Geophagus brasiliensis – Pearl Cichlid
Geophagus brasiliensis was first described in 1824 by Quoy and Gaimard. The genus name Geophagus can be broken down into two ancient Greek words. Gea means earth and phagein means food. Combined they mean “earth-eater”. Hence the common name for this group of fish is “Eartheaters”. The species name brasiliensis is named after its origin: Brazil.
Synonyms: Chromis brasiliensis, Chromys unimaculata, Acara gymnopoma, Acara minuta.
Geophagus brasiliensis can reach a length of about 20 centimeters. This fish has a grey-green ground color with blue-white pearly spots over it, the fins are almost completely red. In the trade, they are often offered as Pearl Cichlid. The females remain smaller than the males.
Brazil, Uruguay, South America.
An aquarium of at least 1 meter is required for Geophagus brasiliensis. Set up the tank with some plants, it is best to anchor the plants in a flower pot in the ground, because the Geophagus can dig a lot during the breeding period. Use rocks and driftwood to create shelters. The bottom should consist of fine sand that is not too sharp.
Temperature: 20-23 degrees Celsius.
Live food can be given such as beef heart, fish meat, shrimp, mussels, earthworms and frozen food, they also accept dry flakes and granules.
Geophagus brasiliensis is best kept as a pair, they are not as aggressive as other Geophagus species, except during the breeding season. They fiercely defend their eggs and fry against other fish. Furthermore, they are peaceful fish towards other species.
Breeding Geophagus brasiliensis
Breeding is not very difficult. When a pair has formed, they will dig and polish a rock on which the eggs will be deposited. They prefer to use round stones for cleaning. In the aquarium, they also lay their eggs in flower pots. Geophagus brasiliensis starts laying eggs at an early age, you can expect them to start laying eggs from about 10 centimeters in length.
The nests of the Geophagus brasiliensis can contain as many as 600 to 800 eggs. Be careful not to raise an entire litter. Usually, there is not enough market to sell them all. You can raise the young Geophagus brasiliensis with brine shrimp nauplii and bigger food as soon as they get bigger.
F. Ingemann Hansen – Akvariefotografen.com