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Red-finned Pike Cichlid

red-finned pike cichlid

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Scientific NameCrenicichla johanna     
Min. Tank Size:   200 gallons      
Personality:   Can be aggressive      
Temperature 74-80°F      
pH:   6.0-7.0/5-18°dGH     
Size:   12"      
Diet:   Carnivore      
Breeding:   Egglayer      


Best kept in a species tank or with other large Cichlids too large to be considered food.

Red-finned Pike Cichlid

A fairly popular species in the aquarium trade, the Red-Finned Pike Cichlid is widely distributed throughout South America. These fish can be found in various river basins including the Rio Essequibo in Guyana, the Rio Amapa in Brazil and the Rio Orinoco in Colombia. This species tends to inhabit quickly moving rivers and streams but has been found in a variety of habitats. The coloration of these fish varies according to the locality, but most specimens exhibit a dark lateral band accompanied by a red band running parallel above it. Males of the species also usually exhibit red coloration on the fins - hence the name Red-Finned Pike Cichlid.

Tank Set-up

In the home aquarium, provide these Cichlids with a dark, sandy substrate and well oxygenated water with a strong flow to mimic their natural riverine habitat. The tank should be relatively large (150 gallons or more) and provide plenty of cover in the form of large rocks and caves. Decorations may include live plants and large driftwood branches. Plants should be placed in pots surrounded and secured by large rocks, or attached to driftwood, since this fish is likely to do some rearranging of the tank.  Red-Finned Pike Cichlids can be fairly aggressive in nature, particularly toward conspecifics. However, these fish can be kept with other large Cichlids - any fish small enough to fit into the Pike Cichlid's mouth will likely be considered prey.


In the wild, Red-Finned Pike Cichlids are not merely carnivorous but piscivorous, meaning they primarily eat other fish. To ensure that these fish get all the nutrients they need, it is wise to gut-load feeder fish with nutrient-rich foods and vitamin supplements. Any feeder fish used should be quarantined for a week or so as a safety measure to prevent any diseases from entering the aquarium. Over time you may be successful at getting this fish to accept Cichlid pellets. Captive bred fish will generally take to pellet food more readily than wild caught fish.


Red-Finned Pike Cichlids are cave spawners which means that they tend to lay their eggs in caves and crevices. Though this species has not been successfully spawned in captivity, it is possible that is can be spawned following similar procedures for other cave-spawning Pike Cichlids. Once spawning occurs, the female may tend to the eggs and fend off intruders until they hatch.

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