Smaller Pike Cichlids
Part one of this two-part series looks at the natural history and care tips for dwarves and smaller pike cichlid species.
Text and Photos Oliver Lucanus
Pike cichlids are widely distributed throughout South America and are well represented in all habitats by more than 80 Crenicichla and seven Teleocichla species. Many more species remain undescribed and will enlarge this number in the future. All species are predators that eat anything that fits in their mouths, and they are often not easy to keep in the aquarium. But still, these slender-bodied cichlids have developed a following in the hobby. Their interesting and unusual behavior, colorful mating displays and diversity makes them one of the most interesting cichlid groups of all.
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Many of these species occur only in Brazil. The country allows the export of only those species that are listed on a positive list of species permitted in the ornamental trade. Unfortunately, only two pike cichlids from Brazil are on the list at the moment, so the availability of many of the nicest pike cichlids is now greatly restricted. All the more reason for dedicated hobbyists to try and maintain and breed the species we have in the hobby.
I’ll split the pike cichlids into two different groups. The first part will discuss the small and medium species of Crenicichla and the very small Teleocichla species. In the March issue of FAMA, I’ll cover the larger Crenicichla species, whose husbandry should be restricted to aquariums of more than 6 feet in length.
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