The Red Striped Eartheater Cichlid (Geophagus surinamensis) is a very beautiful and surprisingly peaceful cichlid that is native to Suriname. It is regarded as one of the most colorful “earth-eating” species. The entire Geophagus genus is known for its characteristic feeding behavior of scooping up mouthfuls of substrate, which it separates from any small invertebrate prey, and expelling the sifted substrate through its gills.
The Red Striped Eartheater Cichlid requires an aquarium with a soft, sandy substrate and plenty of refuge such as clay pots, driftwood, and rock formations. Gravel and other larger substrates can damage the gills and organs of this fish as it feeds. Due to its digging behavior and occasional appetite for soft-leaved plants, it might not be compatible with some more delicate plants. However, it is fine with more durable plants that can be attached to rocks and driftwood. This cichlid is generally compatible with other peaceful fish as long as it has plenty of open terrain. Territoriality is typically at its peak during spawning, but this species tends to thrive and show its best coloration in groups of 6 or more. Subdominant specimens are more prone to bullying in smaller groups. Dwarf shrimp and other small, delicate invertebrates should not be kept with the Red Striped Eartheater Cichlid, but more durable, larger shrimp and snails could possibly make good tankmates in a large enough aquarium Schooling fish such as large tetras and Corydoras catfish are good tankmates, as are suckermouth catfish and other relatively peaceful cichlids such as severums, angelfish, and even discus. If spawning is desired, tankmates of other species should be kept to a minimum or avoided altogether.
Feeding is simple for the unfussy Red Striped Eartheater Cichlid. High-quality dry, frozen, and live meaty foods will all be readily accepted. Quality and variety are the keys to a diet that will ensure that this fish maintains optimal health and coloration. Due to its unique feeding behavior, this fish requires food of smaller size than many other cichlids. Even as it reaches adult size, it should be fed foods comparable to the size of bloodworms and small to medium size grade dry foods.
- Species – Geophagus surinamensis
- Common Name – Red Horseface, Red Striped Eartheater
- Origin – Central and South America.
- Diet – Omnivorous
- PH Range – 6.5 – 7.5
- Temperature – Tropical 22°c – 28°c
- Breed Type – Mouth Brooder
- Current Size – approximately 5cm (Grows to approximately 25cm)
- Sex – Un-sexed