Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Fish Profile: Synsipilum Cichlids

Iranian Specimen of Vieja Synsipilum. UWOP.
Synsipilum Cichlids are a perfect case for two things: why cichlids are a niche pet, and why I hate common names. This species has about fifty to sixty trade names - locally they are sold as Tie-Dye Cichlids - which makes doing one's research, as one should before adopting any pet, rather difficult.

As you can see, they're very colorful fish. The specimen to the left is 10", though these fish can be expected to grow to about 17". The are relatively peaceful, but show considerable aggression with each other - it is best to keep them in a sexed pair or singularly.  The best way to include these fish in a tank is in a South American Cichlid community tank, provided with ample territorial spaces - caves, bogwood, and plantations. Even in such a space, success is not assured and you must take care to ensure your fish are not fighting amongst each other.

You're looking at about 55 Gallons for a single adult fish, and as South American fish, you are best off in the range of 6.8-7.8 pH with neutral hardness and a temperature of 79 Fahrenheit. They're from slow-moving sections of the Rio Usumacinta and appreciate a relatively low floor.

A good diet for these fish include cichlid pellets and algae wafers, augmented with prawn or mussel meat in adults and live blood worms or brine shrim as juveniles.
Tie-Dye Cichlid Juviniles. A&G Photo.

Breeding is said to be relatively easy, when a compatible pair are found. The parents do not turn against the fry until they are ready for a second spawn, and the fry feed easily on brine shrimp and common fry staple.

Regarding my point about the niche pets, these fish are a wonderful example of what I hate about cichlids. The picture to the right is far closer to what you see in the pet store.

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