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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

I have a pair of fish that were sold to me as 'tetramerus'. Judging from the dark mottling, the bar along the length of the fish, the bluish color, and the lack of red, I don't think that's right. They have just spawned and are guarding eggs. I did notice they are much darker and mottled now than before. Does anyone know what they could be? Hybrids? Any help would be appreciated, thanks!

Below are photos of the pair.

pair.jpg

male.PNG

female.PNG
 

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I think it's one of the Port Acara species so a Cichlasoma sp. rather then an Aequidens.
A. tetramerus should have facial markings that Port Acaras do not. There are a number of Aequidens species that are difficult to distinguish from A. tetramerus but these also have the facial markings.
There is 12 species in the genus Cichlasoma. Six with 3 anal spines and six with 4 or more anal spines. If you are able to count the anal spines or take more pictures that might show it, the would be a start. If it 's got 4 or more it is most definitely a Port Acara as no other Acara has that many anal spines.
Here is a key that could be helpful in distinguishing these species:https://www.monsterfishkeepers.com/forums/threads/identifying-your-cichlasoma.366569/ Unfortunately with the change in Photobucket none of the pictures now show up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the reply.

Yes, they do not look at all like Aequidens tetramurus. I saw that link that you sent, but with my limited experience with acara-type fish and the absence of pictures, it was a bit difficult for me to understand the key.

I have managed to get some screen shots of a video I took. If they're not clear enough, I can try to take more photos tomorrow. From what I can tell, there seems to be 3 spines?

image1.png

image2.png
 

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Well, I really can't tell from those pictures how many anal spines. Often, you need exceptional pictures to distinguish spines from rays. As far as looking at pictures on the net and trying to find something that looks very similar, these are about the closest I could find: https://lotsoffish.slickpic.com/albums/CichlasomaAmazonarum/?wallpaper If it is Cichlasoma amazonarum it would have 4 (or more) anal spines and also would have rows of scales that enter the anal and dorsal fin at their base (Something I think that wouldn't be too obvious unless the pictures were really, really good so you'd have to look at the fish in the tank). The thin edging on the scales on the head and anterior is a fit (which would probably rule out the more common C. dimerus and C. portalgrensis which has very thick scale edging). Lot's of spotting on the tail, top and bottom also a fit. Asymmetrical spotting on the tail fin? Well, at least somewhat from what i can tell from your photos. Spotting on the scales on the back part of the fish is also a fit, though that seems pretty common on some others (such as C. boliviense with 3 anal spines).
These are all very closely related species so distinguishing them is not always a simple matter. Even if you find pictures that resemble your fish, it does not necessarily mean they are the exact same species as they can all look very similar.
 

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It needs to be pointed out that the resemblance of these fish to the marking pattern of those in my last link probably has a lot to do with both pairs being in breeding coloration. When I look at the younger fish from my last link, they seem much deeper bodied then the fish in question. Your fish would be very elongated for a Port Acara. The only port that ever get's the description of elongated is
Cichlasoma taenia. This link might be of interest and shows some pics of most of the species in the genus:http://cichlidnews.com/issues/2014apr/cichlasoma.html
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Wow, that is a large amount of amazing information! And those links! Thanks so much! :thumb:

I pored through the photos in the links, my fish do look very much like C. amazonarum, then again they also look like C. taenia to me. I caught the male in a more 'regular' state, maybe it would help, pictures below. (I'm not sure if the spawn was eaten by the tank-mates, or if they'd hatched and were moved by the mom. They are now guarding a cave under the flat rocked they layed eggs on.)

image1.jpeg


Looking back at the monsterfishkeepers key, I'm pretty sure they're not C. dimerus, C. portalegrense or C. pusillum, that are supposedly "covered in metallic blue-green scales". Also, I checked the fins of the fish in the video I have, and there only seems to be a single row, at most 2 rows, of scales that enter the posterior end of the dorsal fin. So I am not sure they are C. amazonarum. I will have a closer look of the actual fish tomorrow.

Looking back, I agree that the first step is figuring out the number of anal spines to narrow down the possibilities. What is the best way to distinguish anal spines from anal rays? Visually, are they the ones with their tips sticking out, the ones without 'flesh' between the tips? Would it help if i took the fish out of the water and felt which are spines and which are rays?
 

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D3N2 said:
What is the best way to distinguish anal spines from anal rays?
Spines are made of bone. They are noticeably thicker then rays and are usually white in color. The rays are much thinner. The tail fin, the back part of the dorsal fin and the back part of the anal fin, all have rays. Some times the ray will branch into 2 or 3 rays towards their ends. Most of the length of the dorsal fin and the start of the anal fin have spines.
D3N2 said:
Visually, are they the ones with their tips sticking out, the ones without 'flesh' between the tips?
Yes, towards their tips, there is no 'flesh' attaching to the next.......except, often the last anal spine will have the 'flesh' attached to the first ray.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks again BC in SK.

So I net the fish out today and had a look/feel. Both had 4 anal fin spines each. Forgot to check the scales growing onto the fins, will need to do that soon.

From the monsterfishkeeper link, there was mention of only three species with 4 or more anal fin spines; C. amazonarium, C. bimaculatum and C. taenia. What are the other 3 species that have 4 anal fin spines? Or are they so rare in the hobby that it would not matter? If that's the case, we've definitely narrowed it down from twelve possibilities to three possibilities!
 

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D3N2 said:
C. amazonarium, C. bimaculatum and C. taenia. What are the other 3 species that have 4 anal fin spines?
Actually, there is 13 species in the genus, as Cichlasoma zarskei was more recently described in 2011.
So there is another 4 species with 4 anal spines: C. orientale, C. orinocense, C. sanctifransiscense and C, zarskei.
4 anal spines is what I suspected, based on a few of your pictures, but really couldn't be sure at all.
This link on the description of C. zarskei might provide some useful info: http://www.senckenberg.de/files/con...1-3/06_vertebrate_zoology_61-3_ottoni_335.pdf
C. zarskei and C. orientale are supposed to have very conspicuous horizontal stripe on the back part of the fish. Problem with something like this, is like most SA cichlids, these fish are very chameleon like, especially under various aquarium conditions. From what I can tell, just about any of the Port Acaras can show a full horizontal stripe in breeding coloration. The pictures of your male shows that it does not have prominent horizontal stripeat the back part of the fish; neither in 'regular' or breeding condition. So this might suggest it is not either of these species. Also, these 2 species are supposed to have faintly dotted fins (vs. intensely dotted). At least from your pictures in breeding coloration, I would think at least the caudal fin is intensely dotted.
From my understanding from this link, C. amazonarum is supposed to have at least 6 scales that go into the dorsal and anal fins.
 
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