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April 3, 2015

Hello and welcome to the weekend.  Once again, it’s time for the weekly notes.  We’re going to keep it short and sweet this week, with ony one fish – the absolutely amazing and rare Crenicichla zebrina, the “Zebra Pike” of Venezuela.


These are absolutely stunning pike cichlids.  In the literature I’ve found, they’re described as growing to about ten inches, though this should be considered a rough estimate for specimens housed in a home aquarium.  They are a beautiful golden color overall with an olive green dorsal side, darker grey-green lateral line, and beautiful sunflower yellow belly.  Their chins and cheeks are brilliant cherry red and the back half of their body is striped with alternating dark and light bands, golden and deep bronze, giving rise to their name.  Their striping carries gracefully onto their dorsal, caudal and anal fins, all of which radiate from gold at their base to brilliant red at their far edge.


The Zebra Pike’s most overt ocellata are the large black spot, ringed in pale cream, located just behind the head and above the pectoral, and the smaller black spot on the caudal peduncle.  The foremost body spot varies drastically from individual to individual, often with the upper third divided into a separate, smaller spot or several smaller spots.    Some specimens do possess further ocellation in the dorsal fin, but this is not present in all specimens and is not indicative of sex.  In fact, C. zebrina have previously been sexed via ultrasound, as seen in the video below.

These fish are only known from the Rio Ventuari – knowing this, we would expect them to enjoy a pH of around 6-7.5 and a temperature in the upper 70s Fahrenheit.  A dark substrate and plenty of driftwood, rocks, and a few plants will definitely help these beauties feel at home.  Caves and other hides will be more than welcome for these fish, as will a meaty diet of live and frozen food.  There are as of yet no reports I’ve found of these fish taking prepared foods.  While it is theoretically possible to train these fish to accept prepared pellets or flakes, we’ve not yet had luck weaning them away from frozen and live feed.

Thanks for reading!  For those of you who are local, this Sunday is Easter – we will be open from (12 am to 5 pm) Pacific only.  For those of you not local, our Online Sales Department hours will be the same – Monday through Friday 8am to 5pm, closed Saturday and Sunday.

Thank you,

Jessica Supalla