Aequidens epae

Aequidens epae can grow up to 14 inches long. When they have fry, they are moved from pit to pit by both parents.

Aequidens epae

Aequidens epae was first described in 1995 by Kullander. The genus name Aequidens can be broken down into two Latin words. Aequus means “equal” or “equally”. Dens or dentis means “teeth”. Roughly translated, it means something like “fish with smooth teeth”. The species name is given in honour of Expedição Permanente da Amazonia (EPA) of the Museum of Zoology of the University of Sao Paulo. The expeditions they organize have contributed greatly to the knowledge about the fish species in that region.


Aequidens epae can reach a maximum length of about 14 centimetres. They have a red/blue coloured mask on the underside of their heads. The colour of the eye is red. Depending on the mood, they show several vertical dark coloured bands that can almost disappear completely. These bands are crossed by a horizontal band across the sidelines.

The scales on the centre of the scale show a light blue iridescent spot. The iridescent spots also appear on the dorsal anal and caudal fin. Often two almost black spots can also be seen, one on the flank and one on the caudal peduncle.

The dark spot on the flank runs towards the tail. With this you can also distinguish Aequidens epae from the similar species Aequidens diadema, Aequidens gerciliae and Aequidens metae. In these species, this spot runs vertically. The distinction with Aequidens gercilae can be seen by the caudal fin. Aequidens epae has slightly iridescent light blue spots on the caudal fin, which are missing in Aequidens gercilae.

The gender difference is difficult to see. The male is slightly larger than the female. The male’s dorsal and anal fins are a bit more pointed. In the female, these fins are slightly more rounded.

What is Aequidens epae lifespan?

Aequidens epae can reach a maximum age of about eight to ten years.


This species comes from South America. They inhabit the lower reaches of the Rio Tapajos. You can usually find them at depths of one to three meters. Aequidens epae prefers clear running water. The substrate can be muddy or sandy soils and soils with more rocks or stones.


In the wild, Aequidens epae feeds on invertebrates, algae and small fish. You can feed them with flakes, granules, live and frozen food in the aquarium, but they also like earthworms.

The aquarium

Because Aequidens epae can reach a length of about 14 centimetres, an aquarium from 150 centimetres is recommended. Decorate the aquarium with sand or gravel on the bottom. Provide sufficient hiding places in the form of rocks, wood and plants. Sword plants are excellent for this.

They make few demands on the water composition. Maintain a temperature of about 23 to 30 degrees Celsius and a pH of 6.0 to 7.5.

It is better not to keep them together with too small species, which can end up as food.

Breeding Aequidens epae

Because the gender difference is difficult to see, it is difficult to get a breeding couple together. Aequidens epae can be sexually mature from about 10 months and at a length of 7 to 9 centimetres.

You can encourage spawning by giving them fresh water and raising the temperature slightly.

The eggs are laid by the female on a piece of rock, wood or whatever the parents consider suitable. Both parents guard the nest, which can consist of about 300 to 1,000 eggs.

The eggs hatch after two to three days. As soon as the fry can swim, they are moved by the parents to a shallow pit they dug out previously. Here the Aequidens epae fry feed on micro-organisms and algae. The parents regularly dig new pits after which they move the young fish again. Both Aequidens epae parents contribute to this.

You can feed the young Aequidens epae with dust food and, for example, newly hatched brine shrimp.



John de Lange

Copyright images

F. Ingemann Hansen –



Additional information






Social Behaviour

Breeding behaviour



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Length minimum in cm


Length maximum in cm


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