OverviewOften hailed as one of the most fascinating species in the aquatic world, the Keyhole Cichlid is a fantastic choice for novice and experienced aquarium enthusiasts alike. These charming creatures are celebrated for their peaceful demeanor, distinctive appearance and their engaging behaviors. The Keyhole Cichlid, scientifically known as Cleithracara maronii, is often the showpiece of any marine collection due to its unique keyhole-shaped black spot on its body.
Originally found in the warm, slow-moving waters of South America, the Keyhole Cichlid has adapted to thrive in a variety of habitats. This is a species that values seclusion and comfort, often seeking refuge in densely planted areas, around rocks and within crevices. They are bottom to middle-level dwellers, so providing them with ample hiding spaces at these levels will help recreate their natural environment.
The Keyhole Cichlid is an omnivore, and in the wild, its diet primarily consists of small invertebrates, algae and plant matter. In the confinements of a tank, it’s recommended to provide them with a varied diet to ensure they get all the necessary nutrients. This can include high-quality flake food, freeze-dried food, and occasional treats of live or frozen brine shrimp and bloodworms.
In terms of behavior, Keyhole Cichlids are generally peaceful, making them an ideal choice for community tanks. However, they can exhibit shy or timid behavior, especially when first introduced to a new environment. With time, their inquisitive and charming nature will shine through, providing endless fascination and delight for their owners.
When setting up a tank for your Keyhole Cichlid, aim to recreate their natural habitat as closely as possible. This will involve using sandy substrate, adding plenty of plants and rocks for hiding places, and maintaining a warm water temperature between 72-77°F. A minimum tank size of 20 gallons is recommended for one Keyhole Cichlid, with an additional 10 gallons for each additional fish.
When it comes to compatibility, Keyhole Cichlids are fantastic tank mates. Their peaceful and non-aggressive nature makes them suitable for sharing a tank with a variety of other species. However, it’s generally recommended to avoid housing them with very aggressive or considerably larger fish which might bully or intimidate them.
Keyhole Cichlids are relatively easy to breed and are known to form monogamous pairs. It’s fascinating to observe their breeding process, as both parents participate in egg care and guarding the fry. Providing them with flat rocks or broad leaf plants can encourage spawning.
Keyhole Cichlids are generally hardy and resistant to most common fish diseases. However, maintaining proper tank conditions, such as clean water, appropriate temperature, and a balanced diet is crucial for their overall health and wellbeing.