The Sieve Cichlid (Chiapaheros grammodes), also known as the Mini Dovii Cichlid, is a Mexican species that is lesser known than many other neotropical cichlids. It is most known for its large head and ample red spotting across its head and entire body. It can be aggressive, but it is often compatible with other large, durable fish.
The Sieve Cichlid will thrive in an aquarium with a sandy substrate and plenty of refuge such as clay pots, driftwood, and rock formations. It typically will not eat ornamental plants, but it does a fair amount of digging, so floating plants and plants that attach to driftwood and rockwork are recommended. This species is rather aggressive, particularly when breeding. It can be kept with other large cichlids, plecos, catfish, and other large, durable species in a very large tank as long as there is plenty of cover with decor to create broken lines of sight. It will be more compatible with other species if there are no other Sieve Cichlids present to trigger breeding behavior. Territoriality is typically at its peak during spawning. If spawning is desired, tankmates of other species should be avoided altogether, and care must be taken to ensure that the male Sieve Cichlid does not bully or kill the female. It is best to grow a group of juveniles together and allow them to pair off naturally, then give each pair its own tank if one wishes to start a breeding program with this species. Dwarf shrimp and other invertebrates should not be kept with the Sieve Cichlid. Due to its size and waste production, regular water changes and maintenance are a must.
Feeding is simple for the unfussy Sieve Cichlid. High-quality dry, frozen, and live meaty foods will all be readily accepted. Some vegetable matter is also required. Quality and variety are the keys to a diet that will ensure that this fish maintains optimal health and coloration.