Stocking Fish Tips: Make sure that any new fish you are planning to add to your tank will be compatible with the current inhabitants. You need to look at temperament, water parameters and tank size requirements. For instance, please don’t put a common pleco in anything under 55 gallons.
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The severum, Heros severus (previously known as Cichlasoma severum), is a freshwater tropical cichlid native to the Amazon region in South America. It is commonly found in the aquarium trade, often in its gold colored variation rather than the wild-type olive green one. The gold coloration appears to be caused by a single gene and is recessive to the green variation. There has been mention of certain “specialized” types of severums for sale in some aquarium stores. One of these variations is the “Orange Neck-Tie” severum. The severum is also known as banded cichlid.
As an aquarium fish, the severum is a relatively mild-tempered cichlid, although aggression is not uncommon. It grows to a length of 6-12 inches, is omnivorous, but will benefit from vegetable matter in its diet. Courgette, peas, and lettuce will be eaten with relish, as will commercially available herbivore foods. If sufficient green-matter is not included in its diet, it may eat aquarium plants. It can get along well with much smaller fish in a community aquarium – however it may eat fish that are small enough to fit into its mouth. When mating, severums become very aggressive and territorial. The pair will guard several hundred eggs. Unlike Angel fish, Heros severus lays their clutch of eggs on a horizontal surface, rather than vertical. This is usually on a flat piece of slate, driftwood, or a round rock. The parents will tend to the eggs very carefully, eating the dead ones, and aerating the live eggs.
In general, this is a hardy and robust fish with lots of character. However, it does require a fairly large aquarium, with the usual neotropical cichlid requirements of good biological filtration and sound husbandry. Decor is not generally important, but the fish can be shy without some hiding places to retreat to, and care should be taken to ensure any rocks included do not harden the water too much as the fish originates from soft acidic water.