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Wolf Cichlid

(Parachromis dovii)

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 Quick Care Facts

• Care Level: Expert   • Temperament: Aggressive   • Maximum Size: 28"
• Minimum Tank Size: 180 gallons   • Water Conditions: 74-84° F, pH 6.8-7.8, KH 2-10
• Diet: Carnivore   • Origin: Central America, Hondorus, Costa Rica, Nicaragua   • Family: Cichlidae
• Species: Wolf Cichlids   • Aquarium Type: Cichlid-New-World

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Species Information

Wolf Cichlid native habitat, distribution, behavior & aquarium compatibility.

The Wolf Cichlid (Parachromis dovii) is both an attractive and menacing Cichlid specimen. Dovii Cichlids are borderline hyper-aggressive in temperament and have the size and attitude to back up their aggression. Males of the species can grow upwards of 28 inches in length, with females attaining about 16 inches in length.

This large size coupled with their ultra aggressive temperament make the Wolf Cichlid one of if not the most aggressive Cichlid available within the hobby. Dovii Cichlids are likely to dominate any tank they are housed in and there will be a select few fish that will be able to handle living in the same aquarium as a Wolf Cichlid.

Hobbyists should definitely not keep Wolf Cichlids with other conspecifics like Jaguar Cichlids as they are completely intolerant of other Parachromis species. Wolf Cichlids reach impressive sizes and exhibit interesting colors and pattern. However, they also bring a larger than life attitude and personality as well, thus will most likely need to be housed in their own aquarium or with other much larger aggressive fish species.

Aquarium Care

How to successfully keep Wolf Cichlid in the home aquarium.

The primary aquarium criteria for the Wolf Cichlid is a very large tank. While juveniles can be raised up in smaller aquariums, adults will need at least a 180 gallon aquarium to live comfortably and thrive. A mated pair or extremely large specimen will most likely need a tank somewhere between 220 and 360 gallons in size to be comfortable.

Aquarium decor should be limited to rocks, driftwood, wood root and possibly an extremely hardy potted plant. Wolf Cichlids are large powerful fish that will rearrange the aquarium decor to suit their taste. They are also avid excavators that will spend plenty of time digging in the substrate.

Any fish small enough to fit in the Wolf Cichlids mouth will be considered food and any similarly sized Cichlid or conspecific will be considered to be trespassing on their territory. They can coexist with some other large aggressive fish species like Arapaima, Arowana, large catfish, Pacu or other similar fish species.

Feeding & Nutrition

How to properly feed Wolf Cichlid and provide a healthy diet.

The Wolf Cichlid is a carnivorous species that feeds on a wide range of meaty foods. Their diet in the wild consists of smaller fish, earthworms, insects, small invertebrates and crustaceans. They will readily accept a wide variety of commercial foods designed for large freshwater carnivores.

Feed a large staple pellet or stick food as their main diet, while supplementing with crickets, worms, prawns or other similar items in order to vary their diet from time to time. Begin by feeding them once or twice a day an amount of food that they will eagerly consume within a minute or two. Monitor their overall growth rate and the girth of the fish to adjust feeding frequency and amounts accordingly.

Breeding Information

How to successfully breed Wolf Cichlid in the aquarium environment.

Breeding Wolf Cichlids is not difficult at all once you have a male and female that have paired off. It can sometimes be difficult to get a single male and female to pair off in the first place. Most breeders keep a single male with a small group of females and wait for the male to choose a mate and then remove the remaining females.

A breeding pair of Wolf Cichlids will need a dedicated aquarium with plenty of hard flat surfaces like flat rocks, flower pots or large plastic tubes. This will provide them a location to lay their eggs, which can number in the thousands. Flower pots or large plastic pipes are also useful locations the female can use to hide from the male when needed.

Eggs will hatch in about 3 days after they are laid and new born will feed on organic matter that will be present on the substrate in an established aquarium. Within a week the fry can begin feeding on baby brine shrimp, crushed flake foods or other similar items.

As the fry grow into small fish either they will need to be removed from the breeding tank into another aquarium, or the male / female pair should be located. Hobbyists should use plenty of caution when dealing with an adult male Dovii protecting their young as they will become extremely aggressive and can inflict real damage with their sharp teeth and strong bite.

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