One of a number of South American Cichlids known as "earth-eaters", these fish often forage by sifting the substrate. The Brasiliensis is one of the easiest of this group to keep and it also breeds quite readily. Well suited to large aquaria with other hardy fish of similar size such as Oscars, Plecostomus etc. Larger specimens are excellent display fish, with prominent mother of pearl spots all over their body and fins. Males can grow to 20-25cm, the females remain slightly smaller.
More than 225 species, with estimates of 300 species, of cichlids are found throughout South America. An estimated 75% of these inhabit the mighty Amazon River Basin. Cichlids are also found in Central America, where they are well-known for their pugnacious behavior and their stunning colors. Most of these cichlid are large, thus requiring large tanks. These fish inhabit most types of water ways throughout Central America including lakes, streams, rivers, even underground water sources.
Their colorful appearance, the many different species available, their behavior and their breeding are just some of the reasons the Cichlids are one of the most popular aquarium fish.
Due to their aggressive behavior, the tank for cichlids should be as large as possible, with its length being more critical than its height; meaning the longer the better.
In the Cichlid tank there must be places of refuge. These can be rock caves, large pieces of driftwood or even inverted flowerpots. Most large species of Cichlids will dig up the substrate material, and occasionally will remove plants from the substrate. The Angelfish, Discus and the dwarf species Apistogramma all prefer a densely planted tank.
The water temperature should be in the range of 24-28 degrees celsius, slightly higher for the Discus. The diet should consist of live and frozen food of all kinds as well a large flake staple food. Large specimens can be feed Earthworms, garden Crickets and kitchen leftovers.