The cockatoo cichlid (Apistogramma cacatuoides) is sometimes known as the big mouth cichlid because of its large mouth. The cockatoo cichlid has many colour variations such as the full red, double red, triple red, super red and orange. It has vibrant orange and red fins, a little bit of black bit with a grayish body and a black line mid-way through the body which goes the entire way down from the eye to the tail fin.
The Cockatoo cichlid is a member of the apistogramma (South American Dwarf Cichlid) family. It is from the streams and backwaters of the Amazon River. The bottom the of the river is usually littered with leaves and slow moving. They prefer soft and slightly acidic water with a pH from 6.0 - 7.0 with a KH (carbonate hardness) of 2 - 15 and a temperature of about 79 - 84 F (26 - 29 C).
The males cockatoo cichlid can get to 2 - 3.5" (5 - 9 cm) long and the females are usually smaller than the males like most cichlids. The first 3 - 5 fin rays of the males is elongated, like the German Blue Ram (apsitogramma ramerzii), and the end of the dorsal fin is pointed. The male's tail fin is forked and the anal fin is long and pointed. Like some other cichlids, the male is more colorful then the females.
The tank for these little cockatoo cichlids should be full of aquarium plants and plenty of hiding spots for them. Unlike larger cichlids, they won't dig up the plants in the tank. The darker the substrate, the more colorful the males will appear as well as make them feel more at home. They also like driftwood and plants with lots of roots above the bottom. The water should be clean and regular partial water changes are needed. They like medium sized live food like brine shrimp with flakes/granules and also frozen food as a main food.
They can get really territorial when spawning or if there are too many males in the tank. If you want them with other dwarf cichlids, make sure that they have plenty of space in the footprint (the area of the base) and lots of hiding places like caves or live plants.
Cockatoo Cichlid Care
Scientific Name : Apistogramma cacatuoides
Common Names : Cockatoo Cichlid, Cockatoo Dwarf Cichlid
Care Level : Medium, since you need a well established tank for them
Size : 2 - 3.5 inches (5 - 9 cm)
pH : 6.0 - 7.0
Temperature : 79 - 84°F (26 - 29°C)
Water Hardness : prefers soft water
Lifespan : usually around 3 - 5 years
Origin / Habitat : Streams and backwaters of the Amazon River
Temperament / Behavior : They are quite peaceful except during the breeding process.
Cockatoo Cichlid Breeding : The best ratio for breeding is 1 male to 3 or more females. Breeding them is not very easy in the home community aquarium.
Aquarium Size : 20 gallons (78 liters) minimum for each pair
Fish Disease : Freshwater Fish Disease - Diagnose, Symptoms and Treatment
Diet / Fish Food : They should accept nearly all aquarium fish foods including flakes, frozen, freeze dried, live and cichild pellets.
Tank Region : Bottom to middle areas of the tank.
Gender : The males are more colorful and have a forked tail as well as a pointed anal and dorsal fin.
Similar Species : Cichlids
Fish Lore Forum : Cockatoo Cichlid Forum
Photo Credit : Photos copyright JJPhoto.dk
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