freshwater community4


Chessboard Cichlid

chessboard cichlid

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Scientific Name:   Dicrossus filamentosus      
Min. Tank Size:   40 gallons      
Personality:   Peaceful      
Temperature:   77-82°F      
pH 4.5-6.5/0-3°dGH      
Size:   3.5"      
Diet:   Carnivore      
Breeding:   Egglayer      


Can be kept in the community tank; best kept with others of its own species and should not be paired with aggressive tank mates.

Chessboard Cichlid

Also called the Lyretail Checkerboard Cichlid, the Chessboard Cichlid is not often seen in the aquarium hobby. Tank raised specimens are not that common in the local fish stores, but a specialty dealer might be found with a little digging on the internet. These fish are named for the dark blotches ornamenting the sides of their bodies which resemble the pattern on a chessboard. The overall coloration of most specimens is light brown and many Chessboard Cichlids exhibit light blue stripes edging on the dorsal and caudal fins. This species is native to South America and can be found in the Rio Negro and Upper Rio Orinoco basins in Brazil, Venezuela and Columbia. These fish tend to inhabit small forest streams where the bottom is covered with a branches, roots and leaf litter.

Tank Set-up

In the home aquarium, Chessboard Cichlids prefer dark substrate and the ideal decorations include live plants, ceramic flowerpots and pieces of driftwood to serve as cover. Dim lighting is recommended for this species and filtration should not be too strong. Chessboard Cichlids are relatively peaceful in nature and can be kept in community tanks. Because they tend to be skittish, this species is best kept with several of its own species and should not be paired with aggressive tank mates.


These fish have fairly small mouths so their diet should consist of small live and frozen foods such as bloodworms, Daphnia and brine shrimp. Feed a varied diet for optimum health and condition.


Breeding Chessboard Cichlids can be accomplished in the home aquarium, but captive-bred specimens are much easier to breed than wild-caught specimens. The most important factor in successfully breeding these fish is the water parameters. The breeding tank should be filled with soft, acidic water - if the pH is not naturally around 4.5 it may be necessary to use a reverse osmosis unit to lower the pH. If spawning does occur, the fish will lay their eggs on hard surfaces in the tank and they will hatch about two days later.

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