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March 30, 2012


The genus Herichthys has a distribution from northeastern Mexico all the way up to southern Texas. It was created in 1854 by Baird and Girard to classify the North and Central American cichlids with a “compressed body and sub-conical teeth”. Regan would abandon this classification in 1905 and the fish would be placed into the catch-all genus Cichlasoma until Kullander reestablished the genus and restricted Cichlasoma fishes to South America in 1996. Today, there are currently nine described species within the Herichthys genus and three potentially un-described species. In this week’s newsletter I would like to talk to you about three of these unique cichlids from the country of Mexico…

Stretching over 300 miles, the Rio Pánuco begins its journey as a water-drainage for Mexico City. From here the passage becomes the borders for the states of Hidalgo and Querétaro as it begins its journey to San Luis Potosí. The river doesn’t take the name Rio Pánuco until it reaches Veracruz where it will empty its body into the Gulf at Tampico and Ciudad Madero.

Here, among the rock and sand, you’ll find pairs of Herichthys pantostictus digging out caves to raise their fry. During this courtship, males are often very aggressive, not only to the female, but also to the other fish. I would recommend keeping these in a tank no less than 90 gallons with ample hiding places for the female to find cover in. When old enough they should be fed a variety of food such as high quality pellets and frozen foods like bloodworms and krill. I could not find any information as what their full size is but I would say a male can grow somewhere in the 8-10” range with females staying slightly smaller. It was Taylor and Miller that first found this fish in the Rio Pánuco and since their discovery they have been found in several other river systems. Our variants are known as the “yellow” form and are F1 generations from the Rio Coy.

Herichthys pantostictus

Along the Rio Gallinas, in the Mexican state of San Luis Pótosi, near the town of Tamasopo, Juan Miguel Artigas Azas would discover Herichthys tamasopoensis in 1993. These 5-7” cichlids were found swimming around large boulders, limestone sediment, and pieces of driftwood that occur near the town of a “Place where the water leaks”, which is the translation for the word Tamasopo. Unlike most of the Herichthys genus, H. tamasopoensis seems to be mainly a herbivore and is found “scraping” the algae off of rocks much like that of Malawi’s mbuna cichlids. Therefore, I would recommend a diet consisting of spirulina flakes or pellets with minimum protein content. That being said, H. tamasopoensis is an opportunistic feeder and can accept small amounts of bloodworms or pellets.

Herichthys tamasopoensis

Moving to highlands of the Rio Verde Valley, you'll find another visually pleasing cichlid. Herichthys bartoni is generally a brown or green color with a black stripe running horizontally across the body, but when this fish starts to breed, both the male and female turn black with a white blaze running down their back. They are found in the Media Luna Lagoon, which has a high alkaline pH of almost 8.0. Males of the species can reach up to 7" and the females 4.5". Though they are a larger cichlid that feed opportunistically, H. bartoni favors a diet of algae. They are known to be extremely aggressive towards other fish and should only be kept in larger tanks with appropriately sized fish. Watching a pair guarding their fry will please any hobbyist, despite what skill level you may be!

Herichthys bartoni

This brings our newsletter to one more conclusion. If you interested in housing these wonderful fishes I would suggest keeping the pH around 7.6-8, moderately warm, with a temperature around 76°, and exactly how I described their natural habitats. Please be sure to check out the products link below, or visit our website for this week’s price list. As always, please do not hesitate to call or email me with any questions or suggestions you may have. I would like to thank Juan Miguel Artigas Azas for his help and website,, this week. I hope to see you all back here next week!

Herichthys beani

Herichthys carpintis "Escondido"

Anthony Perry
Sales Manager