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July 25, 2014

Happy Friday, dear readers. I know you all are getting antsy for our next batch of Geophagus sp. “Aripuana”, but they’re not quite ready yet. Hopefully, it will just be another two to three weeks on these guys to grow to a safe shipping size. They are truly adorable at their little 0.5” size, but we want them to be safe and sound on their trip to you. Rest assured, I will let you all know as soon as they are ready.

In the meantime, we’re also very proud of our breeding colony of ‘Geophagus’ crassilabris “Panamanian Eartheater” – these absolutely beautiful Red Humps were the first to be described in their complex, known currently as the ‘G.’ steindachneri group of fish. The group is easily distinguished from other Geophaginae by their shallowly sloped foreheads, protrusive yet underslung mouths, sited eyes and large red nuchal humps in mature males.


‘G’ steindachneri is fairly common in the hobby and, in fact, we have both wild and F1 specimens available now. ‘G’ crassilabris, on the other hand, is not often seen. Adults are set apart from their Red hump cousins primarily by their large, fleshy, blue-black lips. If your juveniles look undistinguishable from your young ‘G’ steindachneri, rest assured that they will develop their blue lips with age and we are very careful to send you the correct Red Humps. The overall body color of G. crassilabris is bronze under most lighting: differing light sources and spectra may more strongly reveal red tones or the brilliant blue iridescent scale markings and broken black lateral stripe.


The opercular plates of the male are brilliant red behind bronze-orange cheeks, as is the leading edge of his face. His anal and dorsal fins show bright red coloration and longer lobes than those of the females. The nuchal hump at the crest of his forehead is brilliant bronze and may vary in size based on the presence of other males and females – it appears to be mostly composed of highly elastic blood vessels and connective tissue which could allow it to change size as the fish is motivated to do so. Interestingly, the dominant male of a group will have a negligible hump and the subdominant males will have the largest, most imposing nuchal humps as displays with which to vie against the dominant fish and others muscling for rank within the group. The most subordinate males will often show no hump whatsoever and adopt female coloration in order to avoid the dominance squabbles of the stronger males. On that note, the females are usually uniformly bronze in flank and cheek coloration with brown-colored foreheads and only a hint of a red border to their dorsal fin.


Care of ‘Geophagus’ crassilabris is quite easy – the fact that they are tank-raised means they are quite stable fish. They are perfectly happy in the usual tropical aquarium. A pH value between 7.0 and 7.5, warm 70’s Fahrenheit, and good water quality will keep them in good condition. Feed a varied diet including some meat and plenty of vegetable matter. Too much protein can cause them to bloat or have other digestion issues, so the protein contained in a mixed community or cichlid flake is plenty and it should not be supplemented with worms or other meaty sources.

These fish have been fantastic breeders for us and the temporary pairs formed during spawning will put on quite a show with the male shimmying, shaking, and snapping his lips to encourage the female on. The female broods the eggs and larvae for an average of 17 days until they are ready to swim free, while the male will depart and is perfectly happy to pair with a different female. The young fry can be housed in a sponge filtered grow out tank and fed on Artemia and fresh-hatched baby brine and are best fed several times a day with daily partial water changes to encourage the fastest growth.

That’s all for today; I hope you’ve enjoyed this little write-up on our ‘Geophagus’ crassilabris. If you have any further questions on them or any other fish, please don’t hesitate to email or call us. Once again, thank you for reading and I look forward to writing for you again next week.

Jessica Supalla