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FAQs on Peacock Cichlids, Genus Cichla

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Related FAQs: Neotropical Cichlids 1, Cichlids of the World, Cichlid Systems, Cichlid Identification, Cichlid Behavior, Cichlid Compatibility, Cichlid Selection, Cichlid Feeding, Cichlid DiseaseCichlid Reproduction,


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 singleton.>
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.>
Please help
<Cheers, Neale.>
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 together?
<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?
<See above.>
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 onto?>
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 willy-nilly.>
<Cheers, Neale.>
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 themselves.>
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, krill etc.
<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.>

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