Black-Throated Eartheater-Best Cichlid Care Guide
- Origin: Venezuela, Suriname, Brazil
- Size: About 13cm in nature (5 inches) but up to 20cm in fish tanks (8 inches)
- Temperature: They like it around 27°C/ 80°F
- Tank Size: 70 Gallons or Greater
- Nature: Non-aggressive
Eartheaters are a group of fish you should definitely consider keeping if you have a tank of 70 gallons/ 265 liters or bigger. The colors on both the males and females are beautiful in most species and, not only that, they are not aggressive cichlids unless they are spawning, and you can even keep them with your neon tetras— they have no interest in eating them (unless they are baby neons. All cichlids like them!).
But they are another one of those fish that are never fully colored up in a fish store. I included a picture of a juvenile Black-throated Eartheater so you can compare it with the adult. While the green youngsters have an attractive shape, it would be hard to imagine the beautiful fish they turn into and I am sure many are passed over in favor of more colorful varieties like parrot cichlids.
That’s too bad because Eartheaters have much more to offer. For one thing, they have individual personalities that goes so far as to have an effect on how they behave while breeding. They also are entertaining as they sift through the substrate of their tank searching for bits of food. Despite their size, they have very small, specialized mouths and do well on flake food. And in the right conditions, they take to aquarium life well, growing much larger than they do in the wild!
Eartheaters should be fed small meals 3 or 4 times per day. They will rise off the bottom to eat the food as it falls but then return to their favorite past time, sifting sand. Feed them flakes, bloodworms, brine shrimp, and sometimes spirulina wafers.
The most important thing to have in their tank is sand…deep soft sand. Do not use gravel. They feed by passing the sand through their gills. Gravel will become lodged in their gills. Plants are only possible to grow on their tanks if you tie them to a large piece of driftwood. You may also want to provide them with a flat stone or slate which they will use when breeding.
The parents lay eggs on a flat service. As soon as they hatch, the mother takes the babies into her mouth. The father may help her, taking turns holding the brood. Or he will just guard the territory. Or he will drive the new mother away with the kids in her mouth. It depends on his character. Incidentally, males and females look exactly the same (to us) so if you want to breed them, you should buy a group to ensure you get a pair.
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