Salvini Cichlid

Salvini Cichlid

Salvini cichlid information:

Scientific name: Cichlasoma salvini  / Nandopsis salvini
Common name: Salvini cichlid, Salvin's Cichlid, Yellow-Belly Cichlid, Tricolor Cichlid                
Max. size: 22 cm / 9 inches (usually less)
pH range: 7.0 – 8.0
dH range: 5-20
Temperature range: 22 - 27°C / 72 - 81°F

The Salvini cichlid is a very beautiful mid sized cichlids that are suitable for community cichlid aquariums with other semi aggressive cichlids. Their aggression differs greatly between different specimens but it is not unusual that the fish can be kept in community aquariums as long as small fishes are avoided.  The species is suitable for anyone that have kept aquariums for a little while and learned the basics as well as complete beginners who want to setup a cichlid aquarium. They are hardy and easy to care for.

The Salvini cichlid s common in the pet trade and can be found under a long row different names such as Salvin's Cichlid, Yellow-Belly Cichlid and Tricolor Cichlid.    

Salvini cichlid habitat and range:                                      

The Salvini cichlid is naturally fond in on the Atlantic side of Central America where it can be found from southern mexico down through Guatemala and Belize. There might also exist populations further south in Honduras.

There are today also semi established populations of Salvini cichlid in Florida and Texas.

Salvini cichlids are mainly found in fast and moderate moving water and are only more seldom found in more slow moving water such as lakes and dams.

Salvini cichlid common names:

The Salvini cichlid is as earlier mentioned know under a number of different names of which Salvini cichlids is the most commonly used. Other names such as Salvin's Cichlid, Yellow-Belly Cichlid, Tricolor Cichlids are however commonly used as well. They are also sometimes referred to simply as Salvini. The name yellow belly cichlid is a bit misrepresenting since the belly is more red than yellow, especially on the females.  In the area where they are naturally occurring they are usually referred to as guapote tricolor.

Salvini cichlid description:

The Salvini cichlid is a very beautiful cichlid that has an oval body with an in comparison with other cichlids rather sharp front end. The body has a bright yellow base colour. Two black lines run across the body front to back on the upper half of the body.  The lower half of the body usually shows different amounts of blue and red.  The fins are yellow, red and blue.

Salvini cichlid setup:

salvini cichlid
Salvini cichlid picture. Copyright

Salvini cichlids seldom grow to their maximum size and only seldom grow beyond 15 cm / 6 inches. This means that they can be kept in smaller aquariums than many other of the Central American cichlid species that are found in the aquarium trade such as the jaguar cichlid and the wolf cichlid. I would recommend an aquarium of at least 40 gallon / 150 L for a pair of Salvini cichlids. A single pair without any other fish present could be kept in a 30 gallon / 100 L aquarium but a larger tank would be preferable.

Decorated the aquarium using hardy plants, rocks and roots. The Salvini cichlid sometimes likes to dig so it is recommendable to place rocks around the base of the plant to prevent the cichlids from uprooting them. It is also recommended to secure all rock formations and placing rocks directly on the bottom of the tank to help prevent digging related accidents. Divide the bottom of the tank into sections by placing rocks and roots on the bottom of the tank. This makes it easier for the fish to create borders for their territories and allows for more territories and less aggression in the aquarium tank.

They prefer a pH of 7 and a temperature of 22 - 27°C / 72 - 81°F. They are however very hardy fish and can adapt to many different setups. You should however despite their resilience try to give them as optimal environment as possible.

Salvini cichlid tank mates:

Salvini cichlids are not suitable for community aquariums even though they sometimes work well in community setups. Keeping them in a community setup is a gamble since they are strong enough to easily kill other fish and it is not unusual that they do. They are however suitable to keep with other Central and South American cichlids of similar size.  They can also be kept with other fish that are large and/or strong enough to stand their ground against the Salvini cichlid.

Salvini cichlid care:

The Salvini cichlid is easy to care for. They do as most other mid sized and large cichlids produce a lot of waste so regular and large water changes are a necessity. Change at least 25 % of the water 1 or 2 times a week. Exactly how much and how often you need to change water depends on the size of the fish and the size of the aquarium. Monitor nitrate/nitrite and ammonia levels to find out how often you need to change water.
The Salvini cichlid does not need any other special care besides the regular care all fish require.

Salvini cichlid feeding:

Salvini cichlids are easy to feed and will accept most any food you provided them with including pellets and other dry food. They should be given a varied diet consisting of pellets as well as frozen food.  I recommend you feed your Salvini cichlid a varied diet consisting of pellets, shrimps, and different frozen foods.

Salvini cichlid breeding:

The Salvini cichlid is rather easy to breed in aquariums and can be breed in community aquariums as well as separate setups. They are good parents but I still recommend that you remove some fry to separate aquarium if they breed in a community setup. 

They are rather easy to sex. The male has longer more pointy fins and the female has a patch in the centre of her dorsal fin and a spot on the lower part of her gill cover. Females also usually have more red on their bellies but that is not a sure way of sexing them.

The eggs are deposited on a flat surface and guarded by both parents. They usually hatch in about 5 days and are free swimming a few days later. Salvini cichlid fry can be feed newly hatched brine shrimp as soon as they are free swimming.

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