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Astronotus aquarium fish: maintenance, care, breeding

The aquarium fish astronotus belongs to the cichlid family. Quite a big fish, in nature it grows to 35 centimeters, in aquariums it reaches the size of 20-30 centimeters with good feeding.

It is a long-lived among aquarium fish, while ensuring proper water parameters can live up to 15 years.

Due to its large size, beautiful shape and colors, astronotuses have become very popular. Breeders each year bring out all the new colors, so there is no exact classification for them, the most popular colors are red, tiger, blue, nut, albino.

Astronotuses are predators, it is impossible to contain them with small species of fish. When reaching puberty, astronotus becomes aggressive and can bite or even eat fish of much smaller sizes.

It is easiest to contain astronotus in the species aquarium, so as not to suffer from the compatibility of fish and different sizes. For one pair, the size of the aquarium is calculated from 100 liters, if you plan to breed astronotuses in the general aquarium, then we consider the volume to be 200 liters per pair.

The optimum water temperature is 22-25 degrees, but in summer the astronotus easily endures 30 degrees. Water should not be too soft or hard; water hardness should be lowered only to stimulate spawning.

Powerful filtering is mandatory, ideally using a good biofilter and making regular water changes.

Red astronotus and fry

In an aquarium with astronotuses, as with other large cichlids, it will not be possible to contain live plants. These fish will tear off all the leaves and twigs, and lastly dig up the plants along with the roots.

Artificial plants and snags can be used to decorate aquariums, provided that they are well fixed, otherwise your artificial plants will travel around the aquarium.

When choosing a soil, give preference to pebbles. These fish love to dig the ground and constantly transfer it from one place to another in the aquarium, the pebbles do not have sharp edges, so the risk of injury to the ground by Astronotus is minimal.

If you decide to install large stones for decoration in the aquarium, then install them directly on the bottom of the aquarium, and not on the ground. This requirement is caused by the fact that the fish will surely get all the soil from under the stones, as a result of which they can roll over and damage the glass of the aquarium or the astronotus itself.

Astronotuses, like all large cichlids in the normal state, are slow and calm, but there are times when a fish frolics, in such a state it can easily jump out of the water to great heights, so you need to cover the aquarium with covers or cover glasses. (from the author: my astronotus jumps so that the cover glass breaks on the plastic cover and the cover jumps a little)

Since astronotus are rather large fish, they eat a lot. It is most convenient to feed them with specialized food for large predators or large cichlids.

The composition of such feed includes both meat and vegetable components with vitamins.

Brand food for astronotus

Raw beef meat can also be used as food, for this it is passed through a meat grinder and then frozen in the form of balls. Also fit and chopped hearts (for example, turkey). In the case of feeding fish with meat, it is necessary to add greens (lettuce, cabbage, etc.) to the diet, since it is rich in vitamins.

Lack of vitamins in the diet and food alone meat can provoke various diseases, including intestinal.

There is no point in buying large individuals for small fish or live moths, they will eat it in large quantities, and some of the food will settle on the bottom and go unnoticed by the fish. Adult astronotuses love large, substantial feed sizes.

Feeding fish with earthworms or small fish from lakes and rivers is not worth it, as there is a high risk of infecting astronotus with infectious diseases.

Feeding is done once a day, this type of fish is very voracious, so you should not feed them to dump. It may seem to you that the fish ate too quickly and it is still hungry, but this is not the case, predators eat the food thrown into the aquarium very quickly. (from the author: my astronotus eats up all the abandoned food in a maximum of half a minute)

This type of fish reaches sexual maturity by the age of two. As mentioned earlier, the stimulation of reproduction is water softening (adding thawed or distilled water to the aquarium), a temperature increase of 2-3 degrees and good feeding. Spawning can be done both in the general aquarium and in the spawning ground, but most often in general, since not everyone can afford a spawning volume of 100-200 liters.

A couple of male and female first clear a flat horizontal surface from algae and dirt, to subsequently spawn eggs on it. Therefore, if you do not want a couple of astronotuses to clear a part of the aquarium from the ground in order to free a smooth bottom, then place a large flat stone (cobblestone), or similar smooth object, on which the samochka will attach caviar.

Caviar of an astronotus on a stone

If in the general aquarium there is only one couple of astronotuses, then the caviar can be left with them. Otherwise, the stone with attached caviar is placed in a separate aquarium, where the fry will develop.

Eggs hatch on the fifth day, and already on the 8-10 day the fry begin to swim and look for their own food. As feed, you can use purchased dry for fry.

To achieve the best results in growing fry, it is worth feeding them with Artemia nauplii or Cyclops.

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