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Old 24-06-2006, 02:30 PM   #1
Kaz
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Default Crenicichla (Pike Cichlids)

Introduction To Pike Cichlids

Pike Cichlids are a group of South American fishes of the genus Crenicichla. This genus is divided into 8 different species groups:

1) Saxatilis (41 species)
2) Lugubris (16 species)
3) Acutirostris (9 species)
4) Reticulata (13 species)
5) Scotti (3 species)
6) Lacustris (13 species)
7) Wallaci (11 species)
8) Missioneira (7 species)

Distribution/Habitat: Pikes inhabit the freshwater lakes, streams, rivers and pools of most of the Amazonian rivers, but there are many species found in Colombian, Venezuelan and Guyanan waters to the north of the Amazon. To the south, there are representatives of Crenicichla all the way down to coastal regions of central Argentina. Basically, they are found east of the Andes, from the island of Trinidad in the north to the area around the Argentinian Rio Negro region just north of Patagonia.

Maximum Sizes: Pikes come in a myriad of sizes. There are many dwarves that don't grow longer than 3-5 inches. Then, there are many medium-sized Pikes that reach a maximum size between 6 and 12 inches (Saxatilis, Scotti, Lacustris, Acutirostris, etc.). And finally, there are lunkers, growing to 18-24 inches (Lugubris).

Temperament: In general, all Pikes are aggressive to a certain extent. Exercise caution when it comes to choosing tankmates. Most aggression is reserved for members of the same species; choosing tankmates of the same size can minimize this kind (conspecific) of aggression. Housing them with species of different shape and color can reduce aggression with other species. When all else fails, it's time for PVC. Addition of PVC tube sections wide enough to comfortably fit the Pikes into, seems to reduce aggression tremendously. Species that can't stand the sight of each other often will coexist in a tank furnished with numerous PVC tubes. Of course, these tubes are not exactly natural or attractive but they are sometimes the only way out. If you can find similar hollow pieces of driftwood, you can have aesthetics and practicality.

Minimum Tank Sizes: Tank size for Pikes is largely dependent on the maximum size of the particular fish. Dwarf species like C. compressiceps, C. notophthalmus, C. regani and C. urosema can be kept quite comfortably in 2ft tanks. Slightly bigger but relatively peaceful species like C. cf. menesezi, C. geayi and C. britskii can be maintained in 3ft tanks. Most Saxatilis pikes can also be kept alone in a 3ft tank (for males) and/or a 2ft tank (for females). Most of the rest require tanks in the 4ft-6ft range.

Temperature: 22-27 degrees Celsius

Water Conditions: Water quality is usually not critical for the medium-sized, spangled Pikes of the Saxatilis group; they are hardy and can happily live and breed in most dechlorinated tap water. The same goes for the Froghead Pikes formerly known as Batrachops. The large, small-scaled Pikes of the Lugubris group and the dwarf species need better water quality, since they are usually found in low-pollution, low-bacteria black waters of the Amazon. Regular large, partial water changes and efficient biological filtration should take care of these fish. Poor water quality management leads to "hole-in-the-head" disease in some large Pikes. The dwarves simply die if you don't keep the ammonia/nitrite levels in the water low. None of them require soft, acidic water for day-to-day living, but the blackwater species usually need water with pH and hardness resembling their native habitats - pH of 5 to 6 and extremely soft to successfully breed.

Diet: Feeding pikes is relatively easy. Tank-raised Pikes happily accept prepared foods but fish imported from the wild are often difficult to feed - they demand live or frozen meaty foods. Juveniles imported from the wild can be converted onto dry foods much faster than adults. Keep in mind that these are predatory fish and feed them a varied diet. Feeding a diet lacking in certain unknown minerals has also been pointed at as being the cause of hole-in-the-head disease.

Breeding: Pikes are cave-spawners, laying their adhesive eggs somewhere where it would be difficult for you to see. The female is responsible for the care of eggs and the male guards the immediate territory against intruders. The eggs hatch in about 3-4 days and the fry are free-swimming in another 3-4 days, depending on the temperature. The fry are fairly large and can be fed brine shrimp nauplii as their first food. Fry growth is very fast and if not segregated by size, cannibalism can lead to a highly biased sex ratio.

Last edited by Kaz; 24-06-2006 at 02:41 PM.
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Old 24-06-2006, 03:14 PM   #2
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I will be doing a profile on each representative of each group of the genus.

