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Saddle Cichlid
(Aequidens tetramerus)
Quick Care FactsCare Level: Moderate
Temperament: Semi-aggressive
Maximum Size: 8"
Minimum Tank Size: 55 gallons
Water Conditions: 75-82° F, KH 1-20, pH 4.5-7.5
Diet: Omnivore
Origin: Northern South America, Northern Amazon
Family: Cichlidae
Species: Aequidens
Aquarium Type: Cichlid-New-World
Species Information
The Saddle Cichlid (Aequidens tetramerus) originates from the rivers, tributaries and flood plains of the northern South America and northern portions of the Amazon. They are widely distributed throughout Colombia, Peru, Venezuela, Ecuador, Brazil and other nearby countries. The Saddle Cichlid is considered a generalist or opportunistic fish species, as they are able to live and thrive in a variety of habitats.
The preferred habitat of the Saddle Cichlid are slow moving rivers and flood plains, that offer gentle water currents and plenty of underwater structure in the form of submerged tree roots, aquatic plants and leaf litter. Saddle Cichlids are most often found inhabiting slow moving river tributaries and drainages where they are protected from larger predatory fish species and have an abundant supply of insects and small invertebrates on which to feed.
Aquarium Care
Saddle Cichlids are well established within the aquarium hobby and are commonly offered for sale under a few common names including: Saddle Cichlid, Two-Spot Acara and Tetramerus Cichlid. Saddle Cichlids do best in an Amazon biotope or similar aquarium setup containing similarly sized semi-aggressive fish species.
They are best suited for aquarium hobbyists with moderate experience in raising Cichlids and who have a mature aquarium with strong filtration.
As with most river based fish species, the Saddle Cichlid is used to good water conditions that the large volume of water flow within the river environment provides. They do best in established Amazon biotope aquariums that have a well established nitrogen cycle, strong biological and chemical filtration.
Mechanical filtration is important in all Cichlid aquarium setups, as they tend to be messy eaters that can create a fair amount of left over food that needs to be consumed by scavenging fish species or exported from the aquarium via mechanical filtration before it breaks down and fowls the water.
The Saddle Cichlid will do best in aquariums with a sandy substrate or mixed sand and gravel substrate, plenty of tree root, hardy live plants/fake plants and some rock caves or rock piles. Water flow should be low to moderate and the aquarium lighting should be low to moderate, or diffused by plants if strong aquarium lighting is being used.
Tank mates for the Saddle Cichlid should consist of other semi-aggressive Cichlid species, medium sized catfish and scavenging species like plecos and loaches. While the Saddle Cichlid is not overly aggressive towards other similarly sized tank mates, they are territorial towards others of their own kind.
Multiple specimens can be kept in the same aquarium as a mated pair or if the aquarium is large enough to support multiple territories.
Feeding & Nutrition
The Saddle Cichlid should be fed a varied diet consisting of both plant based and meaty foods in order to provide them with all the vitamins and minerals they need to maintain a healthy immune system and slime coat. Hobbyists should provide a mix of quality Cichlid pellet foods mixed with freeze-dried or frozen preparations like bloodworms or other similar foods.
Saddle Cichlids will also feed on blanched vegetables and planted based wafer or freeze-dried foodstuffs. They should be fed once or twice per day an amount of food that they will consume within a few minutes.
Additional Photos