Hypsophrys nicaraguensis

Aquarium fish: Hypsophrys nicaraguensis (Hypsophrys nicaraguensis)
Size: 25 cm
Origin: America
Water temperature: 23-28 ° C
Aquarium volume: 240 l

Hypsophrys nicaraguensis (Hypsophrys nicaraguensis ) – an interestingly colored, large aquarium fish from the cichlid family. 


Central America. It lives in lakes and slowly flowing sections of rivers in Nicaragua and Costa Rica. It lives in rivers close to the surface, in lakes at depths from 5 to even 200 m, in volcanic lakes.

Characteristics and disposition

Males can be up to 25 cm long, smaller and more slender females up to 20 cm. Stocky body with a strongly rounded head, the muzzle is situated in the lower position.

Interestingly, the females are more interesting in terms of colors . Males more uniform with a slight fat hump in reproductive age. The upper part of the body is colored green or blue-green. A wide black belt runs along the torso of females. In males, only a spot in the middle.

The belly is red or orange red. Violet accents on the pectoral fins. Dorsal and anal fins edged in blue. Coloration also depends on the place of origin. The Costa Rican population is blue in females and in Nicaragua, also in males, it is gold in color.

Young are not very attractive, they are characterized by gray-brown coloration. Like most cichlids, they are territorial and aggressive during breeding , but moderate compared to other Central American ones of similar size. Monogamous species. It is recommended to keep a matched pair. He lives for 10-15 years under the right conditions.

Nutrition and feeding

Omnivorous species. In the natural environment, it feeds on algae, insect larvae, and small invertebrates. In the aquarium it can be fed with good quality dry food for cichlids, regularly supplemented with live, frozen and plant foods, e.g. artemia, bloodworm, snails, earthworms, vegetables.


For a couple, it is recommended to min.

240 l aquarium, preferably larger with age. They require a sandy substrate that they eagerly dig, and hiding places made of roots and stones. Design elements should be placed directly on the bottom of the tank. During spawning, they love to eat the delicate leaves of plants. Plants can be added, but only the hardy ones that grow attached to decorations, such as Anubias or ferns.

In a sufficiently large aquarium they can be combined with other cichlids as well as larger barbs, tetras, catfish and barbs. The company of very aggressive species should be avoided.


Reproduction in aquarium conditions possible. Fish breed in hiding and spawn in caves or previously dug pits. In nature, fish dig tunnels.

Due to the high aggression towards your species and monogamous lifestyle, it is recommended to buy a group of young fish and allow a natural pairing. The spawning tank should be arranged according to the instructions provided above. For example, ceramic pots can be used as spawning grounds. The breeding pit is chosen by the female or the pair can dig their own in the ground under a larger stone. Spawning usually takes place in the dark.

The female takes care of the eggs and fry until they swim independently. It protects the access to the nest against other fish and partner. This one patrols and protects the nearby area. Compared to other Central American cichlids, the eggs are not sticky and do not stick to the substrate. Hatching takes place after 2-3 days.

After another 3-5, the fry swims on their own. From then on, both parents look after their offspring. The fry can initially be fed with Artemia larvae. The eggs and fry should not be separated from the parents, who may then turn against each other.


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