Fast facts on Geophagus crassilabris.
by Francesco Zezza
Biotope: Central America, in particular central and eastern Panama (both on Pacific and Atlantic sides). It’s said to prefer moderate to fast flowing waters thriving on a substrate consisting of small stones, sand, rocks and leaf debris fallen from the forest canopy above.
Tank: Grown up (I have six specimens) in a 75 liters tank, they were then moved to a 500 l unit (shared with a lot of amazon fishes which has posed no problems till now). They are supposed to attain a maximum total adult length of 24 cm (male specimens). All I can say is that these fishes gain size and show colours with a ridiculously and frustrating slow rate …
Water chemistry: They prefer neutral water (pH 6,5 – 7,0); this helps them to get along well with amazonians. They are also reported to have troubles when water temperature reaches 30° C or higher. This has in fact happened in my tank during the hot days of the Italian summers, without any – at least noticeable – problems.
Spawning: The only info I happen to have (and I am not dead sure about its validity) is the fact that it is a maternal mouthbrooder. Till now I have no information concerning the duration of the incubation, the expected number of eggs (per clutch) and so on …
Food: They seem to feed on almost anything: flakes, pellets of different size, frozen / fresh food, live food (black mosquito larvae are eagerly accepted). It’s an easy picker … morsels lost at feeding time are subsequently actively searched for by shifting the whole tank bottom (a somewhat noisy attitude if the grains are not tiny). A drawback in keeping this beautiful fish is the amount of debris they raise while shifting.
Tank Mates: I have a personal satisfactory experience with: other small cichlids (Pterophyllum sp., Apistogramma agassizi, Cryptoheros nanoluteus); characins, Corydoras, Loriicaridis and other catfishes: so far so good!!!
Odd facts:As far as I know this is the only central American geophagine since all the other members of the genus live in South America. Finally, I should note that, to the best of my knowledge - these (six) fishes are the only specimens present in Italy for the moment. I do hope they will breed (and the SOONER the BETTER!).
A Final point worth mentioning is the book I consider as a reference source on this matter which (guess what?) I happen to have!
NOW – as usual – the pics:
My BIGGER specimen (is it a male?).
Another picture (note that the colours are less intense; is is a sign I have a female?)
Three (out of six) of my Geophagus crassilacris group patrolling the tank.