they take good care of their fry (several hundred per brood) which become free-swimming 5-6 days after hatching. A 250-liter tank containing hard, alkaline water, is perfect for these fish, with some sturdy water plants as a finishing touch. Size: 15 cm.

Cichlasoma (or Parapetenia)salvini

The adults of Salvin's cichlid are belligerent, but they take good care of their fry (several hundred per brood) which become free-swimming 5-6 days after hatching. A 250-liter tank containing hard, alkaline water, is perfect for these fish, with some sturdy water plants as a finishing touch. Size: 15 cm.

Cichlasomamaculicauda

The blackbelt cichlid is equally intolerant, especially of conspecifics. The female is capable of producing up to 1,000 eggs and the parent fish nurse the young for 3 weeks. The species prefers alkaline and moderately hard water similar to that found in their home waters of Central America. Size: 15-20 cm.

CICHLIDAE: AMERICAN SPECIES

Mesonauta festivus (Old genus name Cichlasoma)

Unlike other Cichlids, the flag cichlid - sometimes called the festive cichlid, and not to be confused with the other flag cichlid, Aequidens curviceps - lays its eggs on vertical surfaces, while the larvae are subsequently attached to another support by the parents. A temperamental fish: keep it separate from smaller species. Size: 20 cm.

• Cichlasoma labiatum

Easily distinguishable from related species by its large, blubbery lips, this species is commonly known as the red devil, and is aggressively territorial. It is best to separate the parent fish from the young after hatching. It is easy to mistake the fast-growing juveniles for the golden cichlid. Size: 20-25 cm.

Cichlasomanicaraguense

The males of the spilotum grow up to 25 cm in length, but the females are distinctly smaller, and display brighter coloration during spawning. The eggs are not adhesive - a rarity among Cichlids - and are deposited at the bottom of a nursery pit dug into the aquarium bed.

Cichlasomaoctofasciatum

For a long time sold commercially under the name C. biocellatum, the Jack Dempsey (named after the boxer) is properly called C. octofasciatum. A bad character, this, and likely to savage the decor! On the plus side, it spawns prolifically, producing 500-800 eggs. A'n interesting subject for the more experienced aquarist moving on to Cichlids. Size: 20-25 cm.

Cichlasoma cyanoguttatum

The Texas cichlid has a color pattern which varies according to its origin. Because of its size and behavior - it is vigorously territorial - it requires a large aquarium. Water should be alkaline and reasonably hard. The female lays up to 600 eggs. Size: 30 cm.

Thorichthysmeeki (Old genus name Cichlasoma)

To intimidate other fish, T. meeki enlarges its opercles (gill-covers), deploying its brilliant red throat membrane, which has earned it the common name of firemouth cichlid. Despite its small size, it is actually quite belligerent. The dorsal and anal fins of the male are more pointed. The female lays up to 1,000 eggs, which hatch in 48 hours; the fry are free-swimming 4 days later. Size: 10-15 cm.

A CICHLASOMA FOR BEGINNER

Cichlasoma bimaculatum, the two-spot cichlid, has a fairly calm temperament and is a good subject for the hobbyist wishing to gain experience with Cichlids. Its relatively modest size (15 cm maximum) means it can be kept in a 200-liter tank with slightly smaller fish such as some of the Characins. The water should be soft and acidic. The female lays up to 200 eggs, and the fry grow rapidly.

Cichlasoma

The convict cichlid is a territorial fish which you will often find playing bulldozers in your aquarium! It is best therefore to avoid plants or delicately positioned rockwork. Selective breeding has gradually evolved a xanthochromic (golden) variety, which is just as belligerent. Both strains can interbreed with the redheaded cichlid, but the hybrids inherit the convict's behavior patterns. Size: 15-20 cm. •

Cichlasomasynspilum

Despite its considerable size, the redheaded cichlid is fairly well behaved with other species, provided they respect its territory. Obviously, it requires huge amounts of space, but spawns easily, with the female capable of producing 800 eggs. Size: 30 cm.

Cichlasomasynspilum

Despite its considerable size, the redheaded cichlid is fairly well behaved with other species, provided they respect its territory. Obviously, it requires huge amounts of space, but spawns easily, with the female capable of producing 800 eggs. Size: 30 cm.

Cichlasoma nigrofasciatum

Xanthochromic variety.

Cichlasoma nigrofasciatum

Xanthochromic variety.

Herosseverum

A native of the Amazon basin, the severum thrives in soft, acidic conditions. Relatively tranquil except during spawning, it is one of the least prolific species of Cichlid, with the female laying only a hundred or so eggs in a clutch. Size: 20 cm.

Herosseverum

A native of the Amazon basin, the severum thrives in soft, acidic conditions. Relatively tranquil except during spawning, it is one of the least prolific species of Cichlid, with the female laying only a hundred or so eggs in a clutch. Size: 20 cm.

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