Red ram

Roter Buntbarsch
Nicolas COUTHOUIS, Hemichromis lifalili (aquarium)3, CC BY-SA 2.5

The red cichlid (Hemichromis bimaculatus) is a West African freshwater fish.

In its native regions it is found in savannahs, estuaries and even in brackish waters. This fish does not like strongly flowing and free water.

Occasionally it is also called Red Cichlidae. It can be a rather uncomplicated inhabitant for the aquarium, but the genus should be clearly defined.

What distinguishes the red cichlid?

The red cichlid is considered to be an easy to cultivate fish. It tolerates large differences in water quality and eats almost everything that is offered to it. In addition, the African perch is beautiful to look at and shows lively behaviour. Species that look very similar can sometimes be very aggressive and difficult to keep. The red cichlid should therefore only be bought in trustworthy specialist shops.


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The appearance of the red cichlid

As the name suggests, the basic coloration is a bright red. On the whole body and the pronounced fins there are beautiful blue shining points distributed. Towards the fins the fish usually get a little darker, which makes the spots shine extra intensive. Some specimens show greenish basic tones in addition to the red. The total length of the red cichlid is between 8 and 15 cmdepending on the keeping conditions.

Housing conditions for the red cichlid

Normally the red cichlid is kept in pairs and is easy to socialize. Some advisors describe the fish as peaceful, others say it is unusually aggressive. This is due to not very clear classifications and confusion. Aquaristic experts assume that most of the commercially available red cichlids actually belong to the peaceful genus Hemichromis guttatus. Another very similar and also compatible fish is the Hemichromis lifalili.

As the animals hardly differ externally, interested parties should observe the behaviour of the fish at the breeder. If they are housed in groups and the animals do not show any injuries, this is most likely the peaceable variant. If the tank is big enough, it can also be kept wonderfully with characins and barbs.

  • Keeping in pairs
  • can be aggressive under certain circumstances
  • peaceful specimens also in the community pool

Gender differences

The males of the red cichlids become considerably larger than the females. In addition, the dorsal fin of the male fish is longer, which gives them a more elongated appearance overall. Although the females are also always beautifully coloured, the males always shine a little more intensely. The males are also easily recognised by a small forehead hump.

Water values for the red cichlid

The home regions of the red cichlid are tropical regions and the fish loves its water just as much as it loves its warmth. As brackish water is also used as habitat, the true Hemichromis bimaculatus easily tolerates fluctuations in water quality and is therefore a quite easy to cultivate aquarium fish. The fish hardly reproduces in the somewhat cooler water. However, if you want offspring, you have to raise the temperature to 25° C to 27° C.

  • Water type: Freshwater
  • Temperature: 21° C – 23° C
  • PH value: 6.5 – 7.5
  • Total hardness: 4-16 °dGH

Feed and nutrition for the red cichlid

As a rule, this fish eats everything that is offered to it. Since it is actually a carnivore, the food should consist mainly of live food such as Tubifex or mosquito larvae.

The ideal aquarium for the red cichlid

Depending on the size of the fish, the aquarium should hold at least 200 litres. The ideal length of 120 to 140 cm offers sufficient space for the fish that love to swim and the observer can enjoy their natural behaviour. Gravel is suitable as a floor covering. A light planting of large-leaved plants such as the vallisnerias and sufficient hiding places through tunnels or stone tubes round off the perfect aquarium for the red cichlid.

  • at least 200 litres
  • ideal length 120 to 140 cm

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