August 8, 2014
August 08, 2014 • Leave a Comment
August 8, 2014
I’m back! That’s right. I haven’t gone anywhere in the shop, other than to change duties and continue to keep up with orders and providing quality fish to you with the help of my employee, Gabe. With Jess on a hiatus this week, being lost somewhere in the Oregon woods, it gives me an opportunity to fill your heads with more South America! This week we have a treat for you…
For the first time this year, we are very proud to offer one of my personal favorite dwarf cichlids, Dicrossus filamentosa “Checkerboard Cichlid” hailing from the countries of Colombia and Venezuela. In these lands filled with vast jungles, the Checkerboard Cichlid is found in small streams among the tributaries of the Rio’s InÃrida, Maripa, and the Orinoco basin. The bottoms of these forest streams are typically flooded with leaf litter, roots from the trees, and soft sands. There are virtually no plants, with the exception of some near the bank.
Despite the lack of “greens” in their homeland, the Checkerboard is a very popular fish for the planted aquaria. This is due to the incredible colors packed into such a petite animal. Maturing around 3-3.5”, males display remarkable reds, blues, and greens that flicker like a starry night in the desert against their bold checkerboard patterned bodies. The caudal fins on the males grow long, almost lyretail-like extensions. While the females stay around the 2-2.5”, with less remarkable markings, they do develop bright salmon red ventral fins to attract their potential mate.
When a pair is ready to spawn, they will clean off a large leaf or rock to spawn upon. I found that using Anubius barteri or a related species works the best for this. Keeping a group of about 6 individuals in a 20 gallon tank allows pairs to “naturally” form. Reports state that if you are attempting to breed them you’ll need a pH below 5. However, I have found that a range of 6-6.5 (these conditions are also ideal for long term housing) works just as well. The temperature needs to be between 82-84° in order for the eggs to hatch properly after a couple of days. Once they hatch, you may introduce Artemia to rear the fry. Of course, separating the parents from the babies is the best method to allow for the best survival rate.
Now a tank full of little cichlids is grand and all, but most hobbyists are probably not going to dedicate space to one particular item. You’re probably wondering what other fish you can keep with them at this point. As these fish come from South America, other small cichlids from that of the Apistogramma family work well, provided that your tank is large enough. I would recommend these if you have a tank at least 4 feet in diameter and have provided enough hiding places for both. Small Characins such as Paracheirodon simulans “Green Neon Tetra” make wonderful occupants to hang about our shy dwarf cichlids as well. I will say that this week our Green Neons came in at a wonderful size and are more than ready to ship with the Checkerboards!
I hope you enjoyed hearing from me this week. I know my style of writing is a bit different than Jess’, so thank you all for reading. Be sure to check our stock list for new items, and I’ll be happy to start bagging these up for you on Monday!
Have a wonderful weekend!
The Wet Spot Tropical Fish
4310 NE Hancock St.
Portland, OR. 97213
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