The yellow hump eartheater
also known as Geophagus pellegrini
is a gorgeous South American cichlid from Columbia. This species belongs to the genus Geophagus
. Many hobbyists have seen a relative of this fish called the red hump Geophagus also known as Geophagus steindachneri which is very common in the hobby. Essentially there are three species of this genus which have the same body characteristics in particular the head and snout. The third species is equally as rare is Geophagus crassilabris
This species is endemic to Columbia where it found in areas that include substrate comprised of sand and gravel. Another popular but rare cichlid which also is endemic to this country is Cichlasoma atromaculatum. G. pellegrini can reach some seven inches in length and should be housed in decent sized community tank outfitted with fine aquarium sand. These fish welcome driftwood and plants and prefer dim lighting in areas of the tank.
Eartheaters was coined to embody what these fish do regularly which is poke the sand and lift mouthfuls of sand and sift for food with the remaining sand dropping from their mouths and gills. Its quiet peaceful to watch them mosey along the aquarium bottom doing this.
This cichlid requires excellent filtration as it’s susceptible to HITH or hole in the head disease
and lateral line erosion. They can be sensitive to fading water quality in the aquarium. To mitigate problems you may consider using a good canister filter and weekly water changes of up to 70 percent. Their diet can consist of vegetable matter such as spirulina pellets; freeze dried or frozen bloodworms, and perhaps a general sinking pellet food. Offering smaller but frequent feedings seems to be feeding strategy for this species.
Spawning has been recorded for Geophagus pellegrini in the aquarium who are mouth breeders or called ovophilous which means maternal mouthbrooder
forming a pair bond during the reproductive process only. One strategy for breeding which works well with this fish is to stock two to three females to one male. This is a common technique used with many Malawi species. The water temperature and pH requires more attention than most cichlids. This species prefers a range of 78 to 84 degrees with a pH range of 5.0 to 6.0 respectively. Males and females are easy to sex with males developing large nuchal humps which are colored yellow.
Geophagus pellegrini video
Other Geophagus cichlid articles