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June 13, 2014

Good day, folks! I’m sure many of you are aware we breed a lot of cichlids ourselves and one of our newer projects has just come to fruition. In October 2011, our owner was out on business in Germany and when he returned he brought several half-inch Geophagus fry with him. These beautiful fish, the new and rare Geophagus sp. “Aripuana”, have grown and spawned and their first fry are finally large enough to ship.

Geophagus sp Aripuana

There is very little literature out there on this fish that is not in German and as I do not speak German, the pool of knowledge on them is even more limited. The general scope of knowledge indicates that the fish was collected from the Rio Aripuanã in Brazil, specifically above the Dardanelos and Andorinhas waterfalls. The collected fish, as of 2011, had reached about five inches in length and were projected to reach seven to eight inches when fully grown. Native water parameters and actual adult size are absent. Given this dearth of information, we’ve been raising our progenitors for three and a half years (see below for juvenile) and, at about five inches in length, we’ve gathered a pretty good set of information on their care and breeding.

Geophagus sp Aripuana Juvie

Our beautiful group of Geophagus sp. “Aripuana” is housed in a 150 gallon aquarium over the prerequisite sand. The water parameters are kept near our standard – a pH of 7-7.5, low hardness, and a temperature in the upper 70s has kept them in excellent health. These fish will eat nearly anything we throw at them – their favorite foods include awfwuchs gel food from Repashy, brine shrimp, and cichlid pellets. Worms and other very meaty foods are avoided, as they can lead to bloat and other digestive issues with these fish. Their décor is fairly bland – sparse plants, a bit of root wood, slate and a cave are included. The fish don’t care for the cave but it is left in place as its presence helps to break up lines of sight when the males are fussing over each other or over the females (see below).

Geophagus sp Aripuana female

Speaking of the males fussing over the females, these fish are fantastic breeders.   We’ve had five successful spawns from the group, each yielding an average of 35 fry. Whenever the fish receive a big water change, they respond by flirting and displaying to each other endlessly. When the fish have begun to spawn, the eggs are laid on a nearly horizontal piece of slate – unlike many other cichlids that prefer a 45 degree incline or greater, these fish prefer their surface with an angle of around 10 degrees. The Aripuana is a delayed paternal mouthbrooder – the males will hold and protect their fry for about 14 to 15 days before releasing them. The new little Geophagus can be fed fresh-hatched baby brine and crushed flake food and will reach an inch in size after three to six months, dependent on water quality, tank size and feeding regimen, and these little fish should grow to a breeding size of five inches in two to three years.

Geophagus sp Aripuana male

Thank you all for your attention and if you have any questions about these amazing Geophagus sp. “Aripuana”, please don’t hesitate to ask!

Jessica Supalla