Aequidens pulcher, Gill, 1858
Origin: Panama, Venezuela, Colombia and on Trinidad, in moderately flowing and standing water.
Synonyms:Aequidens latifrons, Cychlasoma pulchrum.
First European import: Germany, 1906, by H. Stüve.
Description: See picture.
Care: Larger tanks, minimum 80 cm, with good filtration and some hideouts. Not particular to watervalues, and the fish neither dig a lot, nor damage the plants. The fish are territorial, so only in large tanks more than a pair can be kept. The fish should be kept at moderate temperatures, around 21 degrees. Since the fish excrements pollute a lot, especially in smaller tanks regular waterchanges are necessary. An occasional bit of sunlight is appreciated by the fish, and will really bring out the colors.
Temperature: 18-28 degrees.
Feeding: Live and frozen food.
Size: Up to 20 cm has been reported, although usually smaller, up to 11 cm(like the fish in the picture)..
Breeding: Easy, raise the temperature in the tank to 27 degrees, water not too hard and around neutral. The fish can be bred after 6 months, although it is better to wait for another year since the parents will otherwise remain smaller. Frequent waterchanges and some suitable stones, on which the fish will lay their eggs. Aequidens pulcher are exemplary parents, they protect and care for the fry and eggs very well, and for a long time. Caring usually ends at the time the parents are getting ready to start to mate again. Up to 500 eggs are produced which will hatch in approximately 2 days. After that the parent will move the fry to a ditch in the sand, where the fry will become fully free swimming over the next 1.5 day. After 10 days a school of hundreds of fry will be swimming between and around the parents, who will feed them by chewing up chunks of food into small particles, and spitting it out between the fry.
Sexual dimorphism: Hard to see, males are supposed to have longer finnage when fully grown.
Picture references:picture 1: E. Naus
References:Baensch, H. A., Riehl, R.(1982): Aquarien Atlas I. Mergus Verlag, Melle, Germany.(click on the link to buy this book)
Hoedeman, J. J.(1969): Aquariumvissen encyclopedie 6. Elsevier Nederland B. V., Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
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