Big And Shy

Although one of the larger Cichlid species, the Severum is generally a passive fish

by Mike McEwan

Severums are popular Cichlids from the northern Amazon basin. Their bodies are very deep, almost oval in shape, and vary in color depending on the fish. Several color strains of Severums have been bred including Brown, Green, Gold and Turquoise. All Severums require the same care.

Tank Setup

Severums are shy fish that require a fair-sized aquarium. 45 gallons is adequate for a fully grown adult. Furnish the aquarium with driftwood and robust plants. Rocky structures are appreciated. Tankmates should be large enough to fend for themselves over territories, but not so aggressive that they will overtake the Severum.


These fish are omnivorous and thus should be fed a variety of live and prepared foods. Vegetable matter such as lettuce or algae tablets are favorite foods. Worms of all types as well as insect larvae make ideal meat-based foods that should be included in the diet.

Water Chemistry

Severums are hardy fish with no special water requirements. A neutral pH around 7.0 is ideal, as is a water temperature between 74-81 degrees F.


These fish breed in the usual Cichlid fashion. Raising the aquarium temperature may trigger spawning in which the female lays up to 1,000 eggs on carefully cleaned rocks. The fry are cared for by both parents. Finding a pair may be difficult and a choice of females may be required. Males are said to have pointier anal and dorsal fins, while the female has a dark spot on her dorsal.

Severum; Banded Cichlid

Sci Name:
Cichlasoma severum
Northern Amazon basin
Max Size:
74-81 F.
Tank Size:
45 Gallons

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