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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I bought these two from a local fish store and as they're matured I'm thinking they are not what they were labeled in the store. They had them labeled as fire mouths but these don't look like any fire mouth I've ever seen. Can anyone please help ID these two, I've looked a lot of different places online with no luck finding anything with these colors? They've also seemed to paired off and have dug a nice cave I'm assuming to breed in.

Thanks in advance
Brian.

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the quick responses! I knew I could count on you guys for help. I looked them up and yes they are Hypsophrys nicaraguensis. I recently switched out all my Africans for central and south Americans to a change it up a bit but I left my Syndontis Cat who's about 8-9 inches long. The Male of this pair could care less about the size difference (he's only about 3.5 inches) but has beat the **** out of the cat for getting too close to its "cave" I was pretty surprised by how aggressive he was being but it's also pretty entertaining.
 

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brijar said:
Thanks for the quick responses! I knew I could count on you guys for help. I looked them up and yes they are Hypsophrys nicaraguensis. I recently switched out all my Africans for central and south Americans to a change it up a bit but I left my Syndontis Cat who's about 8-9 inches long. The Male of this pair could care less about the size difference (he's only about 3.5 inches) but has beat the #%$& out of the cat for getting too close to its "cave" I was pretty surprised by how aggressive he was being but it's also pretty entertaining.
If the male is being that aggressive towards a catfish, I think it is highly likely that your pair are engaged in pre-spawning behavior. That's great news, because pair-bonding in this species can be fraught, and if you have a pair already, that's more than half the battle. These are cave spawners, and will defend their cave ferociously against all intruders, irrespective of size. Like I said, very cool fishes. :thumb:
 

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Those are beautiful looking little Nicaraguans. 8)
And, I personally think you got the better end of the deal in your 'mistaken identity' purchase from the LFS. Plus, it's sounding a lot like your pair is probably guarding some eggs in that cave they are so keen to defend.
In aggression, I'm not too surprised those Central American Cichlids went right at the much larger African catfish. Oh yeah... they can recognize a predator when they see one!
So, once the fry are free swimming in there, you may have to pull the catfish out for his own safety. Nicaraguans are actually sort of mild (by CA standards of aggression, at least). By comparison, a pair of Trichromis salvini at that size, would have almost certainly killed that catfish. :oops:
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Good to know! I know fish protecting their fry can be quite aggressive, but do you really think they could take down the Syndontis? It's three times their size and probably 5 times their weight and is super docile. He comes up for a pet fairly regularly. I put my hand in the tanks and it brushes against it like a cat would
 

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Be careful. It sounds a lot like you really enjoy this African catfish.
Because really, how that catfish reacts to you, should in no way inform its relationship with other fish in the aquarium, esp. in regards to spawning New World cichlids. At night, predatory species can exhibit much different behaviors than what they demonstrate during the day.
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It may help in this instance to think of African Lions. During the heat of the day, it seems that all those big cats do is just lay around and take naps! Are they the ideal 'poseurs' for wildlife photographers? Sure! But, when things darken up and cool down a bit out there... the Apex Predator emerges onto that African Savannah (aquarium?). And, the 'reign of terror' begins!
So, keep a close eye on things in your tank. And, if it looks like your pair of Nicaraguans are just 'beating the stuffing' outta that catfish? They won't relent once it starts, and you will have to pull the catfish out for his own safety. :(
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
****! I appreciate the help. I'll definitely keep an eye on them. I've had the cat about 8 years and would hate to see it dead one morning.
 

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Auballagh said:
...Be careful. It sounds a lot like you really enjoy this African catfish... So, keep a close eye on things in your tank. And, if it looks like your pair of Nicaraguans are just 'beating the stuffing' outta that catfish? They won't relent once it starts, and you will have to pull the catfish out for his own safety...
This is great advice. Keeping the catfish and the H. nicaraguensis together long-term is not going to be a viable option, so best to start planning for the inevitable. Good luck. :thumb:
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
One more quick question, do you know roughly how often they spawn? I'm curious how often I will have to put up with their aggression while spawning and rearing their fry. If it's too frequent I will likely sell the pair back to my LFS. I have no desire to get rid of my Syndontis since I've had her for so long, so I'll need tank mates that can live with her.
 

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brijar said:
One more quick question, do you know roughly how often they spawn? I'm curious how often I will have to put up with their aggression while spawning and rearing their fry. If it's too frequent I will likely sell the pair back to my LFS. I have no desire to get rid of my Syndontis since I've had her for so long, so I'll need tank mates that can live with her.
These are not long-term tankmates for your Synodontis. In prime condition, they will spawn regularly, and they will be aggressive throughout their spawning cycle. So expecting long periods of peace interrupted by an occasional spawning is not realistic. It should be easy to find a home for your mated pair. Good luck.
 

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Well now, Sir Keith is right... you have what seems to be a really nice breed of a compatible pair of Central American Cichlids. And no.... outside of the Convict Cichlid, Amatitlania nigrofasciatus, this situation is NOT a given.
The ugly truth is: In the rough and tumble world of Central American Cichlids - the female often, ultimately dies in incompatible spawning pairs. These New World cichlids just don't always, actually like each other, I guess.... :(
So, I'm gonna advocate for keeping the pair of Nicaraguan cichlids. Yep.
And so, is this your long-term catfish?
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Synodontis eupterus

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If so, awesome! The African Feather Fin catfish is a beautiful member of the breed. But.... this is also a riverine basin catfish. That is, not much of a Rift-Lake type. And as such, belongs no more in an Mbuna tank than it does in a New World Cichlid biotope. And, it's also a known night time predator of eggs, cichlid fry and juvenile fish.
Something I suspect your pair of Nicaraguans, instinctively know all too well about.....
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So, why not feature this rather impressive catfish in a true biotope aquarium featuring the African riverine basin environment? Stock this new tank with a decent-sized school of Congo Tetras. Add maybe a SINGLE, Jewel cichlid.... plenty of bogwood, some rocks and lots of aquatic plants.
I dunno.... could that be pretty cool? A fish-keeping bridge that provides some finality and an acceptable break from your African Rift Lake past?
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I think so. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I had all mbuna in it before and wanted a change but couldn't part with the Feather Fin. If I had the money (and the space) I'd just set up a second tank and restock with mbuna and keep the Nicks where they are. I've only had the Nicks for about a month and am rather attached to my feather fin and because of that, the pair will have to go. On the bright side I can turn a profit on the mated pair selling them back to my LFS
 

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Ahhhh well.... I really AM a New World Cichlid guy at heart.
And, your situation is - what it is. Hopefully, we did at least save this sentimental favorite of yours from getting slaughtered by this pair of pugnacious cichlids? :thumb:
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So, good luck with it. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
You totally did! I appreciate all the advice and help. I'd have never known that they could kill my feather fin without it, and that would have really bummed me out. Hopefully there's a little peace in the tank for a couple more days days since I won't be back home until Sunday evening.

Thanks again!
 
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