Astronotus (Astronotus ocellatus) Agassiz, 1831
The fish with an unusual color has other names, synonyms: cichlid peacock eye, Oculus astronotus, Oscar.
Astronotuses appeared in European aquariums in 1934, in Russian aquariums – in 1957.
Despite the rather large size, the fish is unusually popular due to its unusual intelligence – the astronotus is not only able to recognize the owner, but even allows itself to be stroked.
South America is widespread in the Amazon region and was registered in Colombia, Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, French Guiana, Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina. Throughout this range, they are found in numerous river systems, including Ucayali, Solimoes, Amazon, Negro, Madeira, Tapajos, Tokantins, Orinoco, Apruaj and Oyapok.
Wild populations also exist in several countries, including Singapore and the United States.
Most often found in shallow water in slow-moving or standing water in forest areas. Habitat is usually the bottom covered with silt with flooded tree roots or under a canopy of coastal vegetation.
Wild fish is sometimes available for sale, but the vast majority of those that are sold come from commercially bred.
The oval body is slightly stretched and strongly flattened laterally. Fins are large.
The head is large, the line of the forehead is convex.
Eyes and terminal mouth are also large. The dorsal fin, like the anal fin, is practically connected to the tail, forming a kind of “fan”.
The most common color – uneven pattern of copper-colored on a dark body. The main background can be black, gray or brown, spots and uneven stains on it are yellow.
At the base of the tail is a black spot with a yellow-orange edging, resembling the eye.
In nature, it reaches a size of 45 cm and weighs up to 1.5 kg. In an aquarium, the size of the fish depends on the volume of the tank and ranges from 20-30 cm.
The fish are large and therefore the volume of the aquarium per individual should be at least 100 liters.
From the scenery fit large rounded stones, snags. Of the plants, only species with very tough leaves: large echinodorus, bolbitis, anubiases, Thai fern.
Floating plants in small quantities are also permissible.
Pisces are characterized by manifestations of panic, when they begin to randomly rush around the aquarium. Therefore, it should be with a securely closing lid, and the internal equipment is firmly fixed.
Temperature: 22 – 30 ° C;
pH: 6.0 – 7.5;
Stiffness: 5 to 20 ° DH.
Filtration is required of two types – biological and mechanical, powerful aeration, the replacement of a third of water weekly.
It is quite peaceful, but smaller fish are taken for food, therefore it is necessary to maintain either separately 6-8 astronotus, or pick up large species in the neighbors: large cichlases, mail catfish, cichlids.
Takes pieces of sea fish, bovine heart, insects, their larvae, earthworms, grasshoppers, dragonfly larvae, large bloodworms, shrimps, tadpoles. You can feed dry food, but only those with high protein content.
Astronotuses like to eat, in connection with which a regular “unloading” day is necessary. Any river fish that can cause astronotus disease is contraindicated.
There are no noticeable sex differences. Males are slightly more intensely colored, but it is almost impossible to accurately determine the sex of the fish on this basis.
Only during the spawning period do females differ in a noticeable ovipositor, and males in a small seed line.
In the spawning more than 300 liters fit several large stones, the presence of soil is not necessary. The filter needs a very powerful one.
First, 5-8 fish reach maturity.
The pair must be formed naturally. Producers selected in this way for some time are abundantly fed with shellfish, fish, beef, and earthworms.
Increased temperatures in spawning and frequent water changes stimulate spawning.
Parameters of water in the spawning aquarium: 27-29 ° C, pH 6.5-7.2, dKH from 2.
The female spawns for 4-5 hours, laying smooth rows of caviar on the stone. Eggs are large, elliptical. The female astronotus is very prolific and capable of sweeping more than 1000 eggs.
Small fish very carefully care about their offspring and during this period the main thing is not to disturb them. Having experienced stress, parents can destroy the entire clutch.
Incubation of caviar lasts 4-5 days. At 6-10 days the fry are already able to swim.
The first five days the larvae feed on large yolk sacs. The starter feed is daphnia, small cyclop and artemia, after a week the young are already able to take shredded tubers.
Growth in fry is uneven, so regular sorting is needed to avoid cannibalism.
Able to multiply, reaching 2 years and the size of 12 cm.
Astronotus (Astronotus ocellatus) under favorable conditions of detention can live for about 18 years.