Aquarium fish: Amphilophus citrinellus (Amphilophus citrinellus)
Size: 25 – 35 cm
Water temperature: 22-28 ° C
Aquarium volume: 240 l
Amphilophus citrinellus (Amphilophus citrinellus ) – a large, aggressive freshwater fish from the cichlid family.
Central America. The species is endemic only in the San Juan River and its adjacent watersheds in Costa Rica and Nicaragua. Found in lakes and ponds, and in slow-flowing parts of the river, especially near clusters and rock walls.
Characteristics and disposition
Large fish, between 25 and 35 cm in length.
Massive, tall body. Dorsal and anal fins sharply ended. Both the male and the female have a fatty hump in age, but the male is clearly larger. The adult male is slightly larger, has more elongated dorsal and anal fins, and his genital wart is thinner and longer. The body coloration of the wild form is dark brown or gray-black, with six dark, vertical stripes and a large black spot.
Breeding forms usually do not have such a pattern and come in several color varieties, e.g. orange, yellow, white, white-orange, spotted. Lemon Cichlid may be confused with the “Red Devil” Cichlid Amphilophus labiatus . The latter is characterized by large lips, a lower, slender body and a smaller fat hump. The species is very aggressive towards both its own and other species .
Due to their endearing personality, the aggressive nature does not discourage breeders. These fish quickly learn to recognize their owner, and also show a certain intelligence – e.g. in exchange for food, they are able to learn simple tricks.
Nutrition and feeding
Not very picky cichlid, accepts most of the available dry, frozen and live food. You can give, for example, good quality cichlid sticks, chopped earthworms, shrimps, clams, peas, spinach, etc.
High-protein foods, especially red meat, which may have a detrimental effect on the digestive system, should be avoided.
One adult lemon cichlid requires a fairly spacious aquarium, for which the recommended minimum is 240 l. If we want to keep steam, the tank should be at least twice as large. For decoration, you can use larger stones, wood and large pots, which will serve as a spawning ground. Decorations must be heavy enough that the fish cannot move them.
These fish are able to destroy the heater or the filter inlet / outlet, so they need to be properly secured and preferably hidden behind a wall of rock decoration or a structural background. Amphilophus citrinelluss produce a lot of dirt. The aquarium requires efficient filtration and a heavy cover. The water must be well oxygenated so additional air stones can be considered. Regular weekly changes are also required.
In larger groups or with other fish, they can only be kept in very large tanks, at least 1000 liters. They can only stay with strong, hardy, large fish – other Central American cichlids, armor or catfish. In their company, medium-sized, fast-swimming shark barbs or large barbels should also do well.
Breeding is quite simple as long as we have a matched pair and a large tank. A 160 cm long aquarium with rock decorations and pots is required.
However, pairing fish is not an easy matter. Most often, after transferring a random pair to the breeding aquarium, the male kills the female. Some growers successfully separate fish with transparent plastic, which they remove after a few weeks. Even with this method, however, there is no guarantee of success. It also happens that the fish do not connect and the partition is not removed, but holes are drilled in it so that the male releases the milk without contact.
The best way, however, is to buy a minimum of 6 young fish and raise them together until they grow up and have a pair. If this happens, the rest of the fish should be caught. The readiness for spawning can be seen from the fat hump on the forehead, both of the male and the female. Courtship can be quite long and violent, in which the fish hit each other with their tails. The female usually rubs her side against the male’s hump.
Increased activity in digging the ground can also be noticed. During this time, it is good to have a partition ready at the ready so that you can separate them at any time, because they can reject the partner’s advances with great aggression. The eggs are usually laid in a cave or vertical rock wall. Both parents show excellent care and protection of eggs, e.g. from the fingers of an aquarist tidying up the aquarium.
Hatching takes place after 2-3 days and the larvae are transferred to a well previously dug in the substrate. After another 5-7 days, the fry begin to swim on their own. During this period, it is good to divide the aggressive male from the female with the offspring by a barrier. If the pair is left together, the male may try to spawn again, if the female is not ready, the confused female may kill her. Initially, fry are fed with brine shrimp larvae.
The young grow up fairly quickly. Initially, they are gray in color, which becomes colored at 5-6 cm.