Amatitlania kanna

Amatitlania kanna is very similar to its cousin, Amatitlania nigrofasciata. Amatitlania kanna is almost as easy to keep and breed.

Amatitlania kanna

There is quite a bit of discussion about this genus. In 2001 Allgayer founded the genus Cryptoheros but unfortunately, this description was not really well executed. In 2007, Schmitter and Soto made a description of the convicts in English; the genus Amatitlania. This genus now includes Amatitlania coatepeque, Amatitlania kanna, Amatitlania nigrofasciata, and Amatitlania siquia. Many aficionados believe that this paper too has been drafted too hastily without sufficient reasons to give the convicts their own genus. They expect that all these fish will be placed back in the genus Archocentrus.


This species was classified as “different” by Allgayer in 2001 and named the fish Cryptoheros cf. nigrofasciatus. With the designation “cf” Allgayer indicates that the fish deviates from the “normal” C. nigrofasciatus. It is the highest built Convict. The height is at least 50% of the length. Two rows of scales at the base of the dorsal fin. Pelvic fins extend beyond the second anal fin radius. Pectoral fins extend beyond the fifth anal fin radius. The extended dorsal fin radius extends to 2/3 of the caudal fin. The stripe from the snout to the eye is usually well visible. Eyes blue with a gold rim. Chest olive. Transverse bands sharply defined, more intensively coloured in the middle and against the dorsal fin. No spots on the soft-beamed part of the back and anal fin. And the caudal spot completely on the fin instead of partially on the caudal peduncle.


A reference to the first river where the fish was found, Rio Cañavaral. This is characterized by its many reed beds. Kanna (κάννα) is Greek for “reed field”.


Costa Rica, Panama


The most eastern common Convict, all the way into Panama. That is why she is also called the “Panamanian Zebra”. Here it occurs in the province of Bocas del Torro, in rivers that flow into Laguana de Chiriqui. From the border river Rio Sixaola in Costa Rica to Rio Cañaveral, Rio Sixaola, Rio San San, Rio Changuinola. It occurs in a number of rivers together with Amatitlania nanolutea and Amatitlania altoflava.


Amatitlania kanna shares the temperamental behaviour known from other Amatitlania species. Especially when they have eggs or young.


Amatitlania kanna is omnivorous. Worms, crustaceans, snails, insects and their larvae, small fish, but also plant material such as algae and plants. As mentioned, Amatitlania kanna occurs in a number of rivers together with Cryptoheros nanoluteus and Cryptoheros altoflavus. It has not yet been investigated to what extent they compete with each other. They may occupy different niches. We find an indication of this in the measurement data collected by Schmitter-Soto. He also measured the lengths of the intestines. This often gives an indication of the type of food being eaten. Herbivores have longer intestines than meat-eaters. The intestines of Cryptoheros nanoluteus and Cryptoheros altoflavus are the longest of all Cryptoheroses and 1/3 longer than those of Amatitlania Kanna. This could therefore be an indication of a different diet.


There are reports indicating that breeding would be slightly more difficult than with Amatitlania nigrofasciatus.


Slightly more sensitive than Amatitlania nigrofasciatus. The water in which this Convict naturally occurs is somewhat softer than that of the other Convicts. pH neutral and a temperature of around 26 degrees Celsius.



Rene Beerlink – NVCWeb

Copyright images

F. Ingemann Hansen –


Schmitter-Soto, Juan Jacobo, 2007. “A systematic revision of the genus Archocentrus (Perciformes: Cichlidae), with the description of two new genera and six new species”. Zootaxa. n. 1603, pp. 1-78


Froese R. & Pauly D. (eds) (2013). FishBase (version Feb 2013). In: Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life, 11th March 2013 (Roskov Y., Kunze T., Paglinawan L., Orrell T., Nicolson D., Culham A., Bailly N., Kirk P., Bourgoin T., Baillargeon G., Hernandez F., De Wever A., eds).

Last Updated on 3 July 2021 by John

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