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Etroplus maculatus (Orange Chromide)

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Small, peaceful cichlid well-suited to hard and brackish water aquaria. Available in two varieties. The wild-type morph is greenish with an orange belly and a number of dark spots on the flanks. In breeding condition develop large dark areas that cover the side of the fish. The artificial morph is bright orange or yellow and the markings on the side are absent or at least less distinct. Males and females are difficult to tell apart, so it is best to keep a group and allow them to pair off naturally.

Fish information (behaviour and breeding):

Peaceful, although breeding fish can be territorial. Feeds on all small aquarium foods, though live foods and frozen bloodworms are particularly enjoyed and make good conditioning foods. Very delicate if kept without salty water but hardy in slightly brackish water. Mixes well with mollies, glassfish, gobies, and other small brackish water fish. Cannot be adapted to strongly brackish or marine conditions.

Readily breeds in aquaria. Lays eggs in a cave (such as a small flower pot) and both parents protect the eggs and fry. Newly hatched fry graze on the mucous on the sides of the parents, and later take small live foods such as brine shrimp nauplii as well as general aquarium detritus.

Family Group: Asian Cichlids
Distribution Sri Lanka and India
Temperature 24-27C
Size Around 9cm
Water Parameters Brackish conditions are required
Water PH 7.0-8.0, SG 1.001-1.005

Useful sources of information:

These and other brackish water fish are nicely covered in the Aqualog book called Brackish Water Fishes by Frank Schäfer. To buy a copy of this book click here

Also see the entry on chromides at the Brackish Water Aquarium FAQ