Astronotus (lat. Astronotus) – This is an aquarium fish belonging to the cichlid species. Often it is called a peacock fish, an oscar, an ocellathus, or a corduroy cichlid.
The habitats of this species are the reservoirs of Brazil, Venezuela, Guiana and Paraguay.
Astronotuses are quite large fish, in natural conditions they can reach 35-40 cm, in an aquarium they grow to 15-22 cm. Representatives of this species live for 8-15 years, depending on how the owner of the aquarium will look after them.
Now let’s talk about the appearance of the fish. The astronotus body is oval in shape, slightly flattened at the sides.
Fins are large, elongated. The fish has a large head with a prominent forehead and eyes. The color of the body is uneven: depending on the variety, the overall background may vary from silver to rich black, with scattered spots and yellow lines in a chaotic manner.
Some astronotuses have a large spot near the caudal fin, which is similar in shape and color to a large eye. During spawning, the body of the fish becomes black, and the divorces change the shade from yellow to red.
Young astronotus have a black color with white patches and specks. With age, the color changes and becomes more saturated. In fish, there are practically no sex differences, males differ only in bright colors and a wider body.
Also, males have pointed and long anal and dorsal fins.
Astronotus – fish are slow and balanced, they are very shy – even a net lowered into an aquarium can scare them away, forcing them to hide in shelters. Astronotuses quickly get used to the owner, easily take food directly from the hands, even give themselves a stroke back.
There are several color variations of astronotus: red, tiger, blue, nut, albino. The veil form of fish with enlarged fins is very beautiful. In 1840, a thick-frosted astronotus was bred, it is smaller than the eye-shaped, its body is dark with clear bright stripes arranged vertically.
There is no spot near the caudal fin.
Astronotus – one of the largest species of fish that are kept in the aquarium. In Europe, this fish appeared quite late – in 1934 thanks to travelers. Representatives of this genus came to Russia even later – in 1957, and since then they have been very popular.
In America, established a farm for the breeding of astronotus, it is a popular fish for sport fishing. It is known that in Brazil, Thailand, Guinea, astronotus there are large fish farms, which supply astronotus to aquarists from other countries.
Currently, there are many forms of astronotus, which differ in color and length of the fin. For example, the popular and beautiful version of the “red oscar” was bred in Bangkok: this fish has a brick-red color, and part of the back and head are painted greenish-gray, the fins with black edging.
Based on this species, an albino form was developed, which is considered very expensive. In nature, astronotus such colors are not found – it is the fruit of the work of breeders.
Very few aquarists dare to keep fish brought from natural conditions, and prefer domesticated hybrid species.
• Astronotus – this is a very revered fish in Thailand, in many homes, offices and even temples you must have a pool with astronotus;
• When astronotuses form a pair, they are very wary of other individuals, sometimes even reaching a fight over the territory. It is worth remembering that these are large fish, so even hard-leaved and massive plants will not survive in an aquarium for a long time, the best option is reliably fixed plastic plants;
• It is advisable to keep astronotus in an aquarium covered with a lid. These fish are predators by nature and, after chasing a fly, the astronotus may not calculate forces and end up on the floor;
• It is impossible to feed astronotus with river fish, it can be a carrier of dangerous for this type of diseases.
These fish grow to maximum sizes within 3-4 years, with good care, they live up to 15 years, while the ability to reproduce in many individuals remains to old age. These are quite large fish, so the aquarium should be chosen appropriately – you need 80-100 liters for a couple of astronotuses, if you can, of course, you can and more.
As for water parameters, astronotuses are not picky. Acidity can vary from 6 to 8.0 pH, water hardness – up to 23 °.
The temperature of the water in the aquarium should be from 21 to 30 degrees, astronotus can move and a smooth decrease in water to 16 degrees. Since the individuals of this species are very large, it is necessary to equip the reservoir with filters, aeration and daily change 20-30% of the total volume of the reservoir. It is also worth purchasing a productive biofilter, since fish produce organic waste, because of which ammonia accumulates in the water.
The soil may be made of pebbles, coarse sand or gravel. If you want to add elements to the aquarium, let it be large stones or snags, astronotuses love to explore new territory, digging it and dragging objects from place to place.
Weights can be attached to artificial plants so that astronotuses cannot move them easily. From natural plants, a large fish society will survive Echinodorus, Thai fern and Bolbitis; long-stem algae are cut off by representatives of this species.
Even astronotus need to provide 4-5 shelters, because the fish are pretty shy.
With regard to feeding, young individuals can be fed 2 times a day, adults can be given food once, but it should be plenty. The astronotus is a glutton, most aquarists feed them sea fish fillet, squid, pieces of raw meat, beef liver and heart.
You can also give earthworms, but before that you can stand them in a jar of water for 3-4 days, which should be cleared from the ground. Pick dry food carefully – they must be large, small flakes will not be eaten to the end and only pollute the aquarium.
Also, astronotus food can be floating and stile-leaved plants.
Since the sex of these fish is rather difficult to determine, a group of 4-5 adolescents, which later form pairs, are deposited for breeding into a separate pond. The best pair is left, while others are seated in aquariums. Astronotuses reach sexual maturity by 2 years and occasionally spawn.
It is worth remembering that, despite its size, these fish are very shy, and the reaction to noise or unauthorized people during spawning can be unpredictable – to the extent that the eggs or fry will be simply eaten. Spawning should occur in a separate aquarium, because if there are other fish living next to the astronotus, and the female thinks that they threaten her offspring, she can simply cripple or kill other fish.
Spawning tanks are equipped with aeration and filters, the water should be soft, the temperature should be 26-28 degrees. The soil is not obligatory, it is enough to lay a large and flat stone on the bottom, where the female will lay eggs.
During the spawning period, the fish change their color, the males become more caring – they carefully clean the stone’s surface, and only then they start spawning, which lasts 4-5 hours. The female can at a time lay more than 1000 eggs of an ellipsoid shape, these are very prolific fish. The pair carefully cares for the offspring: fan the eggs with fins, guard the larvae.
After a week, the larvae turn into fry, they begin to feed and swim on their own. The first days you can feed them with daphnia, artemia, cyclops, in a week to add a cut pipe straw to the diet.
Fry of an astronotus grow unevenly, therefore it is better to plant large fish from less developed brethren – otherwise they can simply be folded. By the age of one month, babies grow up to 2 cm.
Make sure that the water of the fry is not too soft, otherwise their gill wings and jaws will be deformed.
Young astronotuses get along well with other individuals, but when they reach sexual maturity, they can show aggression. At this point, it is better to settle them in separate containers and keep them in pairs.
You can not contain astronotus with small fish – they can become a dinner for big predators.
If you really want to pick up your neighbors for astronotus, choose large cichlids, chain catfish, six-band distykhods, chromis or black-striped tsilaz. They need to put in the aquarium all at one time, so as not to start fighting for the territory.
If you want to buy Astronotus you can find out the price of Astronotus fry on the bulletin board.