Cichlidae. Subfamily: Cichlasomatinae
Blackwater rivers and tributaries. The water in these biotopes is typically stained brown with tannins from decaying organic material and is very acidic as a result. This species is often found in marginal areas around submerged tree roots and branches.
Maximum Standard Length
Aquarium SizeTop ↑
48″ x 15″ x 15″ (120cm x 37.5cm x 37.5cm) – 175 litres
Provide a well planted tank with areas of open swimming space. A sand substrate is recommended as this fish likes to dig. Other decor in the form of bogwood, branches and smooth stones can also be used. Lighting levels are not critical and can be matched to the requirements of the plants used.
Temperature: 22 – 29° (72 – 84°F)
pH: 6.0 – 7.0
Hardness: Up to 10°H
Omnivorous. Accepts most foods in the aquarium. Feed a good quality cichlid pellet as a staple. Supplement this with foods such as bloodworm and brineshrimp or small pieces of prawn and white fish for larger severums. Will also appreciate some vegetable matter in the diet in the form of algae wafers or blanched greens.
Behaviour and CompatibilityTop ↑
Not a particularly aggressive species, although males may squabble with conspecifics. May be kept as part of a larger cichlid community or with other robust species such as larger characins and barbs. Much smaller fish will almost certainly be eaten.
Limited reports of breeding in the hobby, as the fish is not often seen for sale.
Breeding is likely to follow similar patterns to heros severus where the pair will select a flat stone, or sometimes excavate a pit. Once the breeding area is prepared, eggs will be deposited by the female and then fertilised by the male. Both fish guard the eggs and when the fry hatch two to three days later, they are transferred to a pit where the parents keep them until they become free-swimming. This is usually 3 – 4 days after hatching. Both fish assume parental duties but can be easily spooked often leading to them eating the fry. It is advisable that the breeding tank be placed in a quiet location and distrubed as little as possible.