---------------------
Species Profile: Crenicichla saxatilis (Spangled Pike Cichlid)

Scientific Name: Crenicichla saxatilis
Common Name: Spangled Pike Cichlid
Distribution: Coastal river drainages of the Guyanas (Guyana, Surinam, French Guyana) and the coastal rivers between the Amazon delta and French Guyana in Brazil.
Habitat: Shaded, heavily weeded banks of forest streams, rivers and pools.
Maximum Size: 12" for males, 9" for females.
Minimum Tank Size: A 2ft tank is adequate for housing a single female, while a single male will need a 3ft tank. A breeding pair (no tankmates) can be kept satisfactorily in a 4ft tank.
Tank Set-up: Typical Amazonian riverine set-up, with bogwood, inert rocks, plants and maybe leaf litter (not essential, but helps to recreate the water conditions in their natural habitat) as decor.
Temperature: 24-28 C
pH: 6.0 - 8.0
Hardness: Soft water preferred, but not critical.
Diet: Anything meaty except fatty mammalian meat. Juveniles can easily be trained to take dried foods such as pellets. Provide variety.
Temperament: They annot stand the sight of each other. Belligerent towards other species of cichlid too. Provide a lot of retreats to reduce aggression.
Sexing: Females have less spangling, a white line on the dorsal fin, and a red belly when ready to breed. They are also smaller than males. Males often have herringbone-like muscle striations on the side of the body (also applies to all other pikes of the Saxatilis group).
Breeding: Pikes can spawn at only 4-5 inches long. Once a pair is formed, they will lay about 300-400 eggs in a cave or in nooks of driftwood after eliminating all tankmates. The slightly elongated eggs are attached to the substrate by a thin filament. The fry are free-swimming in about a week, and are capable of consuming freshly hatched brine shrimp. Fry growth is very rapid and cannibalism will occur if not separated by size.
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Old 24-06-2006, 04:50 PM   #3
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Species Profile: Crenicichla scotti

Scientific Name: Crenicichla scotti
Common Name: None
Distribution: Brazilian Uruguai drainage, lower Uruguai drainage in Uruguay and around Buenos Aires in Argentina. Also noted in the Rio Negro in northern Patagonia (Argentina).
Habitat: Same as for C. saxatilis.
Maximum Size: 10-12 inches
Minimum Tank Size: 3ft tank for single fish; 4ft tank for a pair.
Tank Set-up: Same as for C. saxatilis.
Temperature: 23-28 C
pH: 6.0 - 7.5
Hardness: Slightly soft water is best. Does not do well in hard, alkaline water.
Diet: Same as for C. saxatilis, but accepts pellets more readily.
Temperament: Intolerant of conspecifics and other pike cichlid species. Can be aggressive to other species of cichlids as well.
Sexing: Difficult.
Breeding: After a pair is formed, they will eradicate all tankmates and the female will lay their adhesive eggs in a secluded location. The female is responsible for the care of eggs and the male guards the immediate area against trespassers. The eggs hatch in about 3-4 days and the fry are free-swimming in another 3-4 days, depending on the temperature. The fry are fairly large and can be fed newly hatched brine shrimp immediately. Fry growth is very fast and if not segregated by size, cannibalism can lead to a highly biased sex ratio.

Last edited by amiidae; 25-06-2006 at 09:09 PM. Reason: pic used without permission - removed
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Old 24-06-2006, 05:42 PM   #4
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Species Profile: Crenicichla lugubris

Scientific Name: Crenicichla lugubris
Common Name: None
Distribution: In the Corantijn system, at the border between Surinam and British Guyana, in the Essequibo river, in the Rio Branco and in the lower Rio Negro.
Habitat: Blackwater rivers and streams.
Maximum Size: Up to 16" for males, and up to 12" for females.
Minimum Tank Size: A single specimen requires a 3ft tank. A 4ft tank is sufficient for a pair.
Tank Set-up: Same as for C. saxatilis, but more attention must be paid to pH and hardness, as this species (and all Lugubris pikes) is more particular about water chemistry.
Temperature: 24-27 C
pH: 6.0 - 7.0
Hardness: Soft water is a must.
Diet: Same as for C. saxatilis.
Temperament: Gregarious when young, but as they get older, they become more and more aggressive. By the time they reach the sub-adult stage, they, like other pike species, become very intolerant of each other. Only moderately aggressive to other species of cichlids, however.
Sexing: Females have a white band in the dorsal fin, and develop red bellies when ready to breed.
Breeding: Same as for C. scotti.

Last edited by amiidae; 25-06-2006 at 09:10 PM. Reason: pic used without permission - removed
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Old 24-06-2006, 06:10 PM   #5
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Species Profile: Crenicichla acutirostris

Scientific Name: Crenicichla acutirostris
Common Name: None
Distribution: This fish is restricted to a few southern tributaries of the Amazon - Rio Tapajos, Rio Maues and Rio Aripuana.
Habitat: Same as for C. scotti.
Maximum Size: 12-13 inches
Minimum Tank Size: Same as for C. lugubris.
Tank Set-up: Same as for C. saxatilis, but more attention must be paid to pH and hardness, as this species is more particular about water chemistry.
Temperature: 24-27 C
pH: 6.0 - 7.0
Hardness: Soft water is a must.
Diet: Same as for C. saxatilis.
Temperament: Same as for C. lugubris.
Sexing: Females have a white band in the dorsal fin, and develop red bellies when ready to breed.
Breeding: Same as for C. scotti.

