Dwarf South American Cichlids,
Cichlid Fishes in General,
Neotropical Cichlids 1,
Cichlids of the World,
Peacock bass; stkg. lg. sys.; comp. 9/22/15
I have a 400 gallon system
I have a 5" jack Dempsey
<Potential meal for the Peacock Bass, the Gar, or even the Arowana.>
A 4" wild caught cichla piquiti
<These will grow FAST! Nice fish though. Kudos for keeping a group rather than a
A 15" gar
<Lots of growing left to do.>
A 18" silver Arowana
<Will get at least twice this size.>
A stupid looking dumbo type Syno catfish 10-11"
<Fortunately, he's probably too heavily armoured to either be insulted by you or
eaten by your fish.>
The system went in yesterday. When can i add these fish together size
permitting? And what order.
<Arowana last, as they're the most territorial. Gar are indifferent to most
everything. Catfish similarly; while territorial, it's only territorial towards
bottom dwellers. Cichla spp. will need to be at least 8" to be safe with a 15"
Gar or Arowana. As a rule of thumb, predators can (and do) attack (and kill)
companions up to 2/3rds their size. So don't trust an 18" predator with anything
smaller than 12", and so on. Make sense?>
Since my based is wild caught he is only on live foods. Minnows
<Cruisin' for a bruising', as we say in England. Minnows are Cyprinidae, which
means they're chock-full of Thiaminase. Should never be part of the diet of
predatory fish. Cichla will be consuming fish in the wild, of course, but not
minnows (there aren't any in South America) so you may as well get them weaned
onto pellets. Hikari and others make suitable pellet foods. Any reasonably
skilled fishkeeper can wean them... the "art" is patience and the right
mentality. Cichla spp. are farmed for food, and believe me, these aren't being
given live minnows! So just stick at it, try a variety of foods, don't feed them
if they reject the pellets, and repeat this until they take whatever is on
offer... mealworms and crickets are a good halfway house, but they'll take
lancefish and other frozen foods too, Hikari ones for example. Oddly enough,
their Arowana food is taken by
Cichla and probably the Gar too. My Gar loved Cichlid Gold pellets!>
Wont touch heart, gizzard or bloodworms or prepared foods.
<Wait until he's hungry... a week, ten days even... no harm will come to him,
assuming he's in good shape now.>
I need him on pellet or frozen before he gets sick
<Yes, you do.>
Re: Peacock bass 9/23/15
My bass is a wimp. Sits in the corner and sulks.
<Not a wimp. Absolutely 100% normal for the species if it isn't happy.
These cichlids are open water pursuit predators. They live in large gangs that
chase down schools of smaller fish. If they feel "boxed in" they act withdrawn.
Review the tank: size, water current, oxygen level. High water turnover rates
are crucial, at least 8 times the volume of the tank per hour, ideally 10-12.
Add extra filters and/or powerheads as required. The use of a marine-style sump
to provide massive filtration and oxygenation is highly recommended. Some would
say essential, long term.>
My Dempsey is aggressive. Dempsey is definatly bigger and bulkier.
<But it only gets to 20 cm/8 inches. Doesn't matter how macho this JD might be,
it's still bite-size to a full-grown Cichla (maximum size over 70 cm/28 inches).
Sooner or later the tables will turn...>
Bass isn't too terribly far behind. My question is will these two be safe
<See above. House Cats are fierce and plucky for their size, but you wouldn't
keep one in a cage with a Lion, would you?>
Used to have 3 bass but as the saying goes there can only be one.
<Not true with Cichla spp. Kept incorrectly they can/will become over
hierarchical and weaker ones may starve or be attacked. But keep a large group
(5+ specimens) in a sufficiently big aquarium and they thrive in groups. To be
sure, in home aquaria a singleton is often easier, but almost like a single
Neon, it will lack the security of conspecifics.>
He was the smallest too. But he always had a mouth. So a $165 tem and a $89
kelberi are now pricey snacks. Will these two be safe or is the Dempsey going
harass my pride and joy?
He isn't interested in the live food and keeps assaulting my bull frog because
he moves. Bull frog is about 1/3 a pound.
