The attractive Black Belt Cichlid Paraneetroplus maculicauda (previously Vieja maculicauda and Cichlasoma maculicauda) is a popular choice for both beginner and experienced fishkeepers. As with most cichlids, the Black Belt Cichlid is an intelligent fish and can come to recognize and respond to a particular owner. In addition, the Black Belt presents a beautiful and unique red, black, and white color combination and a relatively docile temperament. These characteristics coupled with fairly easy maintenance and breeding requirments make this fish a wonderful choice for any devoted aquarist.
Though they are large at a maximum of 12" and can be aggressive and are not considered a community fish, the Black Belt Cichlid has a somewhat more docile manner than many of its relatives. It can be kept with others of its own species, a group of 6 if they are raised together in a very large tank. In a breeding pair the male is not aggressive towards its mate if there is plenty of room, though it can become very territorial and aggressive towards others when spawning. These cichlids can also be kept with other Central and South American cichlids of a similar temperament as long as there is plenty of room. Aquariums 120 gallons or more can work well with these groupings while a single fish will require a recommended minimum of 70+ gallons.