South American Cichlids • Geophagus temperature requirements

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Geophagus temperature requirements

Postby JoeE » Mon Jun 11, 2012 11:05 am

Hello - I am in the process of doing research for a 75 gallon tank I plan on having in the near future. I have a few Bolivian Rams but I am otherwise a cichlid newbie.

I've recently been captivated by the various geophagus species, and I like the fact that you can have a good sized school of the medium-sized ones in a 75 gallon tank. I was considering the

I have also heard that certain geophagus species have really finicky temperature requirements - they require 3 months of relative cold (65 degrees or less) in order to be healthy. This would present a bit of a problem, as I imagine those temperatures would kill most tropical fish that would be considered suitable tankmates and I'm not even sure I could get the temperature that low in my condo. Which geophagus species would the temperature requirement rule out, if not all of them?

Comments, or any general thoughts on these fish and which would do better in a 75 gallon? I'm not really looking to breed them.
Joined: Mon Jun 11, 2012 10:47 am
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Re: Geophagus temperature requirements

Postby Chromedome52 » Mon Jun 11, 2012 12:26 pm

The ones that require cooling are Gymnogeophagus, not Geophagus. Geos mostly inhabit warmer climes, with the exception of some of the 'Geophagus' brasiliensis group, which may be removed from the genus eventually. These, however, are generally aggressive, and at most a pair is all you could maintain longterm in a 75.

True Geos mostly get a bit large for a group in a 75, but one of the smaller species, the Red Head Tapajos, is becoming quite available and stays small enough that a group could be maintained. They have the advantage of being one of the more breedable true Geos, which is one reason they are becoming so available. Another smaller species would be G. taeniopareius, but this one is not often imported, and is somewhat rare in the hobby. This one I found to be extremely sensitive to water quality issues.

One Gymnogeophagus that might work is Gy. balzanii, as they have the most northerly distribution of any Gymno species, and do not require the extreme cooling of others in the genus. Not that colorful, but they make up for it by their unique appearance.
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Re: Geophagus temperature requirements

Postby JoeE » Mon Jun 11, 2012 12:40 pm

thanks for the help. Do the red heads do better as breeding pairs or in a harem situation? I was thinking 4 would be a good number, maybe 1:3 or two breeding pairs. Add in 8 corys, 4 otos and a ton of dither tetras (lemons?) and that would be my tank.
Joined: Mon Jun 11, 2012 10:47 am
Location: Atlanta, GA

Re: Geophagus temperature requirements

Postby bbortko » Mon Jun 11, 2012 8:57 pm

Red heads like to be in groups, m:f ratio isn't that important so long as you have a decent sized group. I had 5 and everything was honky dory.
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