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Nicaraguan Cichlid

nicaraguan cichlid

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Scientific Name:  Hypsophrys nicaraguensis      
Min. Tank Size:   100 gallons      
Personality:   Mildly aggressive      
Temperature:   75-82°F      
pH:   7.2-8.2/8-20°dGH      
Size:   10"      
Diet:   Omnivore      
Breeding:   Egglayer      


Best kept in pairs; in very large tanks can be kept with large Barbs, Characins, armored Catfish and other Cichlids.

Nicaraguan Cichlid

Also called the Macaw, Parrot or Butterfly Cichlid, Nicaraguan Cichlids are a popular species among Cichlid keepers. These fish are Central American Cichlids, native to Nicaragua and Costa Rica where they tend to inhabit slow-flowing waters such as lakes and rivers. This species of Cichlid exists in several different color forms, depending on locality. Most specimens exhibit gold or copper coloration accented with an iridescent blue color in the head region. Many Nicaraguan Cichlids also have dark spots on the fins as well as a dark band running along the lateral line.

Tank Set-up

The ideal tank setup for these fish would include rocks and pieces of driftwood arranged in such a way to provide plenty of cover. The Nicaraguan Cichlid prefers caves large enough for both fish to enter together. Because this species tends to dig, a 3 to 4 inch deep substrate of sand or fine gravel would be recommended. Any live plants used may likely be uprooted. If you prefer live plants, try species that can be attached to driftwood such as a Anubias and Java Fern or Java Moss.


Nicaraguan Cichlids will accept almost any kind of food they are offered. In the wild, these fish feed on  detritus, plant matter and crustaceans, but in captivity aren't very picky and will typically accept live and frozen foods, such as blood worms, brine shrimp, prawns, and earthworms as well as algae flakes and blanched vegetables. Feed a regular varied diet for optimum health and coloration.


Breeding Nicaraguan Cichlids is possible, but it can be difficult to obtain a compatible pair. It may be best to start with a group of juvenile fish and wait for them to pair off naturally. Once you have a breeding pair, condition them separately and introduce them into a breeding tank decorated with rock caves. These fish are cave spawners, laying non-adhesive eggs in caves and pits in the substrate. The eggs typically hatch after 2 or 3 days adn the fry become free swimming after an additional 3 to 5 days.

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