Heros efasciatus Common name: Gold Severum Care Level: easy Size: 8-10 inches pH range: 6.0-7.0 Temperature range: 23-27 degrees Celsius (74-80 degrees Fahrenheit) Origin: Amazon basin, South America Temperament: peaceful to slightly aggressive Compatible Tankmates: Severums are fairly peaceful for cichlids. They should, however, be kept with similar-sized fish, as they may pick on smaller, slower moving fish. Ideal tankmates would be similar-sized South American cichlids, plecos and possibly large tetras. The tankmates should nevertheless be big enough not to be regarded as treats. Giant danios, plecos, synodontis, other cichlids, loaches and Mastacembelus often make fine tankmates. Diet: Severums are not fussy eaters and will consume almost everything provided. As these are omnivores, they will eat plant matter and meaty foods. Please do make sure the rest of the fish can get their fair share of foods as these severums do tend to outstrip their competition for food. Tank Size for Adult: Due to their fast growth rate which eventually slows down the moment they reach six inches, it is recommended that a 40g be provided as a start for one severum. A 55g will accommodate a pair of severums. Narrative: Severums originated from Amazon River basin in South America where water is soft and acidic although captive-bred severums can adapt well to different water conditions when acclimated properly. Heros efasciatus are often confused with the Heros severus. The difference is H. efasciatus are substrate spawners whereas as H. severus are mouthbrooders. They are often sold as juveniles in pet stores and are not as expensive as the adults are. It will be worth your while buying them as juveniles and raise them to adulthood. This species can grow 8-10 inches and this must be considered before you purchase them. Growth rate eventually slows down the moment they reach 5-6 inches. The tank must be large enough with 40 gallons as the minimum when keeping one. A tank should be furnished with plenty of driftwoods, substrate and plastic plants. Ideally, Java ferns and anubias may work. Several live plants will not last a long time as the severums will eventually shred them to pieces. Males and females are very difficult to distinguish although females do have shorter anal and dorsal fins. Females are also reported to have slightly lighter coloration than males with few or even no squiggle marks on their faces. During spawning season, like all other cichlids, males should have ovipositors with the tip shaped rather pointed and positioned almost forward whereas females will have a round tip and positioned backwards. These are open water breeders and will lay eggs reaching 500 and more. They tend for their fry afterwards.