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Central American Cychlasmas: Classification and Content

Since the end of the last century, chichlamasomes from Central America began to attract the attention of aquarists from all continents. Bright and interesting coloring, large sizes, proportionality, amusing behavior – all these qualities together with unpretentiousness, high intellectual development keep popularity among aquarists at a high level.

The genus Tsikhlazoma has about 100 species of fish, which are widely distributed over a large area, which originates from the southern part of the North American continent and ends with the Brazilian waters. The greatest species diversity occurs in the waters of Central America, which includes the following states: Panama, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Mexico.

The very first tsikhlazomoy, which fell into domestic aquariums, was tsichlasoma changchita, one of the last – the Bolivian. However, these names of fish do not say anything to modern aquarists, because the most popular now are the following types of cychlases: Meek, diamond and black-striped.

These three species are firmly entrenched in the aquariums of domestic and foreign lovers.

Cychlasmas are famous for their large build and quite impressive dimensions (40-50 centimeters in length). The body on the sides is flattened, has well-developed muscles, the mouth is large with large convex lips.

The eyes are black with a reddish-brown tint. The skin is dense, so fish are resistant to most aquarium parasites, such as: flagellates and pathogenic ciliates.

Males are much larger than females and have a wider forehead as well as pointed and elongated fins.

Cichlamasomes, like most Cichlians, are typical predators who love animal food. Accordingly, I would not recommend keeping them in the same aquarium together with characteristic (neon, rhodostomy, ternetium, minor) and small carp (cherry barbs, wedge-spotted rasboros, sumatrans) because they will be immediately eaten by their large neighbors in the aquarium.

Fish are very territorial and prefer to lead a pair life. For one pair of tsihlazom you will need one small aquarium with several large stones, or for several pairs you will need a large aquarium (from 300 liters) with several separate sections, which will subsequently be occupied by the formed pairs.

Like the majority of representatives of cichlids, cichlasomes also lay eggs on large flat stones located at the bottom of the aquarium. I am glad that fish have a pronounced parental instinct: they care for the offspring of the fish jealously from the very moment the clutch appears and until the fry reach the age of one and a half months.

The caviar stone is guarded around the clock by both parents, and any stranger who has had the imprudence to enter the territory of the tsikhlaz will be immediately expelled with minor injuries.

Tsichlazoma Chanchita

If you want to experiment on your hand, try to bring it to the stone with a lay of caviar. You will immediately feel a sharp pinch, as if you were struck with a current, with the powerful lips of caring parents.

In general, it is better not to touch the fish while they are caring for the offspring. Otherwise, manufacturers can eat all the caviar.

This is such a kind of protest because of unauthorized interference in family matters.

Large tsikhlazomy living in the same home aquarium over time, get used to their owner and can even take from his hands the food. However, the situation is possible with the exact opposite: when a host appears, the fish try to hide in a secluded place among the thick of plants, or they are pressed to the ground. In a relaxed atmosphere, the movement of fish is impressive and unhurried.

If the aquarium has bright and balanced lighting, the unusual coloring of the fish appears in all its glory, which darkens and fades during breeding periods.

This tsikhlazom is the easiest to keep and reproduce. It has small dimensions (from 8 to 10 centimeters in length) when living in natural conditions, and 6 to 8 centimeters in conditions of an aquarium.

The body color is light beige with ten transverse black stripes of an interesting shape. The fins are either colorless or completely transparent in appearance. The color of the black-striped tsikhlazomy has a lot in common with a savanna resident – a zebra.

The type of drawing has many similarities with the distant African relative “Psevdotrofeusom zebra.”

The color of the females of the black-striped tsikhlazomy is about the same as that of the males, the only difference is that the stripes on the body are slightly lighter. The main distinguishing feature is the presence in the back of the abdomen of a round orange-colored spot, which is presented in the form of intermittent thin stripes.

Black-striped Cichlid

Cichlasome has an albino form with a yellow body color and a complete absence of transverse stripes and red eyes. In recent years, breeders have begun to actively receive hybrid forms, similar to the intermediate version between goldfish and cichlids.

However, such a selection survey is useless from the point of view that these fish are completely barren and their decorative value leaves much to be desired.

Despite the fact that fish are found in only two bodies of water in Guatemala and Costa Rica, the range of hydrochemical parameters of water for the maintenance of cichlase is very wide. Fish feel great when the water temperature is from 15 to 30 degrees, dGH within 4 – 25 degrees and the active response of the environment 6.5 – 8.7 pH.

Thanks to unpretentious nature and high fertility, the black-striped tsikhlazom and became a very popular cichlid among aquarists.

