belong to a group of fish known as the eartheaters
. This species is very distinctive and recognizable. While very colorful males develop spectacular nuchal humps paired with their tall dorsal spines give presence to a grand cichlid. Presently this cichlid was moved to the genus Gymnogeophagus
so its current name is Gymnogeophagus balzanii
The Paraguay Mouthbrooder is a member to a dozen or so species endemic to South America where its range spans Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. These cichlids do best in harems so it is suggested to keep one male with two to five females and only have one male in the community tank. The more tank space the better but nothing smaller than a 55 gallon aquarium.
In terms of feeding and tank conditions Balzani cichlids will readily accept most aquarium prepared cichlid foods and in particular sinking pellets. The reason for this lies in its nickname; eartheater, as it sifts the substrate for food. It will accept pellets but it’s a good idea to include spirulina or algae wafers
as part of the mix. Frozen and freeze-dried foods will help round out the diet. The pH range for this cichlid is 6.5 to 7.5 with temperatures ranging 70 to 78 degrees. Filtration is very important so keep up with weekly water changes and invest in a good canister filter. This species is susceptible to HITD or hole in the head disease
if conditions are neglected.
Like most cichlids from Uruguay, there is a cool down period. So this means during the winter months the temperatures drop and so it is known to reproduce this in the aquarium. Basically the temperature in the aquarium can be lowered to a range of 60 to 65 degrees during the winter months. This will reproduce what happens in their natural environment. Basically this approach is creating an artificial winter in your aquarium.
As stated its best to keep one male with multiple females or a harem. Both males and females are very colorful and interesting, especially their heads and tall dorsal fins. As mouthbrooders its fascinating to watch free swimming free go back and forth into their mothers mouth for safety which lasts some three weeks. Males develop a pronounced and spectacular nuchal hump. It’s very clear to tell males from females by their body shapes.
Check out the Gymnogeophagus balzanii video below to see them in a community tank. To see some awesome photos of G. balzanii or to collect them in the wild with an expert check Aquva Terra
Gymnogeophagus Balzanii - South American Cichlid - FREE S&H!
List of Gymnogeophagus species
Gymnogeophagus australis (C. H. Eigenmann, 1907) (Uruguayan eartheater)
Gymnogeophagus balzanii (Perugia, 1891) (Argentine humphead)
Gymnogeophagus caaguazuensis Staeck, 2006
Gymnogeophagus che Casciotta, GÃ³mez & Toresanni, 2000
Gymnogeophagus gymnogenys (R. F. Hensel, 1870) (Smooth-cheek eartheater)
Gymnogeophagus labiatus (R. F. Hensel, 1870) (Earth eater)
Gymnogeophagus lacustris R. E. dos Reis & L. R. Malabarba, 1988
Gymnogeophagus meridionalis R. E. dos Reis & L. R. Malabarba, 1988
Gymnogeophagus rhabdotus (R. F. Hensel, 1870) (Stripefin eartheater)
Gymnogeophagus setequedas R. E. dos Reis, L. R. Malabarba & Pavanelli, 1992
Gymnogeophagus tiraparae GonzÃ¡lez-Bergonzoni, Loureiro & Oviedo, 2009
Gymnogeophagus balzani videos
Other Geophagus cichlid articles