Rio Grande Perch
Genus name: Cichlasoma Cyanoguttatum
Also known as: Texas Cichlid
Distribution: Northern Mexico and Texas
Length: up to 12″ (30cm)
Minimum Tank Length: 36″ (90cm)
Water Temperature: 59-77F (15-25C)
Diet: Worms, crustaceans, insects, chopped meat, plant matter
Water: not critical
Breeding: Egg Layers
The Rio Grande Perch is the only member of the Cichlid family which is native to the United States. This fish is an elongated, laterally compressed Cichlid, with an arched back and a bulging forehead. The dorsal fin is pointed, but not elongated, and the caudal fin is slightly concave.
The male adult Rio Grande Perches are blue-grey or chestnut-brown with an irregular pattern of blue or green streaks that extend onto the dorsal, caudal and anal fins. The female Rio Grande Perch is similar, but less intensely coloured.
The young Rio Grande Perch are clay-coloured with a few dark markings on their flanks.
The Rio Grande Perch is an aggressive fish that will uproot any plants in the aquarium. The aquarium is best if it contains only rocks and roots positioned to form separate compartments so that the Rio Grande Perch can establish territories. A few floating plants would be advantageous, and good aeration in the aquarium is essential.
At breeding time, the female will lay from 400 to 500 eggs, and these are laid out in the open in large spawning pits, or sometimes on rocks cleaned by the fishes. The eggs hatch in five to seven days, but the adult Rio Grande Perch are not always good parents, and will not always protect their young.