But among the “full-grown” aquarists, the black-striped tsikhlazoma does not enjoy high popularity, because they do not like their unpretentiousness. Give them more fastidious and problematic types that would satisfy their professional interest and self-esteem. The water in the aquarium with black-striped tsikhlazomy should be clean and clear.

The optimum water temperature is 23 – 27 degrees, medium hard water with a weak alkaline medium. Under such conditions of detention, pets are very mobile and have a good appetite.

Before hatching the first larvae, caring parents dig a small depression in the aquarium soil, where all the offspring are subsequently driven. For several days, the parents do not let the fry out of the recess, and after 3-4 days they allow free movement around the aquarium only at night, or with the lights off in the aquarium.

Caring parents are located above the brood of larvae and with the help of the pectoral fins they create a current. There is an opinion that with the help of the pectoral fins, the black-striped tsikhlazomy give a kind of signals, forcing the fry to hover without movement or to leave the nest if it is detected.

The parental care of the fry occurs even at the moments of feeding the last: the male or female takes large pieces of food into her mouth, crushes them and spits out into the nest a bunch of small pieces, which are immediately eaten by the fry. Fans of aquatic plants do not like these fish a little because of their peculiarity of digging holes near the rhizomes, which leads to undermining and silting up of hydrophytes.

From the point of view of the parents, they are doing everything right, as they ensure the maximum safety of the shelter fry. Accordingly, when choosing hydrophytes for a home aquarium with tsikhlazomy, it is better to refrain from buying rare and very valuable plants, and all other hydrophytes should be planted either in pots or rhizome should be covered around with flat heavy stones.

Growing young black-striped tsikhlazomy not difficult. At half-an-week age, fry are transferred to a separate reed, where they are attacked with a great hunt for live or artificial food, which the aquarist gives them.

The main condition is that the size of the feed corresponds to the size of the mouth of the fry. It was noted that this tsikhlazomy relatively small waste fry, therefore, the offspring will be impressive.

Black stripes

If you let the fry decide their fate on their own, out of three hundred eggs in the general aquarium, about a dozen larvae can survive without special small feeds. There have been cases when aquarists for a month left their spawned cichlase unsupervised, and on arrival home they found in their aquariums about a dozen centimeters fry, which were a reduced copy of their parents.

Black-striped tsikhlazoma is one of the few cichlids, which, along with live food with great prey, take animal food, which they benefit. To prevent obesity in pets, vegetable food should be given no more than 1 – 2 times a week.

In addition, after the vegetation day, there must be a fasting day, in which the fish should not receive feed at all.

If you are a beginner aquarist, then the black-striped tsikhlazom is a great option to practice in keeping tsikhlovyh. For one pair of adult fish, an aquarium with a volume of 60 to 70 liters is needed, in which 1/3 of water is replaced with fresh water every week. In this case, pets will be strong, healthy and resistant to various diseases.

Under the conditions of an aquarium, the cykhlasoma lives from 5 to 7 years.

This is another Central American tsikhlasoma, which is also well known to aquarists. Among aquarists fish gained popularity in the 30s of the last century, and 30 years later it came to Russia. Color in tsikhlazomy Meeki gray-steel with blue shimmer.

The throat portion is bright red, which creates the feeling that the fish is wearing a carnival mask. Unfortunately, now probably no longer meet these tsihlazom with a nominal color.

This is due to the fact that aquarists used poor-quality uniform feed with a low content of nutrients and minerals.

Due to the high fecundity of the Cichlazome Meek, aquarists, when growing fry for sale, are not particularly bothered about sorting producers by unrelated connections. Moreover, young animals are sold at such an age that the color of the fish is monophonic. In this case, use which specific and expensive feed becomes meaningless.

Ultimately, individuals with dirty-gray color, transparent fins and light dark-brown color of the lower body became ordinary fishes.

Cychlase Meek

When growing tsikhlazomy Meek in a species aquarium, be prepared for the fact that they are very pugnacious. However, if they, being young, lived next door in the same aquarium with fish of other species, then their character becomes more docile.

The exception is when the fish begins to spawn, then all the cichlids become aggressive. The optimal conditions for the maintenance of cichlasoma are as follows:

  • Water temperature 24 – 26 degrees;
  • active reaction medium 7.0 – 8.2 pH;
  • Water hardness 8 – 16 dGH

Adult and healthy fish can tolerate short-term drops in water temperature by 5-6 degrees. But the lowering of the pH level of the fish is very difficult, they become very sluggish, the color turns pale, the appetite disappears and completely stops reproducing.

Also, fish is contraindicated in red-water and organic water, as it causes bacterial damage to the fins, skin and eyes.