<Why is this in with the fish? Amphibians *are* natural prey for Cichla as well
as most other big predatory fish. Bull Frogs are amphibious, so how is it living
inside an aquarium? I just don't understand. Is there an island it crawls out
Once all of these fish are together by then my 1/2" golden clown knife should be
3" by Christmas? Slow growers. Think he can go in here? Tank is 5'x3'x3'.
<Whoa. Cichla and Clown Knife, possibly, though they do have different ideas
about water current. Arowana with Cichla, yes, given space. Frog and JD, no.>
He has an attitude and killed my baby Pacu. I don't even know how.
<I fear you need to spend some time reading and thinking... buying animals and
hoping they tolerate each other, and shrugging nonchalantly when they don't
isn't really the way forward. I respect your taste in fish, I really do, but
jumbo fish aren't community fish, and you can't keep them all together
Re: Peacock bass 9/24/15
Right now he is in a terrarium Amazon type thing. About 18" deep of water and
then land and island. Temporary set up until the 400 is stable.
<The Bullfrog is getting a 400 gallon tank to itself? Very generous.
Probably about right, given the size of the damn things! But not, ultimately,
compatible with fish... has no reason being kept with fish... no long term sense
to this. Repeat after me " Thou shalt not mix fish, turtles or amphibians in the
same aquarium". So sayeth the Fish Gods.>
I am aware of the bass full size but I want to know if they are Compatible now
at current sizes.
<See previous messages. Peacock Bass can cohabit with fish of similar size and
requirements. Routinely kept with large L-numbers, Stingrays, jumbo cyprinids
and characins. Anything substantially smaller is (potential) prey. They are open
water fish and easily spooked. Avoid combining with anything aggressive or
territorial in case the Cichla spp. gets spooked and
jump (they are amazingly good at jumping, almost like trout) and can damage
What can I do to make my bass happy? Water param. Are fine and he has about 60
gallons to himself.
<He has his own 60 gallon aquarium? Adequate I suppose for a young specimen up
to maybe 6 or 8 inches. Just make sure there's super-generous filtration (see
previous message about water turnover rates. You're creating a river, not a
pond, for these fish. They need to be actively swimming into a current 24/7. If
they're just lolling about doing nothing, they're not happy.>
He would have a great diet if he ate it. Heart, liver, bloodworms, silversides,
<I'd leave out the mammal meats. Not healthy. Try river shrimps and earthworms
first. Get him used to associating you with dinner time. Bear in mind they feed
dusk and dawn, and they're attracted to silvery flashes, so don't just lob
silversides into the tank, dangle them or hold them (with long forceps or
chopsticks) near the current. Wiggle them enticingly!
Doesn't eat today. Wait till tomorrow. Don't give in. This CAN be done, it just
takes fortitude on your part, plus some experimentation. Sometimes oily fish
(like trout) is very yummy, but does mess up the water, so use this just before
a water change. Keep nitrate down, keep oxygen up, and bear in mind lack of
appetite in cichlids is usually about stress or health
problems rather than anything else. Review, and act accordingly.>
He has 4 airpumps into the tank so i don't think oxygen is an issue.
<What about water current around the tank. Does fish food sink right down or
drift about the tank?>
Would he benefit from another peacock bass?
<Not in a 60 gallon tank he wouldn't. Notice I mentioned either singletons or
schools; twos or threes tend to be unstable and they fight. Think Tiger
Barbs, but bigger! Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Peacock bass 9/24/15
Or can I create him a temp. School of larger livebearers?
<You mean to breed live food just for him? Doable, and livebearers are safer
than anything else. Your problem is expense. Adults will be getting through
dozens of Guppies a day, so unless you have an outdoor pond filled with
Mosquitofish or Guppies this just isn't practical. Do go online, do read...
Farmed (rather than wild) Cichla spp. are routinely gotten onto
GOOD QUALITY pellet foods without any trouble. They're bred on such foods (you
think the fish farms use live foods???). Wild-caught specimens are less
accommodating, but it's still doable, especially via earthworms and river
shrimps first. If they're not eating, suspect something else... review water
quality (zero ammonia and nitrite; nitrate below 20 mg/l) and water chemistry
(soft, slightly acidic to slightly basic: 2-12 degrees dH, pH 6.5-7.5). Increase
water current, check temperature (Cichla spp. prefer warmer water, 28 C/30 F is
probably ideal). Cheers, Neale.>