The Keyhole Cichlid is a favorite among cichlid enthusiasts. With a light green body and black fins, this specimen offers glimpses of contrast as it swims amongst the rocks or plants. In addition, these fish are generally hardy. Originally from South America, Keyhole Cichlids retain a more peaceful demeanor than many of their Cichlidae counterparts. Most seldom burrow into the substrate or damage plants and prefer to hide amongst the rocks or plant roots instead of fight if challenged by other aquarium inhabitants.
In the wild, Keyhole Cichlids inhabit small creeks in coastal zones, often with clear water, lower currents, and ripe with fallen and decaying trees and debris. In the home aquarium, house them in aquariums of 30 gallons or more. They prefer substrates of fine gravel or sand and require open swimming areas with easy access to hiding locations among rocks and plants.
It is difficult to distinguish between male and female Keyhole Cichlids. Males are generally larger than females and boast longer anal fins. Once paired, Keyhole Cichlids form nuclear families. Breeding often results in up to 300 eggs placed on carefully cleaned, flat rocks. Once spawned, both the male and female will protect and fan the eggs to stave off any predators and keep water circulating.
Keyhold Cichlids are omnivorous and will eat most prepared and frozen foods. For optimal health, they should be fed a varied diet of freeze-dried bloodworms, tubifex, crustaceans, shrimp, flakes, and Cichlid pellets.