Buffalo Head Cichlid

bkaiser3

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Does anyone know anything about this fish? Aggressive? SA/CA or african? Community tank fish? Steatocranus casuarius. Imperial tropicals just got them on their site and i thought they looked interesting.
 

chromedome52

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I normally wouldn't trust liveaquaria to tell me if it's day or night out most of the time, but they only had a few bad details in that description.

Buffalohead, Lionhead, and Blockhead are all names that are used for Steatocranus casuarius, but I think Buffalohead has been the most popular name. Retailers like to rotate the common names so it looks like they got a new fish. They live in the currents of rivers, so a powerhead or circulating pump is a good idea. With a good current, they also tend to not be as aggressive with one another. IME, they are not aggressive toward other species of fish, but they do like their caves. However, they do not seem to hide in them as much as other cave spawning Cichlids. They will eat pretty much any kind of food you give them. They have been aquarium bred long enough that water parameters (pH, hardness, alkalinity) are not important. Wild caught fish are rare, as there is no need for them. Also, the Congo tends to be an iffy place at times for safely collecting fish.

They get bigger than most sites list; I've regularly seen 6-7" males, though females stay smaller. They will sex out around 3-4 inches IME, but that was years ago; aquarium breeding may also have them developing sex at a smaller size. Males get much longer dorsal and analfins than the females, and the head is barely humped on the girls, while the big boys can have a massive lump. It is pretty easy to see the difference when you look at them. Colorwise, not very exciting. There are related species that have a little more color, but not much.

I have kept a single pair in a long 20, but generally I would suggest at least a 40 breeder, and preferably a 4 ft. long tank, for anything more than a pair. They do make excellent parents, and the fry don't seem to be bothered by the current due to their bottom hugging shape.
Steatocranus casuarius male.jpg
 
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bkaiser3

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chromedome52 said:
I normally wouldn't trust liveaquaria to tell me if it's day or night out most of the time, but they only had a few bad details in that description.

Buffalohead, Lionhead, and Blockhead are all names that are used for Steatocranus casuarius, but I think Buffalohead has been the most popular name. Retailers like to rotate the common names so it looks like they got a new fish. They live in the currents of rivers, so a powerhead or circulating pump is a good idea. With a good current, they also tend to not be as aggressive with one another. IME, they are not aggressive toward other species of fish, but they do like their caves. However, they do not seem to hide in them as much as other cave spawning Cichlids. They will eat pretty much any kind of food you give them. They have been aquarium bred long enough that water parameters (pH, hardness, alkalinity) are not important. Wild caught fish are rare, as there is no need for them. Also, the Congo tends to be an iffy place at times for safely collecting fish.

They get bigger than most sites list; I've regularly seen 6-7" males, though females stay smaller. They will sex out around 3-4 inches IME, but that was years ago; aquarium breeding may also have them developing sex at a smaller size. Males get much longer dorsal and analfins than the females, and the head is barely humped on the girls, while the big boys can have a massive lump. It is pretty easy to see the difference when you look at them. Colorwise, not very exciting. There are related species that have a little more color, but not much.

I have kept a single pair in a long 20, but generally I would suggest at least a 40 breeder, and preferably a 4 ft. long tank, for anything more than a pair. They do make excellent parents, and the fry don't seem to be bothered by the current due to their bottom hugging shape.
View attachment 328108
That was pretty much exactly what i was looking for, thank you very much! Your knowledge of fish blows me away. I am starting the stocking of my 125 gallon tank and it caught my eye on imperials site.
 

NavigatorBlack

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As always, @chromedome52 has nailed it. It's a great write up. I will add - mine eat snails at a great rate. They are aggressive, but with their reduced swim bladder, they usually are harmless. They want to be mean, but they swim so badly they can't catch the fish they are mad at, and soon get over it.

Since shipping out of the Congo has resumed, I see a lot of wild caught casuarius, as well as the other buffalo head species passing through my city. So it's no longer always a tank bred species. I have seen many hundreds of wilds in the past year or two.

They really need a strong water flow in their tanks, if you want to see them act at all naturally. In still tanks, they just sit. Give them a flow, and they are neat creatures to watch.
 

tyguy7760

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Great fish! Very interesting IMO especially with their substrate sitting and cave peaking. Though I'll defer to the ones that have kept them to decide if they'd be a good mix with what you are trying to keep
 

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I don't like the mix. Severum would hate the flow. Acaras would compete for turf. Red heads would be okay, but I always dislike the look of African and SA Cichlids together. Just me being a purist, I guess.
But Steatocranus need flowing water, and only the red heads would like that. You would have one lonesome rapids species with specialized needs... someone would have to get short-changed.
 
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bkaiser3

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NavigatorBlack said:
I don't like the mix. Severum would hate the flow. Acaras would compete for turf. Red heads would be okay, but I always dislike the look of African and SA Cichlids together. Just me being a purist, I guess.
But Steatocranus need flowing water, and only the red heads would like that. You would have one lonesome rapids species with specialized needs... someone would have to get short-changed.
Thank you for the advice it is much apprrciated, you and chromedome have probably forgotten more things than ill ever learn lol. I will definately take your advice and not add the buffalohead. It gives me a reason to tell the wife why i need another tank lol.
 

tyguy7760

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NavigatorBlack said:
I always dislike the look of African and SA Cichlids together. Just me being a purist, I guess.
I agree. I've never liked the new and old world cichlids mixed. Don't mind mixing continents but something always seems wrong mixing cichlids from the Americas and africa
 
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