Last edited by Kaz; 24-06-2006 at 06:22 PM.
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Old 24-06-2006, 06:43 PM   #6
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Species Profile: Crenicichla compressiceps

Scientific Name: Crenicichla compressiceps
Common Name: Dwarf Pike Cichlid
Distribution: In lower Rio Tocantins.
Habitat: Fast-flowing rapids.
Maximum Size: 3-4 inches
Minimum Tank Size: A pair can be kept satisfactorily in a 2ft tank (without tankmates).
Tank Set-up: Typical rocky rapids set-up, with a gravel substrate and smooth, rounded rocks. There should be some water currents as this species lives in fast-flowing waters. The water should also be well-oxygenated.
Temperature: 22-26 C
pH: Water with a neutral pH is preferred, but anywhere between 6.5 and 7.5 is tolerated.
Hardness: Medium hard water is preferred.
Diet: This species is a specialized invertebrate feeder in the wild. In aquaria, they can quite easily be trained to take prepared foods.
Temperament: Quite intolerant of conspecifics, but not aggressive towards other fishes.
Sexing: Females lack barring in the anal fin and develop red bellies when ready to breed.
Breeding: Same as for C. scotti, but rare in aquaria.
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Old 24-06-2006, 08:59 PM   #7
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Species Profile: Crenicichla reticulata

Scientific Name: Crenicichla reticulata
Common Name: None
Distribution: Rio Uatuma, Rio Amazonas, Rio Solimoes, Rio Madeira, Rio Purus, Rio Negro and Rio Trombetas in Brazil and also noted in the Essequibo system in Guyana.
Habitat: Along clayey mud banks in white water rivers.
Maximum Size: 8-10 inches
Minimum Tank Size: A single fish can be kept in a 3ft tank. A 4ft tank is sufficient for a pair.
Tank Set-up: Tropical Amazonian blaclwater river set-up, with a soft substrate, bogwood and plants. Water should be well-aerated.
Temperature: 23-27 C
pH: A pH of 6.5 is ideal, but anywhere between 6.0 and 8.0 is tolerated.
Hardness: Soft water is preferred.
Diet: Same as for C. saxatilis.
Temperament: Very aggressive towards conspecifics.
Sexing: The females sport wide red submarginal bands and a red band below the longitudinal line. Males have small dark spots on the posterior soft dorsal.
Breeding: Same as for C. scotti.
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Old 24-06-2006, 11:27 PM   #8
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Species Profile: Crenicichla vittata

Scientific Name: Crenicichla vittata
Common Name: None
Distribution: Rio Paraguay, Rio Uruguay and Rio Parana.
Habitat: In lakes and ponds connected to rivers.
Maximum Size: 10-14 inches
Minimum Tank Size: A single fish can be kept in a 3ft tank; a pair can be kept satisfactorily in a 4ft tank.
Tank Set-up: Typical lacustrine (lake) set-up, with rocks and plants as decor. Wood is not recommended as it will leach tannins into the water and acidify it.
Temperature: Tolerates a range of 20-26 C
pH: 6.5 - 8.5 (C. vittata has been found in waters with a pH of 8.2, so it is best that this is imitated in aquaria.)
Hardness: Tolerates anything from soft to medium hard water. However, it must be noted that this species, being a lake-dwelling fish, prefers harder water.
Diet: Same as for C. saxatilis.
Temperament: This species is relatively friendly in aquaria towards other residents, but is still quite conspecific-intolerant, however.
Sexing: There appears to be minimal differences between the sexes in this species.
Breeding: Same as for C. scotti.
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Old 25-06-2006, 01:24 AM   #9
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Species Profile: Crenicichla missioneira

Scientific Name: Crenicichla missioneira
Common Name: None
Distribution: Rio Uruguay drainage; in tributaries of the upper and middle Rio Uruguay basin.
Habitat: Same as for C. lugubris.
Maximum Size: 7-9 inches
Minimum Tank Size: A single fish can be kept in a 2ft tank, and a pair will need a 3ft tank at least (no tankmates).
Tank Set-up:
Temperature: 24-27 C
pH: 6.5 - 7.5
Hardness: Soft water is preferred.
Diet: Same as for C. saxatilis.
Temperament: Like other pikes, this species is intolerant of conspecifics. Only moderately aggressive towards other fish.
Sexing: Females are smaller, and have a large amber-coloured patch which stretches from the operculum all the way to almost the caudal peduncle. Males lack this patch, and are a uniform silvery-grey.
Breeding: Same as for C. scotti.

Last edited by amiidae; 25-06-2006 at 09:10 PM. Reason: pic used without permission - removed
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Old 25-06-2006, 01:38 AM   #10
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Alright, bros, I've finally completed all 8 profiles on the representatives of the 8 species groups of the genus Crenicichla (Saxatilis, Lugubris, Wallaci, Acutirostris, Lacustris, Missioneira, Reticulata and Scotti)! Thanks so much for refraining from posting while I was still doing the profiles. I also apologize for using that C. lugubris pic which apparently belongs to P. Burnel. However, I'm sure he will not blame me for using his pic to spread knowledge of pikes around!

Bros, please feel free to post any comments and constructive criticism! Thanks!

Last edited by Kaz; 25-06-2006 at 01:43 AM.
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