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Temensis Peacock Bass

(Cichla temensis)

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 Quick Care Facts

• Care Level: Moderate   • Temperament: Aggressive   • Maximum Size: 38"
• Minimum Tank Size: 450 gallons   • Water Conditions: 80-84° F, KH 5-15, pH 5.0-6.5
• Diet: Carnivore, Piscivore   • Origin: Rio Negro, Orinoco, Madeira and Branco basins, Venezuela, Columbia, Brazil   • Family: Cichlidae
• Species: Peacock Bass   • Aquarium Type: New World Cichlid Aquarium

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Species Information

Temensis Peacock Bass native habitat, distribution, behavior & aquarium compatibility.

Temensis Peacock Bass (Cichla temensis) is the largest member of the peacock bass genus and is a top level predator in their native South American river habitat. They are most often found in slow moving or still water environments like lagoons, backwaters and shoreline pockets. While Temensis Peacock Bass spend a good portion of their time in calm waters, they will readily move out into faster waters to feed and to ward off potential competitors.

Peacock Bass are used to environments that have warm water year round, with temperatures reaching upwards of 86° during the day and around 80° during evening hours. Their native river habitat's water conditions are acidic with a pH range of 5.0 to 6.5 and a water hardness between 5 to 15 dH; as well as, fast flowing with a large volume of water passing down from the mountains on its way to the ocean.

Cichla temensis have evolved perfectly for their environment with long sleek bodies and powerful pectoral and anal fins, which they use to maintain ambush positions in rapidly flowing waters and ambush prey. Temensis Peacock Bass are becoming much more available within the aquarium hobby as their size, pattern, coloration and aggressive feeding habits have made them very popular with aquarium hobbyists interested in keeping larger New World Cichlid species.

Aquarium Care

How to successfully keep Temensis Peacock Bass in the home aquarium.

When keeping Temensis Peacock Bass in an aquarium environment, it is important to account for their very large size and aggressive feeding habits and nature. Temensis Peacock Bass come from river ways that have a constant flow of fresh water working from the mountains down to the sea. Peacock Bass have become accustomed to an environment with high quality water with low levels of pollutants and high levels of oxygen.

Temensis Peacock Bass aquariums need to replicate this environment through strong mechanical, chemical and biological filtration along with medium to strong water movement. Peacock Bass are large fish that eat equally large meals, thus excellent filtration is required to remove the excess food and waste products produced from such a large species.

The adult size of the Temensis Peacock Bass is also an important factor in choosing the right aquarium to house them, with the size and shape of the aquarium being very important. With adults sizes of around 3 feet in length, it is important to provide an aquarium that is long enough and wide enough from front to back to allow the Peacock Bass to swim and turn around comfortably.

An aquarium of at least 8 feet in length and 4 feet from front to back should be considered as minimum aquarium size for an adult specimen, while smaller specimens can be raised in smaller aquariums if they are moved to larger tanks as they grow. The aquarium decor should be designed to provide plenty of swimming room, while also providing some areas of cover using driftwood, floating or well rooted plants and rocks with a sandy or gravel substrate.

Tank mates are an important consideration when housing adult Peacock Bass with other New World Cichlids due to their large size and aggressive temperament. A good rule of thumb is that anything that can fit in the mouth of the Peacock Bass eventually will. Tank mates should consist of other large aggressive New World Cichlids, large Catfish species and freshwater rays.

Temensis Peacock Bass can be kept as the only Peacock Bass species or mixed with other species of Peacock Bass. They also do well in good sized groups and will work out a dominance structure amongst themselves, which will lower aggression between fish once their social hierarchy is in place.

Feeding & Nutrition

How to properly feed Temensis Peacock Bass and provide a healthy diet.

Wild Temensis Peacock Bass feed on a wide variety of live foods living in their river ecosystem, which includes mostly smaller fish, but also worms, crustaceans, insects and amphibians. Temensis Peacock Bass kept within the aquarium environment will readily feed on the same variety of live foods that they feed on in nature, but it is often more desirable to ween them off of live foods.

Live foods are typically more expensive, require holding tanks, more frequent trips to the aquarium store, can bring diseases and can create excess pollution in the aquarium water. Hobbyists generally ween their Peacock Bass to commercial food preparations in order to simplify their care and avoid the pitfalls or live foods. However, it is not uncommon for Peacock Bass enthusiasts who have weened their fish to commercial foods to provide the occasional live feeding to enjoy the prey drive and aggressive feeding technique of the Peacock Bass.

Suitable commercial foods for Peacock Bass include: blood worms, pellet foods, food sticks, frozen meaty foods like krill, silver sides or similar fare. Peacock Bass will also consume a variety of dead meaty foods like raw shrimp, raw fish and similar meaty items. Individual specimens will often have their own preferences, with some specimens eating most anything while others will be more picky about their diet.

Keys to Identification

How to identify Cichla temensis.

Cichla temensis identification is made somewhat complex by the species morphological variability. Specimens are encountered in two very distinct color and pattern phases, with an array of intermediate stages corresponding to their degree of reproductive readiness.

The spawning pattern transformation process is gradual - the bars darken, colors brighten and the white speckles disappear. The brilliantly colored acu (pronounced 'assu') is in reproductively active condition, while the Paca morph has white or yellow dots arranged in four distinct longitudinal rows.

Both morphs have 3 distinct dark bars along the sides of the body and a distinct black stripe or speckled markings from the eye to the end of the opercular bone (cheek or gill cover), no ocelli on the sides or at the base of the second dorsal.
Bars and Markings: Temensis Peacock Bass exhibit 3 distinct, entire bars from dorsal peak to below lateral line, almost to abdomen Distinctive postorbital band (or series of connected blotches on operculum (cheek). In paca form, four horizontal rows of light colored speckles.
Size: Juveniles range up to about 12 inches (300mm) in length, while adults can reach size upwards of 36 to 38 inches (1 meter) in length.
Key Characters & Similar Species: Longer and shorter than other Peacock Bass species, generally exhibit a depth to length ration of 25%. Typically exhibit around 100 to 125 lateral line scales. Most similar to C. pinima & C. vazzoleri

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