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exCichlasoma festae

Photos and text : George J. Reclos

 

Those photos were taken only two days after the fish arrived in our tanks. Click on the thumbnails to see the high resolution pictures.

These photos were taken 20 days later. You can see the difference in coloration and shape. Click on the thumbnails to see the high resolution pictures.

ExCichlasoma festae was one of the fish that we (Johnny and I) always wanted to keep but this species is not readily available in Greece while, even when it is, the specimens are of poor quality. Due to the addition of some new tanks, we did have some space for it so, during our recent visit to the AFC congress Johnny managed to get 10 of them at the auction. It should be noted that the quality of the fish obtained at this auction is always superb. The 10 juveniles were separated in two teams, each of them occupying an 100 liter tank with very heavy decoration to avoid early losses. The fish, when arrived in Athens, measured a mere 3 cm TL which became a fascinating 6 cm in a month. They are fed four times daily and we change 60% of the water weekly. As you can see in the first group of photos the changes which took place during this month are amazing. Not only did the coloration intensify considerably but the size and shape of the fish has changed too. Needless to say, after a couple of days, the 5 juveniles justified their common name "red terror". The addition of rocks and large pieces of bogwood resulted in a temporary peace. We estimate that the best we can hope for is two pairs (one in every tank) so we will keep an eye open to remove all other fish before they are killed. The fish in the second group of photos shows the female markings, which may or may not be indicative of its sex. In the second photo of this group you can see it displaying to another C.festae. This South American fish is known to be one of the most aggressive cichlids ever. The fact that it grows quite large makes ample tank space a must. According to the literature the fish will attain a final size of 40 cm but Joerg Albering who has kept them, told us that they will actually get closer to 50 cm (the male) and 30 cm (the female) With this final size, the pair will need at least 500 liters of water with clever decoration and this is exactly what we are going to give it in the future. This report will be regularly updated of course...

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