Sam Borstein Introduces a rare little gem from Lake Izabal Basin, Guatemala In the brief period I’ve kept Archocentrus spinosissimus it has become one of my favourite fish. One of the perks of being a lab member of the Evolutionary Ecology of Fishes Lab at California State University, Sacramento is that we have many interesting heroine cichlid species that are not easily obtainable in the hobby. I was ecstatic to see this species, which I had only previously seen in books, grace our fishroom. Hopefully, my experiences keeping this fish will inspire a little more admiration for this underappreciated species which is not only pretty, but also displays some truly unique behaviour. Upon first glance it is quite easy to understand how Archocentrus spinosissimus gets its common
names. Archocentrus spinosissimus is often referred to as the spiny cichlid and the pepper cichlid. Spiny cichlid is an apt nickname as the specific epithet literally translates to “most spiny” and the fish has numerous dorsal fin and anal fin spines. Sometimes hobbyists shorten the species name and call the fish “Spinos”. I’ve more commonly heard this species referred to as the pepper cichlid in aquarium circles in the United States. This nickname is also quite understandable. While some may say that Archocentrus spinosissimus lacks the exuberant colours that many of the other cichlids have, it has a subtle beauty in its extremely high contrasting coloration pattern.
Male Archocentrus spinosissimus have beautiful long finnage and may also develop a nuchal hump
North & Central American cichlid keeping