Name: Cleithracara maronii
Origin: Trinidad to French Guiana
I have had a pair of Key Holes in my 200 L densely planted tank for close to two months now. I love these little guys. I have not been able to sex them yet because they are still small (3.5 cm) but they follow each other around and are constantly with each other. The biggest fish in the tank is a full grown black veil angel and she leaves the two alone. I cannot wait until they get bigger and get their full color. What great little fish!
I have one key hole in my tank and it is my favourite fish! It is always waiting at the front of my tank for me to feed it. It is 6 cm long and showing the distinctive pointed fins of males.
I have two keyhole cichlid and they are great fish, one is 8-9 cm and the other 6-7 cm. At the start they were a bit territorial, now they follow each other around but they do fin nip my upside down catfish.
I originally started with 6 juvenile keyholes. Only 4 of them made it to adulthood (1 jumped out and the other disappeared, possibly jumped out too). They are very peaceful cichlids. They tend to be bullied by others, even by Bolivian Rams. However, in breeding mode, they do hold their own. Just don't expect a convict cichlid from it. They tend to get along with any cichlid that won't eat them or beat them up. If you can raise them to adulthood they tend to be pretty hardy fish. You can keep them in groups, and it's best to do so until you get a breeding pair. Either way, you can still keep them in groups as they do not mind it.
I have had a pair of these for about 8 months now, they are very timid! The males gain very long dorsal fin extensions, mine go past his caudal fin! In pristine condition these fish turn bold white/grey with thick black eye lines and keyhole markings with darker fins. Males gain blue edges to the fins as well. On personal judgement I think that males usually atain around the 10 cm mark or a little under. Mine are at about 7 cm now and the female a little smaller. I have had no success breeding them as they are in a general community, however they are said to be good parents and stay with their young till 6 months in some cases. I have also read that they have a late sexual maturity, sometimes up to 2 years, but I have no evidence to back this up.
These fish have a natural reflex to turn dark brown against the substrate or wood when stressed, they get a lot easier stressed than most other fish, I even have to be careful during water changes not to scare them. I have tried to combat this with schools of fish and densely planting, but so far to no success, I am hoping to add more hiding places for them to set up a permanant territory. Mine are in a 200 L community with peaceful fish. I would not recommend placing them with fast moving fish, as they get knocked around. Mine had a bad run in with some Congo tetras that they didn't appreciate to say the least. Not to say that all are as hardy as this, but mine survived a failed filter and the recycle of the new one because they refused to be caught, and this is when they were only a few months old.
I have been breeding these hardy cichlids for two years and with great effect. I have had five broods from four males and six females, all are still alive and 90% of fry have survived thanks to the caring parents. These mouthbearers have been great parents, and are really impressive, they have relished their varied diet and are in great shape. They don't feel threatened by anything as they do when first introduced. I would recommend these fish to anyone as they are fine, if not better off in a community tank.
I have five of these in a community tank with two Odessa Barbs, a school of neon tetras, a peppered cory and a large pleco. I started off with a male and female about three years ago, and they had about five broods of young that all seemed to get to the free swimming stage and then be eaten by the other fish. They managed to save three from the last brood and rear them to adulthood. They are such great protective parents and all still hang around as a family unit. Since then they have layed more eggs but they just seem to be eaten before they hatch. They are wonderful and I would recommend them to anyone, they are really peaceful and get on with all the fish in my tank.
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