Native to South American freshwaters, the Jaguar Cichild is as aggressive as its name suggests. For this reason, one must be careful not to put them into a tank with smaller species; it will attack them. During the breeding period their aggression is heightened and they may even attack larger species. Providing a separate tank during breeding, or at the very least a tank partition, will be beneficial to your entire fish population.
The Jaguar Cichlid can live for 15 years and males can reach sizes over 12 inches. Females will rarely exceed 12 inches in size, but these fish will need a relatively large aquarium, not less than 180 gallons if breeding or kept with other fish. Water temperatures should be kept between 77F and 97F with a pH level between 7.0 and 8.7.
If you want a Jaguar cichlid and you want to reduce it’s aggressive behavior (which you can only do to a certain extent) then replicating their natural environment and water chemistry is a must. When I say natural environment, I mean the substrate of their habitat, the plants that are found in their favorite swimming areas, the types of rocks or driftwood and even the pace of the current. You can add a current to your aquarium by installing special jets with an adjustable flow-rate. Water chemistry includes pH, water temperature, water hardness and water clarity.
Feeding Your Fish
As a predatory fish, the Jaguar Cichlid prefers live food, but may be trained to consume pellets as well. These fish reach maturity when they are about 4 inches in size and at this point are ready to breed. Males will lose the stripes on their body when mature. In keeping with their aggressive nature, males may become violent even with the females when breeding, so it may be necessary to divide the tank in a way that the female may reach the male, but not vice versa. You can do this by installing a plastic divider in the aquarium. The divider needs to have one or two holes that are big enough for the female to swim through, but too small for the male to fit. This will allow the female to interact with the male when she wants to and swim away to protect herself when she needs to.
Jaguar Cichlids double in population every 1 to 4 years and are sought after for food and trade alike. Be sure you can accommodate the special needs of a Jaguar Cichlid before you make the decision to add them to your aquarium.
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