Keyhole cichlid

Aquarium fish: Keyhole cichlid (Cleithracara Maronia)
Size: 10 cm
Origin: South America
Water temperature: 22-28 ° C
Aquarium volume: 110 l

Keyhole cichlid (Cleithracara Maronia ) – an extremely gentle and shy species of aquarium fish from the cichlid family, interestingly it can camouflage itself in the background and is the only representative of the genus Cleithracara . 


South America . It is found in Suriname, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela. It inhabits slowly flowing or stagnant black, brown waters, colored with a large amount of humic compounds. The ground in the habitat of these fish is most often covered with decaying leaves and branches. In some places you can also find plants such as Kakoba, Marseille and Pistia.

Characteristics and disposition

The body is yellow-brown or red, the sides of the head are decorated with a dark stripe passing through the eye. There is also a dark, light-fringed spot on both sides of the torso that may spread to the abdomen. This pattern is somewhat reminiscent of a keyhole and hence the common name of this cichlid Keyhole Cichlid. The male is up to 10 cm long, larger than the female, more intensely colored and has elongated dorsal and anal fins. The smaller female grows up to approx.

7 cm. Young fish are indistinguishable. Maroni acars are quite a peaceful species that do not eat or dig up plants. When in danger, they hide among vegetation, roots or leaves and change their body color to a darker color, blending in with their surroundings.

Nutrition and feeding

Omnivorous fish in nature feed on invertebrates and organic debris.

In the aquarium, they are not picky and accept most of the available food. A diet rich in live foods such as artemia, daphnia, etc. will ensure their good condition.


They require a minimum length of 80 cm of the aquarium (preferably larger). The tank should have a dark substrate, a few flat stones, roots, and floating plants to provide some shade.

Such decoration will best reflect their natural environment. They do not like too strong water current and bright lighting. Sensitive to water pollution and require regular water changes. Outside the breeding period, very gentle, shy and fearful fish. It is not recommended to keep it with other cichlids except for scalars, discus and small South American cichlids.

A bit of boldness will give them the company of a shoal of small, gentle benthic fish, tetras, razbor, etc. An ideal companion will be microorganisms sticking to the upper parts of the water, eg Beckford, edged .


Monogamous species, easy to reproduce. On a well-balanced diet, they do not need any additional encouragement to spawn. It’s best to start by buying young fish, wait for the steam to form naturally, and then separate it.

The female lays eggs on hard, flat surfaces, it can be, for example, a flat stone, a root, a wide leaf or an aquarium glass. Young or inexperienced couples may eat the fry of the first litters , especially when they feel threatened or frightened. In the act of spawning, the female lays the eggs in rows and they are then fertilized by the male. An adult female is able to lay about 300-400 eggs, which she takes care of. The male is responsible for patrolling and protecting the territory.

When breeding maroni acars in a general aquarium, if we want to raise more fry, it is recommended to catch the stock or transfer the eggs to another tank. Hatching takes place within 3-5 days. The fry are easy to feed and as soon as they begin to swim independently, they can eat good quality powdered dry food, brine shrimp larvae, micro nematodes, etc. Parents look after their offspring for up to 6 months . Young fish, after reaching approx.

6 cm, become sexually mature, begin to pair up and embrace the territories.


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