freshwater community4


Keyhole Cichlid

keyhole cichlid

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Scientific Name:  Cleithracara maronii      
Min. Tank Size:   40 gallons      
Personality:   Peaceful      
Temperature:   72-77°F      
pH:   6.0-7.5/5-15°dGH      
Size:   5"      
Diet:   Omnivore      
Breeding:   Egglayer      


Can be kept in the general community tank; possible tank mates include Pencilfish, Hatchetfish, Tetras, Corydoras, Catfish and other Cichlids such as Angelfish, Discus and Rams.

Keyhole Cichlid

Though once classified as an Acara, the Keyhole Cichlid is now the sole member of the genus Cleithracara. These fish are named for the keyhole-shaped markings visible on either side of the body near the dorsal fin. These markings are typically accompanied by a full or partial dark, vertical stripe running through the eye of these fish. Most specimens of this species exhibit an overall silver or gray coloration with colorless fins. The Keyhole Cichlid is a South American Cichlid and can be found in Suriname, French Guiana, Venezuela and parts of Trinidad and Tobago. These fish tend to inhabit slow-moving waters such as clear streams and tributaries where the water is stained with tannins from leaf litter and decaying wood.

Tank Set-up

In the home aquarium, Keyhole Cichlids prefer dimly lit tanks with dark substrate. These fish can be somewhat shy, so they appreciate having plenty of cover in the form of floating plants with easy access to hiding places in the form of rock caves and pieces of driftwood. Because this species comes from slow-moving waters, water flow in the tank should be minimal. Keyhole Cichlids are very tranquil in nature and are thus one of the best Cichlid candidates for the general community tank. These fish can be kept with Pencilfish, Tetras, Hatchetfish, Corydoras and other peaceful Cichlids like Angelfish, Discus and Rams.


Keyhole Cichlids are likely to accept most types of food and should be offered a variety of live, frozen and freeze-dried foods in order to ensure that their nutritional needs are met. Feed a varied diet consisting of a good quality Cichlid pellet along with bloodworms, brine shrimp, and tubifex. A varied diet will will help to promote optimum health and coloration.


Breeding Keyhole Cichlids is fairly simple and the fry are easy to raise. To increase the chances of a successful spawning, separate the breeding pair into a designated breeding tank filled with soft, acidic water. These Cichlids tend to spawn on flat rocks, though they may lay their eggs on the tank bottom if no rocks are available. Average brood size includes several hundred eggs and, after spawning, both parents will care for the eggs, fanning them to prevent fungus.

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