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Cichla temensis (Spotline Peacock Bass)

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Cichla temensis is distinguished from the other species in the genus by the four or more rows of pale spots arranged on the flanks. These are most apparent on juveniles and subadult fish, become less obvious on older adults. This species requires warmer than average conditions to do well.

All Cichla are robustly built, powerful but brightly coloured fishes. Juveniles are especially attractive, but this should not tempt aquarists into keeping these fishes without first confirming they can house the adults. Even in aquaria, these fish regularly exceed 50 cm in length, and a huge aquarium is required to house them properly.

Sexual dimorphism is not apparent except that older males may develop a nuchal hump.

Fish information (behaviour and breeding):

Peacock bass are large, aggressive, predatory fishes only questionably suitable for the home aquarium. In the wild they tend to be active swimmers chasing down their favoured prey, characins of various types. In the aquarium they become more lethargic, generally treading water in some shady corner of the tank. Still, they are easily spooked and will jump out of the aquarium if alarmed.

While piscivores in the wild, Cichla are adaptable at feeding time in the aquarium. Robust live foods like earthworms and river shrimps are enjoyed, and eventually alternatives including frozen lancefish and cichlids pellets will be taken as well.

Choosing tankmates is difficult because they will attempt to eat anything much smaller than they are. Large armoured catfish, arowana, pacu and similarly sized cichlids like tilapia have been kept with them but in any event it is critical that the peacock bass is not substantially larger than the tankmate chosen. They are territorial and are particularly aggressive towards their own species.

Decorate the tank with large rocks, bogwood and plastic plants to create areas of shade as well as providing lots of open swimming space. Filtration must be superb: aim for a system providing at least eight times the volume of the tank in turnover per hour. These fish are basically hardy, but they will not tolerate high levels of nitrogenous waste, so optimal filtration and big, regular water changes are essential.

Breeding is uncommon in aquaria due to the sheer size of the fish and the difficulty in establishing a stable pair of fish. But once paired off, spawning these cichlids is not difficult. Up to 1000 eggs are produced, and they have proven to be reliable and diligent parents.

Family Group: South and Central American Cichlids
Distribution South America: Amazon River system
Temperature 27-29 C
Size To 99 cm
Water Parameters Soft and slightly acidic water preferred
Water PH 5.5-6.5