Amatitlania sajica

Aquarium fish: Amatitlania sajica (Cryptoheros sajica)
Size: 13 cm
Origin: America
Water temperature: 24-29 ° C
Aquarium volume: 112 l

Amatitlania sajica (Cryptoheros sajica ) – freshwater aquarium fish from the cichlid family. Closely related to the zebra cichlid .


Central America. It occurs in lakes, rivers, streams, watercourses with moderate and strong currents, with a rocky or gravelly bottom in Costa Rica.

Characteristics and disposition

Males of this species can reach up to 13 cm in length, smaller females up to 10 cm.

The base of the body in shades of light brown. The fry are gray-brown and thus not attractive, which may discourage their purchase. The body acquires olive-yellow-blue shades over time. Male fins turn red or blue, and female fins yellow. There are 7 dark, faint, vertical stripes running along the body.

The third one is usually more visible and forms the letter T together with the horizontal strip passing from the gill covers, hence the common name of the cichlid – T-bar Cichlid. Adult males are larger, slightly more colorful, the ends of their dorsal and anal fins are elongated and have a fatty hump. Relatively calm, but, as is the case with cichlids, aggression increases during breeding. They are most often found in the middle and lower parts of the aquarium.

Nutrition and feeding


Studies of the digestive system indicate a diet mostly of plant matter. In addition to algae, insects and smaller fish have also been found. Taking this into account in the aquarium, they can be fed with chopped and scalded vegetables, dry flakes, granules with the addition of spirulina, frozen copepods, artemia, occasionally feeding live earthworms.


For a couple, an aquarium of at least 100 liters is recommended, with sandy or gravelly ground, partially planted with plants, decorated with roots or larger stones. Plants should be attached to the decoration, otherwise they may be undermined.

Sajica cichlids tolerate a wide range of water parameters. However, they should be provided with efficient filtration and weekly water changes. They are not recommended for a social aquarium. In a sufficiently large tank, they can be kept with other similarly sized, peaceful cichlids, such as Meek’s cichlid , as well as smaller fish that will not fit into their mouths, such as armor, cuirass, tetras, rainbow. When choosing a company, remember that they are very aggressive during breeding.


Sajica cichlids are quite easy to breed . Breeders recommend buying a group of 6-8 young fish, which will be naturally matched with a pair. The temperature in the breeding aquarium should be around 26-27 C – in lower ones they may not reproduce. The mating male is very insistent and in a too small tank without hiding places, he can even kill the female. It is best to remove other fish from the tank during breeding.

A day or two before spawning, the female may have ovipositor. Spawning most often takes place in a cave or in a previously dug hole under a larger rock or piece of wood. An adult female lays around 100-300 brown-red eggs. Hatching takes place after 3-4 days. After another 5-7 days, the fry begin to swim on their own.

These cichlids are very caring parents, they protect fiercely young and can raise their offspring even in a social aquarium. Occasionally a female may be observed catching the departing fry and carrying them back to the nest. Young, compared to other species of cichlids, grow quite slowly – after about 3 months they are only 2.5 cm. Initially, the fry can be fed brine shrimp larvae. Note: After about two months, from the moment the fry begin to swim independently, the male may be ready to spawn.

During this period, you should carefully observe the behavior of the fish as an unprepared female may be killed.


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