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Male Archocentrus spinosissimus breeding colour is less dramatic than that of the females.

Archocentrus spinosissimus is not picky about its water parameters. While the water parameters in the native range of this species consists of a pH of around 6.0 and almost no hardness, I’ve found that this species does quite well in water of hard water with a pH in the mid 7’s. Water temperature should be around 23-26 °C. A recommended set-up for Archocentrus spinosissimus should include with drift-wood and rocks. While many heroine cichlids will actively dig up aquatic plants, a heavily planted tank is critical for Archocentrus spinosissimus, the reason for which will be discussed later in the breeding section below. The combination of these elements will make this shy fish feel comfortable. I’ve found that this species is not picky about substrate and either pea sized gravel or sand make fine substrate choices. In the wild Archocentrus spinosissimus has a benthic diet, feeding on larval insects found in the substrate and on aquatic plants. In captivity it is not a picky resident accepting just about every type of prepared food. I feed a mix of a high quality flake and pellet foods with the occasional treat of frozen blood worms. This combination keeps the fish in good shape and conditions them to spawn.

Breeding Unlike its suggested relatives Archocentrus centrarchus and Archocentrus multispinosus, Archocentrus spinosissimus is difficult to breed in captivity. It also tends to breed with less regularity than the other two members of the genus. Sexual maturity in this species seems to be at a size of 5-7 cm. Before spawning females will become noticeably plumper and their genital papilla will become noticeable. In my experience, Archo centrus spinosissimus is an open spawner which lays eggs on vertical surfaces. A vertical piece of slate leaned up against the glass or a flower pot provide excellent spawning sites for this fish to lay their eggs on. It is not uncommon for the fish to spawn on the glass of the aquarium. Clutches generally number is in the range of 100-150 eggs. After spawning Archocentrus spinosissimus will display their breeding colours . Formerly a white fish with black spots, the parents take on a much darker coloration with the ventral half of the fish becoming almost black while the dorsal half becomes a dusky grey. In addition the vertical striping becomes quite prominent on the dorsal half of the fish when spawning. The colour change is most dramatic in females and on occasion some 14

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The Central Scene Issue 3  

North & Central American cichlid keeping

The Central Scene Issue 3  

North & Central American cichlid keeping

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