Care Level: Easy
Live Plant Safe: No
General Description: The Cuban Cichlid is endemic to the lakes and rivers of Cuba, however the majority of specimens available within the aquarium trade are commercially produced. A popular cichlid for its beautiful contrasting and shimmering pattern of blacks, grays and silvers as an adult, hobbyists should take into account the impressive large adult size (10″) and territorial nature of a Cuban cichlid before considering one for their aquarium. Maintaining the aquascape in an aquarium with a Cuban cichlid can often feel like a losing battle, as they can dig and move around what decor is present. Male Cuban cichlids will grow much larger than females and can develop more pointed dorsal and anal fins. Most specimens sold however are mere juveniles that will be difficult to sex. One specimen per aquarium is typically best practice for the majority of hobbyists.
Diet Requirements: Cuban 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. Cuban 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 Cuban cichlids because they are often of little nutritional value and increase the risk of introducing disease.
Care Requirements: A minimum 55 gallon aquarium is ideal for a small Cuban cichlid. An adult will require much more space upwards of 75 to 90 gallons; even more space is required for a compatible pair of Cuban cichlids because they will be even more aggressive during spawning. 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 Cuban 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. Cuban 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 help to 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 territorial nature of the Cuban cichlid, only other very robust cichlid species with similar temperament and adult size should be considered. This excludes other Nandopsis species however, such as the Black Nasty/Haitian Cichlid (Nandopsis haitiensis), because they are incompatible with each other. 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 Cuban cichlid matures. Recommended water conditions, 72-78° F, KH 5-20, pH 6.0-8.0.
Purchase Size: Small: 1-1/4” to 2”, Medium: 2-1/4” to 3-3/4”
Note: Your item may not look identical to the image provided due to variation within species. Purchase sizes are approximate.