After some quick research on the species, and consulting with those who have
kept them, I prepared what was to
become their new home. The tank
and sand were carefully washed.
As far as the substrate was concerned,
I went with a mixture of pool filter
sand, black gravel, and black sand.
In retrospect, I probably could
have skipped the black sand; it
made a colossal mess when it was
added to the tank. I added several
pieces of driftwood, and all was
I had decided that whatever route
I took, fish-wise, I was going to
have live plants in this set-up.
Due to the fact that D. filamentosus
appreciates a more dimly-lit aquarium,
I had to find plants that would
also thrive in this scenario. Fortunately,
there are many plants that will
do very well in low light. After
the tank had finally cleared and
the black sand had settled to the
bottom, I obtained some Java fern
(Microsorim pteropus), to
put on the driftwood. Also added
were some Myriophyllum pinnatum,
Cryptocoryne balansae, C.
wendtii, a dwarf water lilly,
and a few sprigs of Java moss (Vesicularia
dubyana), which had come with
some Victorians I had gotten around
the same time.
Once the tank had been up and running
for two weeks, and the water parameters
were somewhat acceptable, I went
ahead and bought the fish. As far
as tankmates go, I knew I would
be hard-pressed to find anything
better than tetras. My choice in
this department was the Blue Emperor
Tetra (Inpaichthys kerri).
Since I had read it favored similar
conditions to the lyretails, they
would be just fine. Then came the
tricky part; finding a pair of cichlids.
I am not sure if this is a recent trend or not, but lately I have noticed that
it is becoming more and more difficult
to spot female dwarf cichlids. As
I was carefully looking each fish
over, the clerk told me that sometimes
breeders would send just males.
I donít know if they do that so
they can control the market on a
particular fish, or if they send
males because the males tend to
have better color. But everyone
knows that a male will only look
his best when thereís a lady to
impress. After much careful, excruciating
examination of the fish, I selected
one definate male, and one that
seemed like it might be a female.
I paid for my fish and went home.
As it turned out, I did acquire
a pair. I havenít been fortunate
enough to have them spawn for me,
mind you, but there is no mistaking
a female D. filamentosus.
While the male is swimming around
with his long, flowing, pointy fins,
hers are clear and rounded, save
for a little red in her pectoral
fins. The male is brilliant with
electric blue spangles; she is more
subdued, but still lovely.
As far as behavior goes, itís almost impossible to believe that itís a cichlid.
It almost seems too mild-mannered.
The pair goes about the tank in
a non-hurried fashion, even at feeding
time. They seem fond of grazing
and picking at their food, so if
food doesnít get eaten right away,
I know that they will find it and
eat it. In a way, it seems to be
a good strategy, especially since
they move a little slower than the
Blue Emperors and recently-added
Rummynoses! When it comes to food,
I have not found them to be picky;
mine accept flake food readily,
but they go into a frenzy when daphnia
is on the menu.
When I had first obtained my fish, I almost lost the male due to ich. However,
a combined treatment of Maracide®
and raising the water temperature
to 85 degrees for a week seemed
to not only due the trick, I havenít
had any other problems with illness
Overall, I have found D. filamentosus
to be a wonderful fish. I have not
found them to be shy, but frequently
swimming in the open. They are peaceful,
fairly hardy, and excellent community
fish when kept with other peaceful
fish. It may have taken me over
twenty years, but Iím glad I finally