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Earth Eater Leucosticta

(Satanoperca leucosticta)

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 Quick Care Facts

• Care Level: Easy   • Temperament: Semi-Aggressive   • Maximum Size: 10"
• Minimum Tank Size: 55 gallons   • Water Conditions: 77-85° F, pH 5.0-6.5, KH 2-7
• Diet: Omnivore   • Origin: South America   • Family: Cichlidae
• Species: Geophagus   • Aquarium Type: New World Cichlid Aquarium

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Species Information

Earth Eater Leucosticta native habitat, distribution, behavior & aquarium compatibility.

Satanoperca leucosticta, a very colorful variant of the Satanoperca jurupari species, is also known as the Demon Fish (Satanoperca), but more commonly, the Earth Eater: An active, beautiful, and generally peaceful Cichlid that is native to soft, acidic waters of the Amazon River basin in South America.

They have excellent markings, a great disposition, and they grow large enough to be kept with a lot of larger, more aggressive, cichlids. Earth Eaters are named for constantly sifting through sand and other substrate while in search of food. They have a base color of tan to gray, with slight, vertical banding and blue-green to red, iridescent scales on their flanks. They also have iridescent blue-green to red patterns on their operculum as well as a variety of markings of the same colors on their translucent fins.

Aquarium Care

How to successfully keep Earth Eater Leucosticta in the home aquarium.

Earth Eaters 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).

Earth Eaters will sift and burrow through sand 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. Earth Eaters prefer warm, soft, acidic, and clean water as well as areas of low or subdued lighting where they can sift around for snacks.

Earth Eaters 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

How to properly feed Earth Eater Leucosticta and provide a healthy diet.

The Earth Eater is an omnivore that generally feeds from the bottom of the aquarium (but will surface for frozen bloodworms or flake food) 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.

Breeding Information

How to successfully breed Earth Eater Leucosticta in the aquarium environment.

Earth Eaters are mouth brooders and getting them to breed can be difficult, but may be helped by raising the water temperature to 86-87° F and feeding plenty of live and frozen foods that are high in protein.

The female Earth Eater will lay around 300 eggs in a carefully cleaned, flat location (driftwood, flat rock, slate, or large plant leaves) and 1-24 hours later, the female Earth Eater will transfer the eggs to her mouth and care for them until they hatch.

For protection, the fry are cared for in the same manner as the fertilized eggs and the parents are known to share the duties. After 2-3 weeks, and the fry are free-swimming, the parents will release them from mouth brooding.

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. The fry should be removed from the aquarium after 2-4 weeks.

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