he attractive Black Belt Cichlid Paraneetroplus maculicauda (previously Vieja maculicauda and Cichlasoma maculicauda) is a popular choice for both beginner and experienced fishkeepers. As with most cichlids, the Black Belt Cichlid is an intelligent fish and can come to recognize and respond to a particular owner. In addition, the Black Belt presents a beautiful and unique red, black, and white color combination and a relatively docile temperament. These characteristics coupled with fairly easy maintenance and breeding requirments make this fish a wonderful choice for any devoted aquarist.
Though they are large at a maximum of 12″ and can be aggressive and are not considered a community fish, the Black Belt Cichlid has a somewhat more docile manner than many of its relatives. It can be kept with others of its own species, a group of 6 if they are raised together in a very large tank. In a breeding pair the male is not aggressive towards its mate if there is plenty of room, though it can become very territorial and aggressive towards others when spawning. These cichlids can also be kept with other Central and South American cichlids of a similar temperament as long as there is plenty of room. Aquariums 120 gallons or more can work well with these groupings while a single fish will require a recommended minimum of 70+ gallons.
The Black Belt Cichlid is easy to moderate to care for as long as large and frequent water changes are diligently performed. They can be kept in both fresh and brackish water. They are not demanding and can take a wide range of pH, though it must be kept stable. They will feel at home with moderate or subdued lighting, and will appreciate a sandy substrate with a decor of bog wood, roots, and rocks having plenty of hiding places. Plants will not do well as they will be eaten. Provide flat smooth stones for spawning.
- Species – Vieja Maculicauda
- Common Name – Black Belt
- Origin – Belize, Guatemala, and Mexico
- Diet – Omnivores
- PH Range – 6 – 8
- Temperature – Tropical 21°c – 28°c
- Breed Type – Egg Layer
- Current Size – approximately 5cm (Grows to approximately 30cm)
- Sex – Un-sexed