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Gymnogeophagus balzanii - Paraguay eartheaterMagyarul / Hungarian
Gymnogeophagus balzanii - Paraguay eartheaterGymnogeophagus balzanii - Paraguay eartheaterGymnogeophagus balzanii - Paraguay eartheaterGymnogeophagus balzanii - Paraguay eartheaterGymnogeophagus balzanii - Paraguay eartheater
  • Scientific name: Gymnogeophagus balzanii
  • Synonyms: Geophagus balzanii
  • Common name: Paraguay Eartheater
  • Group: Cichlids
  • Habitat: South America; Paraguay, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay
  • Size: Male: 20 cm, female: 14 cm
  • Biotope: Inhabits in swamps or slow-moving rivers, near the main river channels.
  • Social behavior: Territorial, males can be very intolerant with other cichlids, and can be very quarrelsome with other males. Can be kept with fish that inhabits in the upper levels of the tank.
  • Diet: Omnivorous; snails, crustaceans, aquatic insects, tubifex. Occasionally some vegetable matter: spirulina tablets or spinach. The Paraguay Eartheater take the substrate in their mouths and eject it through their gills, while retain any edible food they find.
  • Breeding: Quite hard
  • Tank: Minimum 200 litres:
  • Population: 1 male and 2-3 female for 250 litres
  • Decoration: Use a sand or fine gravel substrate, because they like to burrow. Therefore only robust, potted plants should be used as they may uproot them. Put some flat stones in their tank as this fish like to rest and breed on them. Use roots and driftwood as hiding places.
  • Temperature: 21-25°C
  • pH: 6.5-7.5
  • Hardness: 5-15 NK°
  • Lifespan: 5-8 years

Description:An oval shaped fish with a small mouth. Their color is light gray to brown on the upper part, and gold to brown on the lower part of the body. Males are larger and more colourful than females, and also develop a large hump on their forehead that extends from the front of the the dorsal fin, to the lips. Occasionally a few orange spots may be scattered on the hump, near the eye. The fins are yellow to gold in color with some white spots on the edge of the anal, dorsal, and pelvic fins. Females develop a dark spot and a stripe running from the eye to the cheek during spawning. Some fish may have five to eight, vertical stripes on the body.  Prefers a little cooler water than most other South American cichlids. Don’t  keep the Paraguay Mouthbrooder at too warm water as it causes the fish to become more sensitive. Most experts agree that the species does best in cooler water for a period of 3-4 months, where the temperature is maintained around 16-18°C. This simulates the changing seasons in its natural habitat. The water must be well-maintained with frequent partial water changes, because in poor water conditions the fish easily get hole-in-the-head disease.

Breeding is not too difficult: use neutral water with a hardness from 8-12 dH, and a water temperature from 24-27°C. Courtship involves a lot of quivering and flaring. The female deposits 200 to 500 eggs on previously cleaned flat rock, where the male fertilizes the eggs. After 24-32 hours the larvae are sucked into the female's mouth, with the eggs shells being left behind. This is why this particular breeding strategy is known as 'delayed' mouthbrooding. The female will not eat during this period. After the fry are released they can be fed with liquid foods and roftiers. Later when they are larger can be fed with Artemia nauplii. The female’s parental care continues for several weeks, the fry being gathered quickly in her mouth at the first sign of danger. The fry are slow-growing and difficult to raise. Sexual maturity is reached at the age of 1 year when fish length is about 6 cm. At 5 cm in length males begin to develop their large nuchal humps that cover their entire forehead.
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