Fast facts on Aequidens rivulatus
Biotope: South America (it’s said, namely, Equador and Peru) in still waters of the local river basins
Tank size: 250/300 lt for an adult pair (see below remarks on Tankmates) is – as far as I know – the bare minimum. A large foot print has to be considered a “plus” because of fish final (once fully grown up) size (mostly the male). Aquascaping of the tank will show caves and spots to hide in: driftwood, rockwork will be used while live plants, beyond the fact are useful and nice to look at will be – most likely - uprooted. A good filtration (remember this fish is said to prefer still waters) is a must, while the same is true for frequent water changes.
Water chemistry: pH 6.5 to 7.5; water temp 72ºF to 82ºF (20-24°C)
Spawning: Like many other large CA/SA cichlids the best way to achieve a healthy spawn is by getting a group of unrelated juveniles to grow from fry to adulthood (sexually mature) fish allowing them to – freely - pair off. The pair will breed in “open water” and usually spawn on a flat stone (remember this hint when aquascaping the tank). Water chemistry is of minor, to neglectable, importance. Once a pair is formed they will easily spawn in hard or soft water and high or low pH. In this case they fish will show an excellent parental care and a single batch can include up to 400 fry (feed them on baby brine shrimp or fine flake food). The female will take (is said to do so, no direct experience) the dominant role in raising the fry.
Food: They are omnivorous and will accept all types of food. Live food (aka smaller fish that fit their mouth) will be considered a “bonus”!
Tank Mates: As with many other large cichlids, tankmates will be chosen among fishes (cichlids or not) big enough to face the Aequidens rivulatus. Dither fishes, too, will have to be fast and sturdy. Loriicarids of big size (Hypostomus, Panaque) can, also be considered as suitable tankmates. NOTE: When young they may be kept in cichlid community but – in the long run – this fish does best when kept in a species tank. American common name of this fish is Green Terror … in this case a nickname is worth one thousand words.
NOTE: The pair shown in these photos is hosted by Costantino Orlandi (excellent breeder, by the way!) owner of the fish shop “Blu & Verde” in Cerenova (immediately close to Rome, Italy)