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Parachromis managuensis



Parachromis managuensis (Nandopsis managuensis, "Jaguar" cichlid)

The correct scientific name for this remarkable fish is Parachromis managuensis, previously Nandopsis managuensis however most hobbyists still refer to it as Cichlasoma managuensis or "Jaguar cichlid". It (along with the closely related Nandopsis dovii - the "Wolf cichlid") belongs to the Guapotes or large predatory cichlids of Central America. Its sheer final size (50 cm) and its aggression towards conspecifics and other species makes a large tank (over 2 meters long, at least 700 liter capacity) a must. Housing two fish of the same sex (and even more so males) together (even in such a tank) is not recommended. The tank should be aquascaped in the usual "central America" way (rocks, sand, litter leaves and wood) and a pH slightly alkaline is desired (7.2-7.5). It is a mid water fish and requires calm water conditions (in nature it is found in small streams). Will readily accept feeder fish (not recommended) and large fish meals. Some months ago we came across a single specimen which was living for 18 months in an 120 liter tank all alone since the petshop owner had experienced heavy losses whenever this particular fish was housed with any other fish. Yes, he was not willing to dispose it and nobody wanted it. When we came across this lonely swimmer we decided to give it a better (although still far from optimum) home. We bought and aquascaped a tank with this particular species in mind, hoping that we could someday form a pair. A couple of months later we came across another unwanted Parachromis managuensis which was returned to a petshop after killing all the inhabitants in its previous tank - despite its very small size (less than 9 cm at that time). Just another guy visiting an ignorant petshop owner (not the one which kept the fish; we are pretty sure that the guy in the first shop would flush the fish) and getting the wrong fish for the wrong tank. After getting some information from Dr. Ron Coleman, it seemed that it was the missing opposite sex, most probably a male so .. we got it. Water parameters in their tank are pH=7.8, GH=8, KH=8 and 26oC. Feeding it with the regular size pellets is not recommended. We feed it large size floating pellets (Tetra Arowana sticks) and live earthworms (twice weekly) which we collect ourselves and clean with water before offering them. We were surprised to find out that even the small one preferred the big pellets although disproportionally large for its mouth. The same was true with the eartworms. The small one is able to eat eartworms larger than itself. The fish (according to the literature) is very intelligent although its aggression may be manifested any time (may even bit your hand). Our experience after living with it for more than 5 months now is that it is also a very sensitive fish. The large fish is a very shy fish and clearly had a problem to accept human presence at first. Johnny has worked very hard with those fish and with a lot of love and careful handling the fish have slowly started to accept his presence and even show some kind of recognition which - at present - is limited to Johnny only. When we first got the fish it was just impossible to see it. It would even refuse to eat if anyone was present. We had to cover half the tank with a black carton so the fish would stay behind the carton and eat. This is another sad story (you can also read about a similar fish saved by Francesco; a Nandopsis octofasciatum) and we feel that any real hobbyist and fish lover who has the kind of space needed should try and save some of those unfortunate creatures whenever they come across them. We all have our favorites and we definitely had other plans for our new 360 liter tank but we feel much better now - knowing we have two fish which will get a chance to die of old age. We know that some of you only care about your hi tech planted tank or your multi dollar reef tank or whatever, but we feel that sparing a tank for those creatures is a must. Unfortunately, we don't have the kind of money and space to accommodate all those unfortunate fishes we come across in petshops. We believe that as long as petshop owners don't have the responsibility not to bring and sell fish like P.dovii, P.managuensis, red tail catfishes etc. those poor creatures will live a miserable and very short life.

Photo by G.Reclos/MCH - See next page for more photos.

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