Temp: 78-82° F
Max. Size: 8-10″
Native to: Rio Negro South America
The Geophagus pellegrini tolerates a wide range of water conditions, including hard water. Currently, it is difficult if not impossible to find this majestic species in North American aquariums and hardly ever available in any petstore. Females remain 2″ smaller than males. Sexually mature males show a red-orange color all over the body. Males also have a slight hump on the head. They are a very peaceful species and must be kept with tankmates that are peaceful as well. Breeding takes place in typical eartheater fashion. Females are ovophilous and brood for 12 days. After 12 days, the females will release her brood and take them back in her mouth for an additional 5 days.
Many cichlid enthusiasts consider the Geophagus as the crown jewel of the Cichlidae family. Though territorial like other cichlids, the Pellegrini is relatively peaceful in larger aquariums with plenty of hiding locations. As this beautiful fish matures it develops elongated spines on the dorsal fin that have a thread-like appearance.
Geophagus do best in roomy, 40 gallon or larger aquariums that offer plenty of shelter amongst rocks and plants. Like other cichlids, this fish is known for its disruptive digging. Therefore, care needs to be taken with the placement of aquatic plants. However, the constant digging does help clean your aquarium substrate. In fact, many aquarists attribute the Geophagus with excellent cleaning skills.