Aquaria Central .............................Jaguar cichlid

Cichlasoma managuense
Other names:...........Managuense, Managua
Origin:......................Eastern Honduras, Lake Managua, Lake Nicaragua, Costa Rica
Max size:..................12"
Temperature:...........73-77 F.
Min tank size:..........60 gallons foods, beef heart, worms, pellets

The Jaguar cichlid is a top predator and can travel at a great speed. Nearly all cichlids go through a color change when they get mature, and this fish is no exeption. Young Jaguar cichlids are a dull silver with spots running along the body. As it matures, it's dullness is even greater, until suddenly, as it becomes sexually mature, things change. Drab blotches become darker and darker, eventually turning black. The common name 'Jaguar cichlid' comes from all the dark spots like on the jaguar cat. These spots are less extreme in females. One endearing feature is its lower lip, which often reveals two to four quite small, but prominent, incisor teeth.

Although this fish is a predator, it isn't acually as aggressive (usually) as its size and mean looks would make you think. It will live in a big tank with other large cichlids, but sometimes will not tolerate other cichlids that are similar in color to the jaguar. However, any fish that is small enough to fit into its mouth, should definetly not be kept in the same aquarium with the Jaguar cichlid.

Keeping this fish in good health is quite easy. A sufficiently large aquarium is essential; as a guide, it should be about five times the length of the fish. Plenty of rock and caves and low lighting will help this fish to settle down and feel at home. Although its natural food is live fish, the jaguar can soon learn to take prepared food, such as prawns or raw fish along with pelleted foods.

Sexing the Jaguar cichlid is quite easy, once it has attained a total length of about five inches or more. At this stage, males become very aggressive towards other fish that they feel are a threat. Females are far less colorful and if fed well, are much plumper.

Jaguar cichlids spawn in caves in the wild, but will settle for a flat rock in the aquarium. The female lays about 2000-3000 eggs and the parents protect them. The eggs hatch after three days and the fry are free swimming five days after that. At this point, the aquarist must cull the fry dramatically if any specimens are to grow at a proper rate and attain their full adult size.


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