Heros efasciatus

Aquarium fish: Heros efasciatus (Heros efasciatus)
Size: 25 cm
Origin: South America
Water temperature: 22-29 ° C
Aquarium volume: 240 l

Heros efasciatus (Heros efasciatus ) – an interestingly colored, large aquarium fish of the cichlid genus.


South America . Widely distributed over almost the entire area of ​​the Amazon basin. Found in streams, rivers and lakes, rather in areas densely overgrown with plants, in the vicinity of flooded tree branches, in deeper and relatively warm waters.

Characteristics and disposition

In the wild, it can be up to 30 cm long.

In an aquarium it grows up to about 20-25 cm. The body is tall, laterally flattened, rather oval, with a large head and a small mouth. Coloration is variable – depending on various factors such as origin, lighting, age, water properties, etc. In the case of the basic form from olive-yellow, through brown-green to black. The lower part of the body is lighter and sometimes turns orange during the period.

Mouth and gill covers decorated with dark mosaic. In young fish, dark transverse stripes are visible, which become lighter as they mature and sometimes fade away. In adults, most often there is only a dark stripe just in front of the caudal fin. Adult females are usually less colored and have no pattern on the head. The malesthey are slightly larger, have elongated dorsal and anal fins, and with age they may develop a fatty hump.

There are also varieties in breeding : Gold, Redkeil (staining almost black) , Red spotted (uniform color decorated with red spots all over the body). Heros efasciatus is often confused with the rare spotted Cichlid – Heros severus . A male spotted cichlid has distinct dots on its head rather than a pattern of irregular waterlines and spots. The severum cichlid is a rather quiet species, but as befits a cichlid it is quite territorial during the spawning season. At a young age, you can often observe some kind of wrestling – fish wrestle with each other grasping the lower jaw.

Most often, they do not harm themselves, but it may happen that the weaker individual will be killed.

Nutrition and feeding

Omnivorous fish. In nature, they eat insects, small crustaceans and largely plant matter. They are not picky in the aquarium , they can be served peas, lettuce, chopped spinach, cucumber, etc., alternating with live or frozen foods, e.g. bloodworm, shrimps, chopped earthworm and special dry foods for cichlids.

Feeding is recommended once or twice a day.


For an adult couple, a minimum of 240 liter aquariums are required, and if we want to keep them with other fish, we will need at least twice as large a tank. The substrate is preferably sandy. The aquarium should contain decorations made of smooth stones, roots and plants, which, unfortunately, are also a delicacy of severum cichlids and will sooner or later be eaten. Selected species, such as Anacharis, Cabomba, Hornwort, should withstand.

Efficient mechanical and biological filtration required. Sour and soft water. Intense lighting is not a problem, but remember to provide a few shaded areas (floating plants, rock caves). Outside the spawning season, quite peaceful cichlids , but when attacked by more aggressive species, they will not be indebted to them. They are successfully kept in social aquariums, but they will certainly feel better with other gentle cichlids or in a species aquarium.

A good co-inhabitant can be, for example , the armorer , cichlid parrot or earthen.


The reproduction of severum cichlids is not difficult. It is a good idea to buy a group of young fish, which will eventually become a pair. Future parents choose a spawning site, it can be, for example, a cave, a flat rock or a root. There, the adult female lays between 200 and 800 eggs, which are fertilized by the male.

After spawning, the female looks after the eggs and the male patrols the territory and chases away intruders. The eggs hatch after 3-5 days. During this time, the female most often transfers the larvae to a well previously dug in the substrate. After about a week, the fry begin to swim freely in the aquarium. From there, you can start giving them crushed dry food and Artemi larvae.

You often have to wait for breeding success , in the first few attempts young parents can eat the fry. If we do not have enough patience, the young can be separated and brought up on their own.


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