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Red Tapajos Pike

(Crenicichla sp. Tapajos Red)

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 Quick Care Facts

• Care Level: Moderate   • Temperament: Semi-aggressive   • Maximum Size: 14"
• Minimum Tank Size: 180 gallons   • Water Conditions: 76-84° F; pH 5.5-7.0; dH 3-20
• Diet: Carnivore   • Origin: Rio Tapajos, Brazil, Amazon   • Family: Cichlidae
• Species: Pike Cichlids   • Aquarium Type: New World Cichlid Aquarium

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Species Information

Red Tapajos Pike native habitat, distribution, behavior & aquarium compatibility.

Red Tapajos Pike (Crenicichla sp. Tapajos Red) are fairly new to the aquarium hobby and are not fully described at this time. They are currently categorized scientifically as Crenicichla sp. Tapajos I, but are often sold within the hobby as Tapajos Red Pike, Red Tapajos Pike or Tapajos I Pike.

They are often confused with the Cobra Pike Crenicichla sp. Tapajos II, which while similar and originating from the same region, varies in coloration and pattern. They originate from the Rio Tapajos and surrounding tributaries of the northern Brazilian Amazon.

The Tapajos river runs roughly 1200 miles from the mountainous interior of the continent through the humid and hot valleys and then into the Amazon River. The large volume of the river and the deep tropical valleys that it runs through both contribute to make the water temperature of the river very stable and warm all year round.

Red Tapajos Pike have become accustomed to very warm waters with excellent water quality and stable water parameters. Hobbyists looking to keep this or other Amazonian river fish species need to maintain high quality water conditions in the aquarium with low levels of nitrates and high levels of dissolved oxygen.

Aquarium Care

How to successfully keep Red Tapajos Pike in the home aquarium.

Ideally hobbyists should house the Red Tapajos Pike in an aquarium setup that emulates their natural river habitat. Despite growing a modest 12 to 14 inches in length, the Red Tapajos Pike is a fast swimmer that requires a large aquarium that will allow them room to swim.

An aquarium that is at least 6 feet long and 2 feet in width or larger is ideal, as this will give the fish room to swim and allow for enough territory for the Pike and other fish species. If housed in a smaller aquarium, the Pike is much more likely to become overly territorial and aggressive towards any tank mates.

When kept in a properly sized aquarium, the Red Tapajos Pike is not considered to be overly aggressive and can be housed with other large Cichlid species that will not fit into their mouths. However, they are often aggressive towards conspecifics or other similar Pike species.

Larger Cichlid species, Rays, Plecos and large Catfish make good tank mates for Red Tapajos Pike in large aquariums (180 gallons or more).

Provide a sandy, small gravel or mixed sand & gravel substrate, at least one large piece of driftwood (preferably with some sort of natural cave) along with several smaller pieces, possibly some rock structure, and a decent amount of live plants ranging in size from micro to large Amazon swords.

Red Tapajos Pike Cichlids can tolerate the light intensity needed for the larger plants (around 3 watts per gallon), but does prefer to have shaded areas via floating vegetation or cave-like structures of driftwood or rock. They also require excellent water conditions and tend to thrive in the higher end of their temperature threshold near 84°F; they also tend to prefer a lower pH of approximately 5.5 to 6.0.

Because they are large, fast, and powerful, they require adequate open space for hunting and swimming; because of this a 125 gallon minimum tank size is recommended for a single male or one male and one female. Provide plenty of water flow via power heads or filtration returns, along with excellent biological and mechanical filtration through the use of large canister filters or wet/dry sumps.

Feeding & Nutrition

How to properly feed Red Tapajos Pike and provide a healthy diet.

Red Tapajos Pike Cichlids will often prefer to eat only live prey when first introduced into the aquarium environment. Fish are their main food source in their natural habitat, but once in the aquarium, they learn quickly and they also learn from other fish; they can be trained to accept a few other live foods (e.g., ghost shrimp and earthworms) and may eventually be trained to accept frozen or fresh, prepared meaty foods such as chopped krill, vitamin-enriched brine shrimp, and chopped pieces of fish.

Some specimens may eventually be trained to accept freeze-dried or other prepared food items, but it does not always work out. That is not too much of a problem as ghost shrimp and some of the other food items mentioned can be "gut-loaded" and vitamin-enriched in order to provide the Red Tapajos Pike with a varied and well balanced diet.

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