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Geophagus brasiliensis

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Geophagus brasiliensis is a freshwater fish species, a member of the South American Cichlid family. Cichlid species are popular in fishkeeping aquaria.

Its main body colour can be anything from pale light brown to dark blue almost purple; their colours change with moods and during mating sessions. Brasiliensis has one dark spot which may or may not be visible on its body, located towards its tail, it also may display several black bands running top to bottom down its body. Its markings, which cover its body, are bright blue speckles which shine bright in a healthy fish; they have red fins which may have blueish tones and be tipped in black; but again these colours may change, brighten or fade depending on the mood. They can grow quite large, with males reaching just over a foot and females generally a little smaller. In a group they will usually pair up once they are around 2–3 inches; at this time they can be quite aggressive to other fish, defending their territory and breeding space.

The sex of the fish is often unclear until they reach adult size, at which point the size difference between the genders becomes pronounced. Breeders will often attempt to pair the fish without sexing them; there is a chance however that two females may pair up in which case the fish will lay eggs that never hatch. Once a male-female pair is found, they tend to yield 150–200 offspring after successfully mating. Unlike certain other species, they do not have to be separated from their young.

Geophagus brasilensis have a temperature range of 22–26 °C. They prefer soft to neutral pH level, although they are quite hardy. They tend to thrive when provided with calm waters, provided by under-gravel filters rather than traditional water pumps. They can be fed any recommended cichlid feed and can be trained to accept floating or sinking foods. With good care they can live for around 10–15 years. The fish are kept in medium to large tanks of 16 cubic feet and with some sort of shelter. When the Geophagus brasilensis has access to shelter, they tend to be healthier and develop more pronounced coloration. They can be kept with other large, less aggressive fish, or paired with their own kind.