Flier cichlid - Archocentrus centrarchus
Scientific name: Archocentrus centrarchus
Common name: Flier cichlid
Usual size in fish tanks: 16 - 20 cm (6.3 - 7.87 inch)
Recommended pH range for the species: 7 - 8.2
Recommended water hardness (dGH): 5 - 15°N (89.29 - 267.86ppm)
0°C 32°F30°C 86°F
Recommended temperature: 22 - 27 °C (71.6 - 80.6°F)
The way how these fish reproduce: Spawning
Where the species comes from: Central America
Temperament to its own species: peaceful
Temperament toward other fish species: aggressive/territorial
Usual place in the tank: Bottom levels
The Flier Cichlid originates from Central America namely Nicaragua and Costa rica where they inhabit many of the main lakes and river waterways.
The Flier cichlid is sometimes referred to as the Green fin cichlid but they are the same species. Like many of the cichlid species they do have an aggressive nature and are best kept by experienced keepers who know how to keep this in hand. If given the space in the aquarium they can adopt a milder disposition but they will need to be housed with tank mates who can handle themselves. Adult specimens have been recorded to reach a length of up to 8 inches but the normal is an average size of around 6 inches. Their body colouration has a green tint to it with a green edging to their finnage and they will display black bars as they mature. Archocentrus centrarchus are classed as a hardy species and can tolerate a wider range of water parameters compared to other species of fish but they will still require the same care with regards to tank maintenance etc.
If housed and cared for correctly the average lifespan for the Flier cichlid is 8 years.
The absolute minimum size aquarium for these fish has to be 50 gallons but if you have more than one pair then more space will need to be provided. They are not too fussy about water parameters but they still need to be kept in good clean water for long term health. Like all of the cichlid species, they are high waste producers and as such a suitable filtration system must be used and this will need to be backed up with regular water changes of at least 10% weekly. The recommended temperature range for the flier cichlid should be between 22 - 27 °C (71.6 - 80.6°F) and the pH range should lie between 7.0-8.0. Rocks or wood can be added to provide hiding places and the addition of plants is possible but you may find the odd one unearthed as these fish dig around the substrate.
The flier cichlid is classed as an omnivorous species so should be offered a varied diet to suit their needs. They can be fed on cichlid pellets or a quality flake but for added vegetable matter you should also offer them spinach, blanched peas and romaine lettuce. They will also appreciate the odd treat of chopped cucumber or zucchini.
Mature males tend to be larger than the females and will develop extended finnage.
The flier cichlid is not too difficult to breed if you provide high quality water, it may be best to separate breeding pairs into a separate breeding tank to prevent over aggression in the main aquarium. They are secretive cave spawners so add terracota pots to the breeding tank and lay them on their side to create a cave. 2-3 pots will provide a choice of spawning site and once happy the female will deposit her eggs at the bottom of the pot quickly followed by the male who fertilises them immediately. The parents will tend the nest and the eggs should hatch within a few days. The fry will not require feeding as soon as they hatch, their yolk sacs will provide their initial food source. Once free swimming a few days later the fry can be fed on newly hatched brine shrimp or infusoria until they are large enough to accept the same feeds as the parent fish.