Geophagus altifrons Aquarium Care, Feeding and Native Habitat Information
Native Habitat and Species Information
Geophagus altifrons is a fairly peaceful species, commonly sought out for their intense coloration as well as their larger size (they are one of the largest geophagus species). They are native to various rivers and streams within the Amazon River basin of South America. Like other Geophagus species, the Altifrons will continuously sift through sand in search of food. They have a base color of tan to gray, with very mild, vertical banding and gold-orange to blue-green, iridescent scales on their flanks. They have iridescent gold-orange to blue-green patterns on their operculum as well as a variety of blue-green to orange-red markings on their translucent fins. Altifrons also have (to varying intensity) a black ocellus spot on and below their upper lateral line. Although a difficult species to sex, the males are generally larger than females.
Altifrons require an aquarium of at least 55 gallons and should be provided with a fine, sand substrate and multiple places where they can find shelter (driftwood, rock structures, or dense vegetation). Altifrons will sift and burrow through substrate and have been known to snack on some live plant species, so live plants that attach to driftwood and rocks, or potted plants are recommended. Altifrons prefer warm, soft, acidic, and clean water as well as areas of low or subdued lighting where they can sift around for snacks. Altifrons prefer to live in groups and are relatively peaceful Cichlids that have been successful in a community environment, but are more commonly kept in species or biotope-specific aquariums (or housed with other Cichlids). Tank mates should be considered carefully and should be comparable in size.
Feeding & Nutrition
The Altifrons is an omnivore that generally feeds from the bottom of the aquarium (but will surface for frozen bloodworms) and should be fed a variety of foods, such as live, prepared, frozen or freeze-dried: brine shrimp, bloodworms, blackworms, krill, flake food, and soft, sinking, Cichlid pellets.
Altifrons are brood caring, mouth brooders and breeding them isn't very difficult. Breeding can be induced by feeding them plenty of live and frozen foods that are high in protein, raising the water temperature to 88° F and lowering the pH levels with peat (can be added as filter media). The female Altifrons will lay a total of around 300 eggs in a carefully cleaned, flat location (driftwood, flat rock/stone, slate, or large plant leaves) and within 1-24 hours, will transfer the eggs to her mouth and care for them until they hatch. After 1-2 weeks the fry should be free-swimming, but the parents will continue with mouth, brood-care until the fry have matured for a few weeks. The fry can be fed a diet of baby brine shrimp or crushed flake food and then be moved to other foods as they mature.