Unlike many other cichlids, Cichla are picky
about certain water parameters. They are
particularly fussy about dissolved metabolites
in their aquarium water. Additionally, the
pH, hardness, and alkalinity are not crucial,
but it’s best if extremes are avoided. Nitrogen
compounds (i.e., ammonia, nitrite, and
nitrate) are best maintained at levels as close
to zero as possible.
Cichla temensis, juvenile.
a while, usually a short while, the Cichla
will immediately swallow anything that
is offered via the filter return. Once the
Cichla are actively feeding for a few days,
food can be offered in the more normal
way in the front of the aquarium. If the
Cichla show any signs of reverting back to
live food only, simply withhold food for a
few days again and start the process over.
Chances are they will not need a second
feeding lesson, however.
C. temensis should be fed until their bellies
are slightly rounded out (to satiation),
but never to the point where they look
completely distended. With juveniles, this
should be done daily, or at least every other
day. Sub-adults and adults can be fed to
satiation two or three times weekly.
The best way to maintain a stable, healthy
environment for C. temensis is through
regular partial water changes. Weekly or
bi-weekly water changes are preferred, but
monthly water changes are better than
none at all. It’s important to maintain
the proper temperature while performing
water changes with Cichla. Since they are
a warm-water-loving species, they need
temperatures in the upper 70s to low
80s Fahrenheit for daily maintenance, and
slightly elevated temperatures for breeding,
disease control, and treatment.
C. temensis is capable of being housed
with many species of fishes. However, while
it is true that they will prefer to consume
fishes much smaller than themselves, C.
temensis are perfectly capable of swallowing
others about one-third their size. That said,
make sure that any potential tankmates are
at least half of the size of your C. temensis
(two-thirds their size is even better).
Some potentially good tankmates for
inclusion in a tank with C. temensis are
various silver dollar species of the genera
Myleus and Metynnis, pacu Colossoma,
tinfoil barbs Barbonymus schwanenfeldii,
Satanoperca spp., Tilapia spp., waroo Uaru
spp., oscars Astronotus spp., and of course
C. temensis makes a fascinating fish for
the home aquarium as long as a large tank
is provided and the water quality is kept
in good standing. They exhibit unique and
interesting behavior; this can be similar
to the dog-like antics of oscars, since
they have the ability to recognize their
caretakers, which is made obvious by their
excited tail thrashing and other gestures.
Tankmates can be tricky, but there are
many that are acceptable, as long as their
general size and aggression are taken into
account. As long as these conditions are
met, hobbyists should do quite well with
this exciting tankbuster.