Comments: These are fabulous fish that develop lots of sparkling spots on their scales.
Origin: Eartheaters are members of a very large family of closely related fish called Cichlids.
The ancestors of Jurupari Eartheaters lived across wide region of the Amazon Rainforest and possibly the Orinoco Rainforest too.
Now there are Eartheaters living in aquariums all over the world.
Maximum Size: In aquariums males can grow to be more than 8" long, including their tails, which is a little bit big for most aquariums, but not too big for large aquariums.
Females are a bit smaller than males. A long-long time ago DrTom and Nevin raised one up to be about 7" long, and it was still growing.
Behaviors: Eartheaters are usually not aggressive fish, but males will quarrel with each other from time to time.
They're more aggressive just before spawning, during spawning, and when protecting their eggs and babies.
They're called Eartheaters not because they eat earth, but because they take large mouthfuls of small gravel and sift out food particles to eat.
In this way they help keep the gravel cleaner, which is a big benefit in many aquariums with gravel.
Compatibility: Some recommended tank mates include catfish like Pictus Cats, Plecostomus, and most other fish that are not too aggressive.
Even small fish like Cory Catfish are not bothered by Eartheaters.
Click here to read more about compatible groups of pet fish.
Temperature: Eartheaters live best from about 74 to 82-degrees F., with 78 being perhaps ideal.
Click here to learn about aquarium temperature, aquarium thermometers, and aquarium heaters.
Feeding: Premium Fish Food Pellets is the best type of food to feed Eartheaters, and can be fed to them throughout their entire lives.
Probably best to feed the smaller size pellets. Click here to learn more about and shop online for premium fish foods.
Water Conditions: Their ancestors lived in the Amazon, where the water is usually soft and rather acidic, but apparently at times the pH and hardness increased in these water.
So Eartheaters can adapt to most types of tap water, and as usual it's best not to change water chemistry, unless you want to breed them, hatch the eggs, and raise the baby fish.
Click here for a lot more information about aquarium water conditions.
If water conditions are not kept very good, Eartheaters may get the so-called Hole in the Head Disease.
Click here to learn more about that.
Aquarium Size: Eartheaters grow fast and soon need to live in an aquarium with at least 80-gallons of water and eventually in an even bigger aquarium, if you have several of them.
Decor: Eartheaters need gravel. Keep a layer that's shallow enough ao that they can dig all the way to the bottom.
As they get older and bigger, they will be able to dig deeper. If the layer of gravel is deeper than they can dig, the gravel will fill with bits of uneaten food and become contaminated.
Click here for more about aquarium gravel.
Live plants are beautiful and improve the water quality, but Eartheaters will usually uproot plants, so aquariums with Eartheaters rarely have live plants.
Here's a way get around that problem. Put the plants in new clean uncontaminated terra-cotta pots with #2 gravel, then top the gravel off with a thin layer of aquarium-safe rocks that are too big for the Eartheaters to move.
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 adult Eartheaters.
Better is a 120, 150, or 200-gallon aquarium with as many Penguin 350B Filters as will fit across the back.
Eventually a group of Eartheaters will need a large aquarium with many filters along the back edge.
Click here to learn more about aquarium filters.
Like Oscars, Eartheaters will develop Hole in the Head Disease, if the water conditions deteriorate for several weeks. So dedicated maintenance is a must.
Click here to read more about Hole in the Head Disease.
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: Eartheaters can live for several years and possibly longer.
Gender: It's difficult to tell males from females, but females become plumper, as they mature and fill with eggs.
Males are more colorful and usually have longer more pointy fins.
When Eartheaters breed you can see their breeding tubes, and the female's tube is much larger than the males.
Breeding: Eartheaters choose a territory often in a back corner of the aquarium, and evict the other fish from that territory.
They'll soon begin protecting and cleaning an area like the surface of flat rock, where they'll lay eggs, then the female will take the eggs into her mouth to protect them.
Click here for a lot more about breeding various tropical fish in aquariums.
Popularity: For a long time Eartheaters have been popular aquarium fish.
Names: For many years this aquarium fish was thought to be Geophagus jurupari, but now it is thought to be Satanoperca leucosticta, or a closely related species.
Very similar fish occur across a wide area in the Amazon or Orinoco. Scientists wonder if all of these variation belong to one species, or several subspecies, or several species.
Variations: There are slight variations as mentioned just above.
We hope you've enjoyed reading these comments.
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