Adult cichlasomes are extremely aggressive and very territorial. The maximum size of males varies between 15 and 16 centimeters, the females are slightly smaller – 12 centimeters.

For one pair of adult fish, an aquarium of between 90 and 100 liters is required. Aquarium plants should account for no more than half the volume of the aquarium, and the hydrophytes themselves should have a strong root system and hard leaves.

As an aquarium substrate, it is better to use a rounded pebble of an average size fraction.

Tsikhlazom Meeka, like the previous fish, is a very caring parent. Both producers care for the offspring at the same time, and the process of caring for fry is an order of magnitude tougher than that of black-striped cichlase.

When the fry will be 3 – 4 days old, it is advisable to transfer them to another large aquarium. For one litter, the female Meek can be laid off about 500 eggs, only the young ones are more capricious in terms of care and maintenance when compared with the same black-haired cychlasma.

Fry grow very quickly and extremely unevenly, stronger fish will be visible after a few weeks of life. Given the fact that the fish are very voracious, they need to be fed often and abundantly. Every 4 days you need to substitute ¾ of the water for fresh and every day to remove from the aquarium waste products and the remnants of undernourished food.

Fry grow best in aquariums with powerful biological filtration, where activated carbon is used as a filler for filters. This is especially true, given the pain of fish with an excess of organic matter in the aquarium.

There have been cases when 4-cm fish died as a result of an incorrect dosage of nitrogen-containing fertilizers introduced into the aquarium.

In general, if the aquarium is large, warm, and light, and it regularly replaces water with fresh water, the fry and adult fish do not cause any problems to the aquarist. I would like to note the tranquility of the fish, who always try to keep in mind the owner and almost never hide in the shelter.

In the aquarium, it looks great as a few pairs of adult fish, and a small school of young. Meek is also famous for its monogamy, that is, formed pairs usually do not break up.

Cychlase Meek

It was observed that the fish get used to the conditions of detention, the volume of the aquarium, planting plants and decorative elements. But it is not recommended to transplant fish in smaller volumes, because it is fraught with increased aggressive nature and the emergence of fierce clashes between the female and the male, who lived in peace and harmony before the transplant.

Subject to the above conditions of detention, Meek cichlasome is able to live up to 10 years in an aquarium. This fish can be safely recommended to those aquarists who already have some experience in the maintenance of demanding cichlids.

Another attractive and interesting representative of the cichl family is the diamond cichlasome. The first descriptions of this fish date back to 1899 and to this day they practically coincide with modern species. I would especially like to note the unusual coloring of the fish: the body has a scattering of luminous spangles that look very volumetric.

The main color of the body is dark turquoise, from which the fish was named because the color resembles small diamonds inlaid with turquoise.

The most common body color is brown-green, the eyes are dark brown, in some cases with a reddish tint. Males have a richer color and are themselves larger than females.

Fins of the extended forms. Diamond tsikhlazomy widespread in Mexico and in the state of Texas.

The maximum size of fish in natural conditions is 30 centimeters. In aquariums, fish reach smaller dimensions – no more than 18 centimeters.

Diamond cichlase

To maintain a pair of adult tsihlazom need an aquarium with a volume of 100 liters. Ideally, there should be no other inhabitants in the aquarium. This tsikhlazomy more pronounced effect of addiction to the host than the two previous species.

However, these tsikhlazomy more fearful, and in the case of the appearance of an unfamiliar person near the aquarium, the fish immediately rush to the ground, picking up a cloud of turbidity from the bottom.

The diamond tsikhlazoma is the most real predator that feeds exclusively on food of animal origin. Despite decent dimensions, these tsikhlazomy rather delicate in the choice of food, thanks to which the fish do not eat more than they need for full saturation. That is, gluttony to these cichlids is not typical.

This feature probably allows the diamond tsikhlazom to live in captivity for more than 15 years.

In terms of the content of cichlasoma is not demanding, it will suit the following parameters:

  • Water hardness 8 – 25 dGH;
  • Active reaction of the medium 7 – 8.5 pH;
  • Temperature 23 – 27 degrees.

The only thing that should not be allowed is the contamination of aquarium water, the appearance of turbidity in it and prevent its flowering.

Both producers care for their offspring and the principle of care for clutch and fry is similar to Meek cichlase. The maximum fecundity of one adult pair of fish can be more than 2000 eggs per spawning. Juveniles are different in color from their parents: in juveniles, the body is a nondescript gray with a scattering of dark spots.

The first diamond spangles begin to appear at 6 months of age. The most productive spawning occurs when a fish reaches the age of one and a half to two years, and in the last few years, fish generally lose their ability to spawn.

