Amphilophus citrinellus – Midas Cichlid

Amphiliphus citrinellus is one of the large Central American cichlids. Because of its fairly aggressive behaviour only to be kept with equally large resilient Cichlids.

Amphilophus citrinellus – Midas Cichlid

Amphilophus citrinellus can reach a length of about 40 centimeters. The sex difference can be clearly seen in adult fish, the males are slightly larger than the females and have longer fins and a distinct neck hump behind the head. They are also known as Midas Cichlids. In the wild, this species comes in several color variants including Gold, Marble, Red-Head, and Tiger. In addition, there are breeders that have produced different color varieties.

Synonyms: Cichlasoma citrinellus, Heros citrinellus, Heros basilaris, Cichlasoma granadense, Erythrichthus citrinellus.


These fish are not only very large but also very aggressive. They will attack any fish, even conspecifics can fall victim. It is therefore advisable to choose a very large tank of more than 1000 liters or to only put one fish in it.

In addition to being so aggressive, they will really see everything as food. Worms, mussels, shrimps, etc. make a good meal. But vegetables such as spinach are also eaten. Beef heart should however be avoided, this is very unhealthy for the fish.

These fish can live 12 to 15 years if kept properly.

Various colour strains are available:


Nicaragua, Costa Rica.


Solid live food or frozen food can be given as food such as shrimp, mussels, worms, mysis, krill, and brine shrimp. Do not give red mosquito larvae, tubifex, or beef heart, they are difficult to digest. Cichlid sticks are also accepted, so make sure you have enough variety.

The Aquarium

For these fish an aquarium is required that is at least 2 meters 50 long, 60 centimetres high, and 60 centimetres deep. Decorate the tank with driftwood and stones so that there are sufficient hiding places. Plants must be firmly anchored because this species likes to dig in the soil. Use a powerful filter and change the water regularly. Also, make sure you have enough swimming space.

Water parameters

Temperature: 21-25 degrees Celsius.
PH: 7.0-8.0
GH: 8-12

Breeding Amphilophus citrinellus – Midas Cichlid

The most difficult part of breeding the Amphilophus citrinellus – Midas Cichlid is finding a suitable pair. The easiest way to do this is to put some fish together from an early age. This will automatically lead to couples. The problem with this trick is that the remaining fish have to be removed. Forming pairs by simply putting another fish in the tank is never going well. This almost always results in one fish killing another.

Amphilophus citrinellus with fry
Amphilophus citrinellus with fry

Once a couple is established, breeding is fairly easy. Several hundred eggs will be laid on decorative material. The eggs will hatch after 3 to 5 days.
The fry are then transferred to a pre-dug pit and after 5 to 7 days they will be swimming free

Do not remove the young from the parent animals too early. This can make the male very confused and go all out. There is then a high chance that the female will be killed. If the fry and the female have survived the breeding, the male will make another breeding attempt. If the female refuses, the male will also go crazy with all the consequences that entails.



Kevin – Coby – J. de Lange

Copyright images

Johan Nijs
Ramon Koning
F. Ingemann Hansen –
Jeff Raps –

Additional information






Amphilophus citrinellum, Archocentrus citrinellus, Cichlasoma citrinella, Cichlasoma citrinellum, Cichlasoma granadense, Herichthys citrinellus, Heros basilaris, Heros citrinellus

Common name

Midas Cichlid

First described by

Albert Günther


Social behaviour

Breeding behaviour


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