Jaguar Cichlid Overview

Jaguar Cichlid – Large and Territorial


The Jaguar Cichlid (scientific name: Parachromis managuensis) is a South American freshwater cichlid, and which has been introduced in the USA, Philippines and Singapore. It is a valuable species, traded not only for aquariums but also targeted in both recreational (game) and commercial fisheries and also produced in aquaculture.


As most cichlids, the species has an elongated body and can be distinguished by its large mouth, projecting lower jaw and distinct color pattern: a series of black spots on the side and two continuous and parallel black stripes from the eye to the opercle (i.e. gill bone). Its body color ranges from silver to golden-purple, its dorsal, anal and caudal fins have numerous black spots and its belly is usually white or yellowish. Males can reach an average length of 14 inches (35 cm) and females a length of 12 inches (30 cm) and can live up to 15 years.


This fish species can be found in a variety of habitats such as streams, lakes and ponds, including both hard and soft sediments, in depths that range between 3-10 m. It survives in both clear and turbid water, but seems to have a preference for muddy waters characterized by low oxygen levels. As its name suggests, it displays extremely aggressive behavior and is extremely territorial, especially during the reproductive period.


Keeping the Jaguar in an aquarium is an easy task. However, due to its territoriality, it is important to keep it separate from other species, or chose its tank-mates carefully. Especially during the reproductive season providing a separate tank to the breeding couple is crucial in order to maintain all the individuals intact.


The ideal tank to keep Jaguar Cichlids should have a minimum size of 180 gallons. Ideal conditions should also include a temperature range between 77-97 °F, pH between 7.0-8.7 and hardness between 6-18 °dH. The Jaguar Cichlid is a very capable predator feeding mainly on smaller fish and large invertebrates. As a result, it will appreciate live food but can also be trained to feed on pellets, which should be of high quality and suitable for large predators. It is also common to feed the Jaguar Cichlid fish meat, earthworms and krill.


Jaguar Cichlids reach sexual maturity at a size of 4 inches (10 cm). In order to enhance the likelihood of breeding, it is highly recommended to begin with several juveniles. Provided that there is at least a male and a female, by the time they become sexually mature a breeding couple will have been established. Breeding of this species is easy to achieve, however the aggressiveness of the male individuals might even target the females, thus during the breeding process it is crucial to provide a special structure that will allow the female to escape, e.g. a net or other material can be used to divide the tank into two parts, connected through an opening that is too small for the male to pass through.


The species breeding behaviour is quite similar to that of other cichlids, with the male preparing its territory and performing a series of movements to attract the female which subsequently releases a high number of oocytes (1000-2000) on the ground. The male fertilizes the oocytes and both parents guard the fertilized eggs until the juveniles are ready to feed on themselves, which takes roughly a week.


The parental care provided by the parents to the fries along with the astonishing colours, dominating behaviour and breeding procedure of the Jaguar Cichlids make this species a unique candidate for an aquarium, suitable for aquarium lovers of any level.

Jaguar Cichlid

Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *