Just a quick update on the Green Severum in the pic on the first page of Severum comments. He is now a BIG boy pushing 23+ cm. He has a mate, a smaller Gold Severum, which I am pretty sure is a female. He now lives in a 700 litre (180g) tank with various Geophagines, Oscars and Steatocranus. They all live very happily without any squabbling but he is master of the tank. In contrast with the Gold Severum (affectionately known as the late Nugget) on the intial comment page, this big male is a complete pussy cat. Nugget was the meanest fish I've ever kept (and my favourite fish I've ever kept - I like a female with attitude 8-). Cyril (sorry my 4 year old daughter names my fish!) is extremely placid and tame. He now allows me to stroke him, and hand feed him (itīs the only way to get past the Oscars!). So he has gone from about 10 cm at the time the initial picture was taken in 1999 to about 23 cm at this point in time (late 2000) and from what I can work out he is now about 3 years old. I have heard males can grow as large as 30 cm so he still has a bit of growing left in him.
I have owned my Severums for over a year (2 Gold, 2 Green). They live very well with my Yellow Parrot Fish. I have also been quite successful in raising many beautiful plants with these fish including Amazon Swords, Echinodorus Rubin, Cryptocoryne X-Willisi, other unknown Cryps, Vals, and Ferns. Note that these plants were all doing quite well before inserting the 12 cm fish into the tank. Plants that did not have a chance were my Sagittaria subulata and smaller Vals. I hope this might inspire some of you who like these fish so much to give them a more natural habitat.
In a 175 liter aquarium I have 2 gold severums which were about 2 cm 4 months ago, and are now 9 cm (female) and 10 cm (male). They share the tank with one unnamed scavenger 23 cm long who not infrequently chases the severums. There are 9 red eye tetras and a spiney nose pleco. At first I thought the tetras made the severums more calm and the male didn't badger the female as much as before I added the tetras, but now I'm not so sure. At these sizes they don't bother the tetras. They ate all my plants except ceratophyllum. I agree they are not too fussy about water chemistry: Temp. 27°C, pH 8.0, KH about 180 ppm and GH has changed dramatically from very hard to quite soft without any ill effects. I'll see how the tetras survive when the severums get larger. I was gone a few days and left a twice-a-day feeder in place, but it malfunctioned and fed nothing. Despite this they didn't eat the tetras.
Spawning Severums is a rewarding experience. They are loving parents, they try frantically to keep literally a thousand fry together and are somewhat vicious towards each other if something goes wrong. They are like husband and wife and love each other very much, but when the fry are turning into juveniles my male beats on my female, to the point that he takes chunks out to the bone so separation is necessary. Mine share their fry with me and will let me play around with them. They are the coolest fish and I hope to continue a good, natural, colourful line of green severums.
I have a female green severum that someone brought me over 14 years ago along with a bag full of other tropical fish, from a pet store in New Orleans that was going out of business. My female severum and a tinfoil are still living. Both have grown bigger than I would have ever imagined. My severum has just in the past month gone blind in her right eye, developed a hump just behind her gills and she has become less active. I guess old age has caught up with her. Even though it pains me to see her like this, she still eats, moves around and is still the boss of the tank. I'm watching her closely and will miss her dearly when she is gone. Just in case you're wondering, the tinfoil has a buddy and both are about 35 cm long. Even with my severum old and sick, they are scared to death of her and wait to eat and don't dare go near her side of the tank.
I have 2 gold severums in a 200 litre tank with 6 malawis and a pleco. I've had them for nearly four years and they are the best fish I've ever had! I find they have a lot of the character of other South American cichlids but without the aggression. These fish will get on well with anything they can't eat. They will chase off other fish at feeding time, but won't hurt them. Don't put them with aggressive South American cichlids, not even oscars, as they aren't tough enough and will take a beating!
These pages have enough comments to give the reader a basic idea on the topic. Further comments are still very welcome (through the site's contact form) as long as they provide new and/or advanced information not yet discussed in the existing ones.