the way if the aquarium is large enough;
otherwise, it’s best to house them separately.
S. acuticeps is not only smaller than its two
cousins but also, in my experience, less
aggressive, so this species is often harassed
by well-grown S. daemon or S. lilith males.
A frequent example of aggressive behavior
in these species is mouth-wrestling, where
the fish lock mouths and push each other
this way and that.
If you intend to keep S. acuticeps, it is
advisable to add some companion fish, such
as dwarf cichlids, angelfish, or Corydoras
catfish, to make them bolder. S. daemon
is a typical blackwater cichlid, so soft and
acidic water, ideally filtered through peat, is
an ideal living environment.
Keep in mind that these species grow to
a fairly large adult size. I once had a wild-
caught S. lilith that exceeded 12 inches
( 30 cm) in length. S. daemon is no dwarf,
either, as it can easily exceed 8 inches ( 20
cm), and some specimens might approach
12 inches ( 30 cm). S. acuticeps is somewhat
smaller, typically growing to 8 to 10 inches
( 20 to 25 cm). Considering this, they
require really big tanks to be kept properly,
and to manage aggression.
These fish grow slowly, and if you buy a
group of six to eight young specimens, they
will eventually pair off on their own. The
ideal accommodation for them, considering
their eventual adult size, would be a tank
of about 80 inches (200 cm) long, 30
inches ( 80 cm) wide, and 20 inches ( 50
cm) high—in other words, a pretty big
aquarium. But such a setup is a wonder
to behold, especially if it includes plants,
high-powered lighting, and a natural
background. But most important, such a
tank would be a good approximation of the
spotted demon fishes’ natural biotope.
S. daemon is distinguished by the three spots along the side of its body and tail.
S. lilith can be identified by its two-spot body pattern, as well as colors that are somewhat
less subdued than the other spotted demon fish.