Name: Cichlasoma festae
Origin: Central America
Amphilophus festae is easily one of the most aggressive cichlids in the hobby. With males growing 40 cm and females 33 cm in aquariums, they're also one of the biggest species. This fish is usually mixed up with the Mayan cichlid or fake red terror. True festae are hard to come by, but you will know you have the real deal when you see the bright red color and atitude that a Mayan does not have. You can also tell the two apart from the pattern on their bodies. A true A. festae will have a Y- or 4-shaped pattern right after the gill plate, while a Mayan will just have stripes. In conclusion, the festae is one of the biggest, baddest cichlids in the world and is also one of the best looking, bringing joy to all who keep it.
This is a huge fish that is not fussy about pH, but clean water is essential to keep it in good condition. I had a large female for about 3 years and she got on great with some large cichlids and oddball species, but she recently died through a disease I could not catch in time to treat. So I bought 2 young specimens (3 cm) which are already showing breeding behaviour in my aquarium. I would like to stress that these are large, agressive fish and when breeding can do huge damage to any fish or even the hand that feeds them, so think before buying.
Festae - aka "Red Terror" - reach sizes upwards of 50 cm (female) and 38 cm (male). An excellent fish, should be kept as male and female in larger tanks when they reach sizes 20+ cm. Definitely not for the inexperienced aquarist.
These fish are typical cichlids: they dig, fight and are territorial. I currently have a pair in a 480 liter tank. The male is 33 cm and looks just like the photo above. Females are a lot more aggressive and way more colorful. My female is about 20 cm, and she dominates the tank. These fish have the best parental care in cichlids, followed by the red devil/midas, jaguars, and convicts IMO. My female will jump out of the tank when I go to feed when they have fry in the tank, and all the other fish have to be removed. One of the most beautiful fish, this fish is recommended to all large cichlids lovers!
The male will grow to 40 cm and the female to 30 cm. I have a wild caught male at 30 cm. He lives in my 900 L with several other cichlids from South and Central-America. He rules the tank and is extremly aggressive. He has killed my wild caught pair of salvini and my 22 cm carpinte male when they were at the same size. He is the most beautiful cichlid I have. I had a wild caught female but she died. The only fishes who try to mess with him is my managuense pair when they breed. They are at the same size. I will recommend this beautiful cichlid to all large cichlid lovers, if they have enough space.
I have always wanted festaes, ever since I first got into fish keeping. A while back I was browsing a LFS and found a small tank of wild caught Ecuador festaes. Well, I jumped at the opporunity and purchased about 6, hoping to get a pair. When they where younger aggression wasn't a big thing, but as they grew they got meaner and meaner. After a few months, a strong pair formed from the alfa male and the alfa female. When they where purchased, the biggest male was quite a bit smaller than the biggest female. The pair didn't form until the male grew larger than her. After a pair is formed, spawning is easy. Raise the temp a bit, add a nice cave with a rock in it and do a huge water change, followed by smaller ones throughout the week. Spawning for younger festaes can be done in a 350 L but a 700 L would be best for adults. If you are breeding older festaes, a tank divider with a love door is highly recommended to protect the female from the male. Festaes are beautiful, powerful fish and truly a pleasure to keep.