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A Cichlids Article on: Pike Cichlid
Pike cichlids are predatory, vigorous fish that can be found all over much of the South American continent in over 50 species. They range in various sizes from a massive 24-inch fish, a 6 to 10 inch medium sized fish, and a smaller dwarf species that only grow to reach around 4 inches in length.
Just by their appearance, you can see what a capable predator this fish is. Most of the species have broad protruding mouths and long bodies. They will hide behind rocks or other items and wait for the prey to come close, and then they will rapidly chase the prey until they catch it.
Although skilled predators, pike cichlids generally will not bother any of the decorations or rock structures in the tank. The design of their jaw structure makes it difficult for them to pull or move things. However, they may still dig up plants in the tank occasionally.
The size of the aquarium that is recommended for pike cichlids will depend on the variety that you have, how many you wish to keep in the tank and other fish that are in the community. Even dwarf species that are more aggressive should not be kept in tanks smaller than 55 gallons and larger species need tanks of at least 125 gallons. And, a cover that fits tightly will keep these jumpers in the tank.
If you have purchased your pike cichlid, then it will already be accustomed to eating prepared foods such as pellets. But, pikes that are caught in the wild, often refuse to eat anything but live foods. They can sometimes be trained to eat prepared foods, but it takes persistence and patience.
Even when pike cichlids will eat prepared foods, it is highly recommended that you also include live or frozen foods as well. Feeder fish, worms, and shrimp are excellent additions to add variety. In addition, they will be much happier if they get to hunt their prey as they do in nature.
The dwarf species and those from the Lugubris group are very sensitive to water quality. Even small changes in water conditions can lead to death. In their natural habitats, there are very little bacteria and pollution and this needs to be mimicked as closely as possible.
If you want a hardier cichlid that is easy to breed, the medium sized fish from the Saxatilis group called Spangled Pikes is excellent. These cichlids will adapt to almost any tap water with just the normal water treatment and breed with very little coaxing.
Several methods can help to reduce aggression in an aquarium containing pike cichlids. Naturally, since they are predators, never keep smaller fish or crustaceans in the same tank. These smaller tank mates will obviously be seen as food!
They can be aggressive with other members of the same species. However, this can be reduced by only housing specimens of the same approximate size together. If you want to keep other species in the community, choose fish that have different colors and body shapes than the pikes. This will let the pikes know that these fish are a different group and there is not any need to fight.
Another option is to use pieces of PVC pipe or hollow driftwood in the tank. This will give the fish places to retreat instead of fighting for the entire aquarium. Make sure that the pipe or driftwood is wide enough for the fish to fit comfortably inside. Moreover, add at least one piece of pipe for each fish.
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