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Geophagus species


  1. [F] What is a BALZANI (rainbow) geophagus?
    by (Dean Hougen) (Sun, 13 Feb 1994)
  2. [F] Geophagus Surinamensis
    by (Rebecca Allbritton) (19 Apr 1995)

[F] What is a BALZANI (rainbow) geophagus?

by (Dean Hougen)
Date: Sun, 13 Feb 1994

In article <blac0009.760484424-at-gold> (MJB) writes:
>I just got a Balzani Geophagus.  What is the latin name for this
>fish?  The store I bought it from called it a balzani, another
>store called it a rainbow geo.  It has green/blue spots on the
>side, and red fins.  Its a really attractive fish.  If anybody
>has had experience with this fish, could you let me in on any
>secrets...  This is my first geophagus, by the way.

Welcome to the wonderful world of Earth-eaters, Matt.  You're fish is
Gymnogeophagus balzanii, a distinctive and beautiful South American
cichlid.  Males will get up to 6" or so and females stay an inch or
two smaller.  Males are also distiguished by a large nuchal hump when
they are mature.

Like all sifters, Gg. balzanii spends much of its time messing about in
the substrate looking for food.  For this reason, a substrate of fine
gravel or sand is prefered to one of sharp gravel or large stones.

They are generally not fussy about food; if it were mine I'd give it a
staple of cichlid pellets or food sticks supplemented with frozen blood
worms.  They will learn to eat off the surface, but they do not do it
well, so if you keep your's with ravenous surface feeding fish you may
want to opt for sinking pellets instead.

A warm tank is nice for these fish (say 75 degrees F), but high temps
(80-85 -- like people keep discus in) aren't necessary as they come far
enough south in South America (e.g. the Rio Pirania, I believe) that
they do not require Amazonian temperatures.

They are harem polygamous mouthbrooders.  It is therefore best, for 
breeding purposes, to keep a single male and three to five females in a
large tank.  Once a male has breed with a particular female, he had 
better have room to get out of her face.  Her job is the care of the fry.
In nature, his is defense of the larger territory including her's and
the other females'.  In a small tank where he is forced to stay too close
to the brooding female, she is likely to attack him aggressively.

H.J. Richter has reported that Gg. balzanii does not disturb well-rooted
plants and, in fact, the fish's sifting may aid plant growth.  (This was
published in one of the books in the TFH series _Breeding Aquarium Fish_,
but I'm at my office so I don't have any references in front of me.)  I
have no experience with Gg. balzanii and plants.  You might ask the folks
up at TerraQuatics in Osseo if their Gg. balzanii bothered plants as I
believe they had them in a planted tank for a long time.  (Maybe they
still do, I haven't been up there in a long while.)

>Thanks in advance

Hope it helps,
Dean Hougen, cichlidiot.
"Totally naked, baby, totally nude."  - Talking Heads

[F] Geophagus Surinamensis

by (Rebecca Allbritton)
Date: 19 Apr 1995
Newsgroup: rec.aquaria,sci.aquaria

In article <>,
Jeff Bacon  <> wrote:
>I have a juvenile (~2 in) Geophagus Surinamensis, and haven't been
>able to find information on this species.  The fish is mostly pale
>yellow now, with very subtle vertical dark stripes and iridescent
>horizontal lines.  I'd be interested to know what the adults look
>like.  There is a hint of red that seems to be developing on the 
>bottom of the tail.  

First off, it's not actually a geophagus surinamensis, if Wayne S Leibel is
to be believed in _A Fishkeeper's Guide to South American Cichlids_.
According to the good doctor, no actual surinamensis have ever been imported
into the US.

Second of all, Dean Hougan is probably a much better person than I to answer
this post, but I dont' see his here yet, so I'll practice.

If these fish should, as they get older, develop a mood dependent small
black mark at the bottom of the gill plate (vertical), and the red
markings on their tails are horizontal, more or less, wiht red and
blue/green stripes also on anal, dorsal, and pectoral fins, what you
probably have is a geophagus proximus.

However, if your baby fish are developing vertical stripes on their tails,
and have yellow lines on the edges of their pectoral fins, you may have some
of what I have: geophagus naevii. No one is sure where the name came from;
it appears to be a trade name for a previously unclassified geophagus, of
which there appear to be scads.

Geo proximus gets about a foot long, grows more quickly than the naevii (I
think; I got mine at different sizes and from different sources)They're
slightly agressive omnivores. I found the above book to be a good beginners
book for geos and other South Americans.

They get on well with oscars.

Good luck with some of the coolest fish around.
>Would this fish be better off with a companion?  Right now it's 
>living with two juvenile green severums and two small clown loaches.
>Currently this group is in a 29, but I imagine they will need a 
>larger home as they grow.

Yes.... on the larger home. I put a smaller proximus in with a slightly
larger one about a week or so ago. The small one is now in a quarantine tank
healing from badly shredded fins and a wounded morale. I've read posts here
that suggest that the best way to reintroduce these two would be to put the
bigger of my two in the tank where the smaller has established territory, so
they can work things out on more equal footing. I think I'm going to try
that, and if it works, I'll put them back in with the oscars. So you might
try for one from the same source (so they'll already know each other), or at
least the same size or slightly larger.

Just a suggestion. I am just now discovering these nifty fish, myself.

Best of luck,
Rebecca Allbritton         The only difference between us and the animals           is our ability to accessorize.

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