Comments: This is an awesome Cichlid species, and the females mature to become one of the most colorful freshwater fish. This fish is sometimes called Motaguense by aquarists.
Origin: The ancestors of the Motaguensis came from the Motagua basin in eastern Guatemala and Honduras in Central America.
But now they live in aquariums all over the world.
Maximum Size: In aquariums males are said by others to grow to be about 12" long, including their tails, but females are smaller.
Behaviors: Motaguensis are usually very aggressive, and they will be territorial and even more aggressive when spawning.
Compatibility: When small Motaguensis are OK with other fish of about the same size, but they'll eventually grow bigger, and will eat fish small enough to fit into their mouths, and as Cichlids they can be hard on less aggressive fish.
Good tankmates are Pictus Catfish, Plecostomus Catfish, Anostomus, Leporinus, and Silver Dollars that are too big to be eaten.
Click here to read more about compatible groups of pet fish.
Temperature: Motaguensis live best from about 72 to 80-degrees F. with 75 to 78 being perhaps ideal.
Click here to learn about aquarium temperature, aquarium thermometers, and aquarium heaters.
Feeding: Premium Fish Food Pellets is the best food for these Cichlids to eat. It's best to feed them small pellets when they're young, then gradually increase the size of the pellets as they grow larger.
Click here to learn more about and shop online for premium fish foods.
Water Conditions: These fish can adapt to most types of water, and so as usual it's best not to try to change the pH or hardness.
Click here for a lot more information about aquarium water conditions.
Aquarium Size: Motaguensis will eventually need to live in an aquarium with at least 80-gallons of water.
Decor: They don't need gravel, and a layer of gravel more than 1/4" thick will usually fill with bits of uneaten food that will contaminate the water.
Live plants are beautiful and improve the water quality, but this fish will usually dig plants up, so most aquariums with Motaguensis do not have live plants.
Aquarium Filter: Bio-Wheel Filters are highly recommended.
Most 80-gallon aquariums have room along the back for two Penguin 350B Filters, and this is sort of the minimum set up for large Motaguensis.
Better is a 120, 150, or 200-gallon aquarium with as many Penguin 350B Filters as will fit across the back.
Click here to learn more about aquarium filters.
The addition of Lava Rocks will keep nitrates in the ideal range. Click here to learn more about using Lava Rocks in aquariums.
Life Span: Motaguensis can live for several years.
Keep the water conditions excellent and feed them premium foods, and they'll most likely live for many years and breed to produce the next generation of fish for your aquarium.
Gender: It's nearly impossible to tell males from females just by looking at them, when they're young, but as they mature, the females will start to color up and become one of the most colorful freshwater fish.
But this species occurs over a wide geographical area, so there are probably variations in their colors and patterns.
We hope you've enjoyed reading these comments.
DrT - 09/29/2015
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