Care Level: Easy
Live Plant Safe: No
General Description: The Haitian Cichlid, also known as the Black Nasty Cichlid due to its temperament, are found only in the lakes and rivers on an island that includes Haiti and the Dominican Republic. The majority of specimens available within the aquarium trade however are commercially produced. A popular cichlid for its beautiful contrasting pattern of blacks, whites, and grays as an adult, hobbyists should take into account the impressive large adult size (15″) and territorial nature of a Haitian cichlid before considering one for their aquarium. Maintaining the aquascape in an aquarium with a Haitian cichlid can often feel like a losing battle, as they can dig and move around what decor is present. Male Haitian cichlids will grow much larger than females and can develop a nuchal hump on their foreheads, in addition to developing more pointed dorsal and anal fins. Most specimens sold however are mere juveniles that will be difficult to sex and will also not likely be mature enough to have the patterning they’re known for, appearing more plain. One specimen per aquarium is typically best practice for the majority of hobbyists.
Diet Requirements: Haitian cichlids are omnivorous in nature, consuming fish, crustaceans, insects, and plant matter. One the unfussiest eaters in the aquarium trade, a diet made up of various high quality protein and vegetable based foods are ideal. Such options include frozen brine shrimp, mussels, and pieces of krill or silverside fish. Foods containing Spirulina algae are a plus. Haitian cichlids will accept large sinking pellet foods and flake foods, but these should not make up the majority of their diet. Variety is the spice of life in order to maintain color, immune function and longevity of your fish. We discourage feeding live fish to Haitian cichlids because they are often of little nutritional value and increase the risk of introducing disease.
Care Requirements: A minimum 75 to 90 gallon aquarium is ideal for a small Haitian cichlid. An adult will require much more space upwards of 200 gallons; even more space is required for a compatible pair of Haitian cichlids. This cichlid cannot be put into a biologically immature aquarium. Biweekly water changes are encouraged to keep water parameters pristine (Nitrates < 30 ppm). Poor water quality will result in your Haitian cichlid having deformities and hole in the head disease, which are permanent. Equipping the aquarium with a canister filter can also be advantageous to maintain a healthier environment. Haitian cichlids are relatively indifferent to aquarium decor, but some stacked rocks to create caves, driftwood and other natural looking arrangements will bring out the beauty of this cichlid and disperse its aggression. Some unobstructed and open swimming space should also be provided. A sandy or fine substrate several inches deep is preferred and the aquarium should be well oxygenated. Given the aggressive and territorial nature of the Haitian cichlid, only other very robust cichlid species with similar temperament and adult size should be considered. Other large, active species such as tinfoil barbs (Barbonymus schwanenfeldii) and silver dollars (Metynnis argenteus) are also a possibility. Purchasing fish at a more juvenile life stage will increase the chances of it getting along with tank mates. Small fish species may be eaten as a Haitian cichlid matures. Recommended water conditions, 72-78° F, KH 5-20, pH 6.5-8.0.
Purchase Size: Small: 1-1/2″ to 2″
Note: Your item may not look identical to the image provided due to variation within species. Purchase sizes are approximate.