Quick Care Facts
• Care Level: Moderate • Temperament: Semi-aggressive • Maximum Size: 12"
• Minimum Tank Size: 120 gallons • Water Conditions: 74-83° F, pH 6.0-7.5, KH 2-10
• Diet: Omnivore • Origin: Central America • Family: Cichlidae
• Species: Lyon's Cichlid • Aquarium Type: Cichlid-New-World
Lyon's Cichlid native habitat, distribution, behavior & aquarium compatibility.
Lyon's Cichlids (Amphilophus lyonsi) are widely distributed throughout the streams and lagoons of Central America, including El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua. While not common by any means, they are available in the aquarium hobby from time to time.
Hobbyists are more likely to find Lyon's Cichlids and other hard to find species in larger fish stores, those that somewhat specialize in Cichlids or online specialty vendors. Amphilophus lyonsi is a very active swimmer and inquisitive species that will often develop a bond with their owner. It is not uncommon for them to approach the glass and follow the hobbyist as they pass by the aquarium.
The aggressiveness of the Lyon's Cichlid varies greatly depending on it's environment and tank mates. When housed in larger aquariums (220 gallons or greater) they are typically not overly aggressive towards their tank mates. When housed in aquariums that do not provide enough space for them to have adequate territory or when housed with very similar species, the Lyon's Cichlid can be quite aggressive.
How to successfully keep Lyon's Cichlid in the home aquarium.
Ideally Lyon's Cichlids should be housed in aquariums designed to replicate their natural habitat as closely as possible. Lyon's Cichlid will prefer a sandy substrate or a fine gravel substrate that will allow them to do a little bit of digging.
They prefer to hang out near rocky walls or rock formations, floating or sunken driftwood or large pieces of submerged root structure. Only the hardy and well rooted of plants will be able to be kept with adult Lyon's Cichlid, as their large size and moderate digging will uproot and displace any plants that are not well rooted. Therefore, it is best to stick with large heavy aquarium decor that will be difficult for the them to rearrange.
Rocks, flower pots, large wood or root structures and well potted or rooted very hardy plant species will do best in a Lyon's Cichlid aquarium setup. Hobbyists who plan on keeping Lyon's Cichlids with other Cichlid species should arrange the aquarium to create distinct territories within the aquarium that create a break in the line of sight of the fish. This will help create unique territories that will help lessen aggression between tank mates.
Quality canister or sump wet/dry filtration should be utilized in order to maintain the water quality within the aquarium. Like all foot long Cichlid species, adult Lyon's Cichlids can put a lot of stress on the water quality in the closed aquarium environment if proper filtration is not utilized.
Feeding & Nutrition
How to properly feed Lyon's Cichlid and provide a healthy diet.
Lyon's Cichlids are not difficult fish to feed, as they will attempt to eat a vary wide variety of foods including both meat and vegetable matter. Being an omnivorous species, the Lyon's Cichlid should be fed a diet that contains both meaty and vegetable based foodstuffs.
This is important in order to provide them all the nutrients and minerals they require to support a healthy immune system. High quality Cichlid pellets and sticks make for a good staple food item for the Lyon's Cichlid, as they are designed to provide a balanced diet.
Ideally their diet should be supplemented with a variety of food items including: worms, prawns, mussels, peas, spinach and other similar items. Food items containing carotene are also highly recommended, as the carotene will help bring out the full range of coloration that the Lyon's Cichlid is capable of.
They should be fed a couple of times per day an amount of food that they will readily consume within 5 minutes. Hobbyists should always monitor the overall girth and health of all their fish and adjust diets accordingly.
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