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Salvini Cichlid – Habitat, Care, Feeding, Tank Mates, Breeding

If you’re looking for a fish that will live your tank up with bright colors, then the Salvini cichlid (Cichlasoma salvini) represents a great option.

While they will not display these bright colors when they are young, you can expect them to show these bright colors when they grow up and become sexually mature.

The brightest colors will be displayed when these fish try to attract females.

This fish isn’t a particularly large fish to keep – it can grow to about 8,5 inches in size. Depending on the place of origin of the fish, you can expect different coloration patterns for each fish.

Yellow fish will normally have black horizontal lines on their body. Other fish will have green dots all over their bodies, while some will have a nice sheen on their body.

This is what makes this fish so interesting for fish tank owners. Like many other cichlids, these fish can become territorial and aggressive towards other fish, especially if they don’t have enough space for themselves in the tank.

They can be predatory towards other smaller fish in the tank, and they tend to be even more aggressive when they are breeding.

Their aggressiveness makes the fish not the best choice for beginners. However, with some information, even beginners can easily learn and keep the fish successfully without too many problems.

If you’re looking to learn more about the Salvini cichlid, read this article.

Salvini Cichlid Natural Habitat

Salvini cichlids were first described by Gunther in 1862. In most cases, you will find Salvini cichlids in Central America and also in South America.

Honduras and Guatemala are the two primary countries where this fish is present; however, you are also likely to encounter this fish in Southern Mexico as well as Brazil – Belize is their main habitat in this country.

However, this fish was later moved and reproduced in other countries. A prime example is the United States, where it is found in Texas and Florida.

You are most likely to find these fish in fast-moving waters such as streams or rivers in the given countries.

Lagoons are also aa potential source for these fish, especially the lower areas of lagoons. There, they will feed on smaller animals and invertebrates, as well as smaller fish.

In comparison to some other cichlids which tend to be lurkers, these fish prefer to prey in open areas of the water, where they will make use of their fast swimming skills and intimidating presence.

Salvini Cichlid Tank Requirements

For a single Salvini cichlid, you will need at least 50 gallons of tank space. If you intend to keep a pair for breeding, then you would need a 100-gallon tank.

A very important feature that your tank should have is good and strong water movement, which can be provided by the filter. Make sure you buy a filter with an adjustable flow rate that can allow you to have a strong water flow.

These fish will prefer to have plenty of hiding spaces in the tank, especially rocks and wood sticks or roots. The good news is that these fish won’t try to dig out plants, so you can easily keep them in a tank where you intend to have plants.

But these plants should be set up in such a way that there is plenty of moving space above the plants. There should be plenty of open area, too, as these fish like to actively swim around and occasionally, hide within plants and rocks.

The best type of substrate for the tank is sand, and you can make sure that you have moderate lighting in the tank.

This aspect is not as important as for some other fish species; you can opt for a lighting system for these fish, although natural light will do well.

Salvini Cichlid Water Conditions

As almost every cichlid fish species, Salvini cichlids are tropical fish, meaning that they will require relatively high temperatures.

These should range between 72 and 79 degrees Fahrenheit, although you can freely raise the temperature when these fish are breeding. They can tolerate slight changes in temperatures, but you should try to keep them in these ranges.

You might need a heater to achieve these temperatures. These fish will prefer a neutral PH, which should ideally be between 6.5 and 8. As for the hardness, you can expect it to be somewhere between 8 and 15 DGH. Try to have moderate to strong water flow in the tank, too.

Salvini cichlids will do very well in waters that are clean, so you will need to make sure you change the water regularly. As these fish are active swimmers, they can also produce quite a lot of waste.

We’ve already mentioned the importance of having a good filtration system in place. It should have an adjustable flow rate, and it should be powerful enough to cover all the demands of these fish.

Also, make sure the ammonia levels are as low as possible, as these fish can be very vulnerable to ammonia.

Salvini Cichlid Diet and Feeding

Salvini cichlids are omnivores. This means they will eat all sorts of food types, although they do prefer a carnivorous diet. In their natural habitat, they will feed on smaller fish species and other smaller creatures in the tank, so you should try to replicate that diet as much as possible in captivity, too.

However, you can easily rely on flakes and pellets as the primary source of food for these fish. Make sure the pellets or flakes you feed to these fish are high-quality foods full of nutrients.

Make sure these flakes and pellets have plenty of protein, since these fish are carnivorous in nature.

Add live foods and frozen foods from time to time. Brine shrimp can be considered, as well as blood worms, and other similar types of live or frozen foods.

You can even add vegetable sources of food from time to time, such as sliced cucumbers, blanched spinach, and other similar types of vegetables. These can provide valuable vitamins to their diets.

The best way to feed Salvini cichlids is to serve them several smaller servings throughout the day. Feed them 2-5 times every day with smaller food servings.

You can consider small flake portions, as well as smaller vegetable pieces or meats.

Salvini Cichlid Tank Mates

Since Salvini cichlids tend to be relatively aggressive, especially towards smaller fish, they don’t make a great community fish. However, with some care and consideration, you can easily keep them with other fish species in the tank.

They tend to be even more aggressive when they are breeding and spawning, so you will need to keep extra care in those cases. Never keep them with smaller fish species, as these fish will actively prey on them and try to consume them.

They are also a danger for smaller peaceful fish, as well as semi-aggressive fish. They will do the best with other similar types of fish, such as Jack Dempsey fish or the Red Devil cichlid.

These fish are also moderately aggressive, and won’t be intimidated in case these fish tend to attack them.

Also, you can consider keeping several Salvini cichlids together – one male and one female or several females can be considered, especially if you plan on breeding them. In any case, make sure they have enough space to prosper.

Salvini Cichlid Breeding

Salvini cichlids have been bred in captivity before, and they are fairly easy to breed. As they are good parents, they tend to keep good care of their spawn.

They will actively protect their spawn, and will attack anyone who comes close, especially when the eggs are laid.

They will become sexually mature at the size of around 6 inches. When they breed, they will lay eggs on leaves and rocks of the tank. And these eggs will take only about 5 days to spawn the fry.

This fry will get swimming in a matter of days, and they should not be allowed to swim with other fish other than their parents.

You will need a separate tank if you are keeping Salvini cichlids with other fish in the tank. That’s because these fish will actively try to protect their fry, and they will even attack other fish in the tank if anyone comes close.

These fish will form a nuclear family after the fry has spawned, so the best way to raise the fry is to keep them with their parents.

Wrapping Up

Salvini cichlids are very popular among fish tank keepers. They are moderately aggressive and don’t require that much care.

You will be able to witness a variety of interesting colors with these fish. As they can be a threat to smaller fish, these fish should be considered by intermediate to expert fish tank owners.

However, with some care and education from this article, you can keep this fish even if you are a beginner.

Breeding them is relatively easy, and they are omnivores, so they are not fussy eaters. Hopefully you now know how to keep these fish.

avatar I’m Julia, and I used to work in a fish store for over 5 years. On this blog I help beginners care for their cichlids and share my experience and research on various fishkeeping related topics.

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