Lionhead Cichlid (Steatocranus Casuarius)
The Lionhead Cichlid, also known as the Buffalo Head Cichlid or Humphead Cichlid, is a fascinating fish with unique characteristics. These cichlids possess a distinctive appearance, featuring a prominent hump on their forehead, hence the name "Lionhead." Lionhead Cichlids display a range of earthy tones, including shades of brown, gray, and sometimes even green. They often have dark vertical bars on their body, enhancing their natural camouflage. They have a stocky body shape and can grow to an adult size of around 4 to 5 inches.
As for their personality, Lionhead Cichlids are known to be relatively peaceful and can coexist with other non-aggressive fish species. To avoid territorial disputes, keep only one pair unless the aquarium is large and has broken lines of site.
In terms of tank mates, Lionhead Cichlids prefer to swim in the lower and middle levels of the aquarium, exploring the rocky areas and caves. When it comes to tank mates, it is advisable to select species that share a similar temperament and can tolerate their peaceful nature. Suitable tank mates for Lionhead Cichlids include smaller tetras like Ember Tetras or Rummy Nose Tetras, peaceful bottom-dwellers like Corydoras Catfish, and other non-aggressive cichlids like Apistogramma species. Not ideal tank mates include highly aggressive or territorial fish species that may intimidate or harm the Lionhead Cichlids. They should not be kept with other cichlids unless the tank is very large.
In terms of diet, Lionhead Cichlids are omnivores and will readily accept a varied diet. Their diet should consist of high-quality cichlid pellets or flakes supplemented with live or frozen foods like brine shrimp, bloodworms, and krill. Including some vegetable matter in their diet, such as spirulina flakes or blanched vegetables, is also beneficial for their overall health.
To create a suitable habitat for Lionhead Cichlids, using a sand substrate that allows for their natural digging behavior is recommended. These fish are known to create intricate networks of caves and tunnels beneath the tank decor. To provide hiding places and shelter, arrange piles of rocks to form caves, ensuring they are securely positioned on the aquarium base or glued together using silicone to prevent accidents. Additionally, adding driftwood pieces can enhance the natural aesthetic. While plants can be incorporated, it is essential to choose robust species like Anubias that can be rooted on rocks or wood, ensuring they remain undisturbed by the cichlids' digging activity. Upturned flowerpots or lengths of terracotta piping can serve as alternative shelters and potential spawning sites for the fish, offering them additional options for refuge and breeding activities.
Lionhead Cichlids prefer subdued lighting conditions, so it is advisable to use low-intensity aquarium lights or provide some areas of shade using floating plants or decorations.
Maintaining well-oxygenated water with areas of strong flow mimics the natural habitat of Lionhead Cichlids. Consider using a small powerhead to achieve this, providing areas of brisk water movement. However, providing a quieter area in the aquarium where the current is gentle is equally important.
In terms of water parameters and tank size, Lionhead Cichlids thrive in freshwater conditions. The minimum recommended aquarium size for a pair of Lionhead Cichlids is around 50 gallons, with 75 gallons or a tank being preferable for accommodating a small group. The water should have a pH ranging from 6.5-7.5, hardness between 5-12 dGH, and a temperature range of 75-80°F (24-27°C).
To learn more about this fish, be sure to check out the Additional Information tab.