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NICARAGUENSE CICHLID (Hypsophrys nicaraguensis) 4"

NICARAGUENSE CICHLID (Hypsophrys nicaraguensis) 4"

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The Nicaragua Cichlid Hypsophrys nicaraguensis (previously Cichlasoma nicaraguense) is really a spectacular looking fish. The males tend to be larger than the females, but it is the females that display the most dazzling colors. The coloring of these fish depends upon their place of origin in the wild, but arguably the most striking composition includes a brilliant gold body, a bright blue and emerald coloring on the head, purple accents under and around the pectoral fins, and blue along the edges of the dorsal and anal fins.

Interestingly, though the Nicaruagua Cichlid is known as one of the most dramatically colored fish as an adult, as a juvenile they present a rather drab, brown aesthetic. Due in part to this lack of interesting coloring for much of their lives these fish can often be hard to find and are not a common inhabitant of the aquarium hobby. But when the hobbyist is able to obtain them they offer an unsurpassed spectacle in the aquarium.

Other popular names for this fish include Spilotum, Nicaraguense, Moga, and Nickie. In addition, the brilliant array of its colors has prompted observers to liken it to other beauties of nature, inspiring the common names Butterfly Cichlid and Macaw Cichlid. Some sources also call it the Parrot Cichlid, but be careful when identifying this fish by this name as the name 'Parrot Cichlid' is also much better known as belonging to another cichlid, Hoplarchus psittacus.

This is a great fish for both beginning fish keepers and advance aquarists alike. Like all cichlids it is territorial and has the capacity to be aggressive. However, it tends to only be a moderately aggressive fish and is more peaceful and reserved than many similarly sized Central American cichlids. It can be kept with other smaller cichlids, but avoid the more aggressive types like the Texas Cichlid or the Red Devil.

Nicaragua Cichlids love to have places to hide and territories to defend, so be sure to decorate their tank with plenty of rock caves, flowerpots, and other such structures, and provide them with a sandy substrate to dig in. Since they are large fish and enjoy digging in the substrate, make sure all tank decorations are firmly grounded on the glass bottom of the tank to prevent toppling. They are fairly safe with live plants, but might have a tendency to nibble and bite at them, especially during spawning, so keep an eye on any live plants in their tank.

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