Young tsikhlazomy grows extremely unevenly, therefore, in order to achieve stable growth and maximum offspring, the fry must be fed from the start with “living dust” and daphnia nauplii. As the fry grows, nauplia of Artemia salin of young Moin add to the diet.

Obligatory moment: a nursery aquarium should be of large size, in which preventive and hygienic measures are regularly carried out with the complete replacement of water with fresh settled water.

I would like to note the high resistance of the diamond tsikhlazomy to various kinds of poisoning, fungal and parasitic infections. But with bacterial diseases, the situation is somewhat worse. The worse your pets are in, the greater the risk of any infectious disease in fish.

In some cases, in unscrupulous aquarists, it came to ulcers in the spinal muscles and tumors. Treatment should be started only after the maintenance conditions are optimized, and only then use medications.

All organic dyes (purple basic, methylene blue and malachite green) are ineffective if they do not benefit at all against bacterial infections. The use of rivanol and trypaflavin will be fatal for bacteria only if the dosage is the same lethal for fish.

Accordingly, it is better to use antibiotics (oxacillin, biomitsin, oksimetratsiklin) and sulfamides in the proportion of 30 – 40 mg per liter of water.

In more detail about the disease of aquarium fish, you can read in these articles:

As I have already said, there is a reason to treat fish with medicines if you have made an accurate diagnosis of the disease, because the bacteria react differently to certain drugs. Treatment of fish must be accompanied with the mandatory transplantation of infected fish into another medium-sized aquarium. In any case, transplanting fish (and all tsilapia and tschapia must change) to clean water.

Such a transplant causes the cornea of ​​the eyes of the fish to turn white. You can avoid this by adding table salt to the aquarium, taking into account the proportion of half a teaspoon per 20 liters of water.

The presence of soil and plants in the aquarium-incubator is not a prerequisite, the only thing you need is a muffled upper light. In the otsadnik it is necessary to provide high-quality round-the-clock aeration, and the porous nebulizer itself should be located 5 centimeters above the stone where the cykhlasomes spawned. The water in the aquarium should be slightly tinted with methylene blue so that it will find a light blue color.

This is necessary in order to prevent the occurrence of parasitic fungi from unfertilized eggs to healthy ones. The temperature of the water in the aquarium should be raised by several degrees.

After you pick up the eggs from the parents, immediately separate the turned white eggs with the help of a long stick, at the end of which you will tie a thin wire. The end of the wire must be blunt and decontaminated.

This operation is repeated after the stone with the caviar is placed in the incubator, and all rejected eggs must be removed with a stream of water through the hose. You must understand that even a small number of dead eggs can cause mycosis, which in turn, will destroy the entire generation of caviar.

But this is only if you do not remove it in a timely manner.

After the aquarist provides all the necessary conditions for the normal maturation of caviar, observe all stages of its development. Of particular interest is the stage of the appearance of “eyes” – this is one of the first stages of the birth of a new life. A little later, the larvae eject tails from the cavity of the egg, like penknives.

After a couple of hours, the whole brood sways on a stone that looks like a strange sea animal with many tentacles. A day later, the process of hatching larvae ends.

After the yolk sac has resolved and the larvae pass into the fry stage, small animals should be introduced into the incubator every day 2-3 times a day. In view of the weak nutritional value, it is better not to use the ciliates shoe for feeding fry with a cyclose.

Otherwise, you can with your own hands slow down the growth of fry.

As the young grow up, the volume of the aquarium should increase. If the fry grow unevenly, and this will be in any case, they will need to be regularly sorted and deposited in another aquarium.

In these cases, each group of fry should eat different food organisms.

For reproduction and maintenance in the home aquarium, you need to buy brightly colored young individuals that have reached a length of at least 4 centimeters. The most ideal option is to buy fish from completely different sources unrelated to each other.

In some sources it is advisable to buy only males, in others – only females. If we take into account the fact that the difference in height and color is clearly visible, there are practically no mistakes in choosing.

With this simple step, you prevent the fish from forming random relative pairs.

When the fish mature, they will be divided into pairs without the help of the host, which later will be settled in different aquariums. But you can successfully cross their offspring, without the risk of getting offspring from related fish.

If the popularity of Central American tsihlaz among foreign colleagues does not decrease, then our situation is somewhat different. Due to the large number of breeding forms of terntions and barbs, suppliers refuse to bring something interesting to our pet stores.

I do not know how in big cities, in my city it is very often. Two pet stores in the city center and just nothing to choose from fish.

I hope the article was useful and interesting for you. Like and share in social networks with material, if you like it.

Thank you for attention!

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