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Geophagus steindachneri

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G. steindachneri is native to river drainages and lakes in South America, particularly Colombia and Venezuela. It lives in water that is slightly acidic to neutral (6.5 to 7.0 pH) and about 24 to 26 degrees Celsius (75-79 F). It is stenohaline, found only in mainland freshwater environments, and is endemic to neotropical environments in South America.

Wild G. steindachneri fishes take substrate material into their mouths and sift out inedible bits of sand or gravel, while consuming detritus and small organisms. In captivity, G. steindachneri readily accepts most types of prepared fish foods, as well as finely chopped vegetables, shelled peas, frozen bloodworms (mosquito larvae), and blackworms.

G. steindachneri is commonly available in the aquarium trade, and relatively easy to maintain. Adults should be kept in aquariums of at least 200 liters (50 gallons); juveniles in no less than 110 liters (30 gallons). This fish has a habit of taking substrate into its mouth and spitting it back out or sifting it through its gills. It is likely to uproot aquarium plants if they are not secured or well established. G. steindachneri tends to be aggressive toward conspecifics, especially large males. Adult males of this species will not tolerate other males or females carrying a brood. Females can be kept in groups, but will become aggressive in smaller aquariums. G. steindachneri tend to resemble African cichlids, especially the mbuna of Lake Malawi, in their behavior, level of aggression, and breeding patterns.