Rainbow Cichlid – Herotilapia multispinosa
Species name: Herotilapia multispinosa
Common names: Rainbow Cichlid
Maximum length: 3.6″ (9 cm)
Minimum tank size: 50 gallons
Distribution: Central American: Costa Rica to Honduras and Nicaragua
Diet: In the wild, Herotilapia multispinosa is often found eating small insect larvae. In the aquarium, however, they will take just about any prepared food.
While there are many different species of Cichlids, the Rainbow Cichlid is rather unique in both its shading and calm nature, as well as a few other distinctive identifying features. Undeniably the smallest and most peaceful of the Cichlid family, the Rainbow Cichlid is classified as the monotypic genus Herotilapia multispinosa. Its individual inclusion in this genus is largely due to the fact that it has tricuspid teeth, a feature unique only to this species. This wonderfully novel species of fish is native to Central America, where, in its natural habitat, it is able to use its interesting tooth formation to feed on algae. Its natural habitat consists primarily of rock and sand in fairly fast moving waters. In breeding season, these freshwater fish will lay 600 to 10000 eggs at a time on rocks and roots. The female will protect these eggs by fanning water over them with her fins. While generally known to be rather good parents, they have on occasion, been known to eat their own eggs. They are established to be a semi-aggressive species, and can be kept in an aquarium with other medium sized Cichlids.
Famous for its fantastic coloration, the Rainbow Cichlid is well known for its ability to alter its color according to mood. It will often change colors when frightened, when sexually active, or when with its young. With a lemony, yellowish orange body and beautiful iridescent hues, the brilliant striping of this fish runs from behind the eyes to the caudal fin base. The unique coloring of the species sets it apart from the others in its family of Cichlid. The male is typically larger in size and of a brighter shade. In addition, he tends to have longer, pointed anal and dorsal fins. The edging on the fins may consist of a bright blue tint and alternating blue rows of color. While it may be a bit difficult to distinguish between the male and female of the species, one feature of the female that particularly marks it from the male is a dark spot just below the dorsal fin and on the lower gill cover. The most brilliant coloration of these beautiful fish can be observed during the breeding season.
The Rainbow Cichlid is a very hardy aquarium fish. The tank should be set up with rocks and roots to make the fish feel that it is in its natural environment. The optimal water temperature should be maintained at 72-77F or 79-81F, with a ph of 6.5 to 8.0, and a dh9-20. Be sure to have a tank capacity of about 50 gallons and maintain the light at a medium range to provide lots of room. The aquarium should have a sandy layer at the bottom with well rooted plants. The Rainbow Cichlid does not have a tendency to burrow, so your plant life will not likely be uprooted. Broken pottery shards make good hiding places when strategically placed among plants. Its tricuspid teeth enable this fish to feed on the rock algae, but it will also feed on dried bloodworms, ocean plankton, flakes, and also Cichlid pellets and vegetable based foods. The ease associated with caring for the Rainbow Cichlid, coupled with its extraordinary and unusual beauty, make this fish ideal for the beginner.
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Article written by www.aquariumslife.com
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