Name: Cichlasoma trimaculatum
Origin: Central America
This is another heavy-duty, carnivorous cichlid hailing from the Pacific slope of Mexico. Considered one of the more aggressive cichlasoma species, trimaculatas have the tendency to tyrannize their tankmates. Males can reach over 35 cm if kept in maintained conditions. Personally, one of my favorites!
I picked my trimac up as an 8 cm long 'contaminant' in a bunch of other wild-caught Central American cichlids in about 1990. Nobody knew what he was and it wasn't until he got older that I was able to identify him. He was a beautiful fish, extremely responsive. Yes, he would draw blood now and then but I still hand-fed him big moths, his favourite food. He was *very* carnivorous, his diet mainly being earthworms with moths a real treat.
He was very territorial. His territory extended even outside the confines of his tank! Nobody could sit in the chair next to his tank, he would splash around and continually ram the sides of the tank until whoever was invading his territory moved. He also really disliked anyone who wore a hat and would go crazy as soon as they walked in the room. I never tried keeping him with other fish, it just didn't seem like it would be worth the grief.
However, he was intelligent as well. He quickly learned that, if I approached his tank with a bucket/chilly bin and the big net it was no good trying to escape, I WAS going to catch him. It got so that, as I removed the lids completely from his tank, he'd just lie on his side. I could then just lift him out with a wet towel. Any other time I put my hands in his tank I was fair game!
I entered him in the Auckland Aquaria Expo in '93, the first time I'd ever entered a fish show. He won best cichlid AND best fish in show with the highest score ever awarded to a fish in the history of the show, 98/100! The trailing filaments on his dorsal and anal fins extended back past his caudal fin. He was a spectacular fish to look at, very similar to the one in the pic above.
When he was half-grown I tried putting plastic plants (tank safe, reputable brand) in his tank and he got sick and nearly died. It took me a while to realise why and even longer for him to recover. Sadly I inadvertently killed him when I filled up his new 1200 liter tank through a fairly new garden hose. At first I thought he was just suffering from 'transplant shock' as some cichlids do when moved into a new home. However, even though I moved him back to his old tank (filled by bucket) he still never recovered and died about a month later. By then I guess he was 35 cm and five years old. Moral of the story: it seems that trimac's are *extremely* sensitive to plastics and dissolved plasticisers. Please be careful about this if you are fortunate enough to have one. He was an intelligent, friendly, if aggressive fish. He would watch TV with me. As soon as I turned it off (with the remote) he'd spin around in his tank to look at me instead. An awesome fish, I miss him heaps.
My male Trimaculatus (30 cm) is extremely owner-responsive, and has been hand-fed since it was a juvenile. A rough and ready cichlid, solidly built (broad and heavy!) and brightly colored, with a reddish/purple throat and orange/red eyes. As with many of the large C. A. cichlids, the smaller the tank the more aggressively it behaves: mine's presently in a 340 liter by itself (the minimum tank for this cichlid), as it will not coexist with any other fish. Requires excellent water quality to remain in prime condition.
I bought my three spot about six months ago and he is my favorite fish yet. He has a great pesonality, intelligence, and a real playful attitude. Although I can't think of a fish you could keep with him, I do recommend this fish as a solo for an aquarium.
I have a Trimac in my tank now with a Green Terror, Jack Dempsey, Convict(male), Red Devil and a Cuban Cichlid (tetracanthus). He is always fighting with the Jack and Convict, and bullies everyone except my Green Terror. My Terror runs the tank. Mine doesn't seem to be too aggressive, he just gets nippy during feeding time.
I have one Trimac in a 340 liter tank along with a "monster" Red Devil (40 cm male with huge hump on his head), a lepidota pike cichlid (20 cm) and a gang of Convicts. I believe the Trimac is a female because "she" gets along fine with the Devil - they constantly flirt without damage to either fish, and they have been cohabitating for 2 years now! She'll chase the Convicts once in a while, but all in all she's peaceful, believe it or not! If you can find one, buy it - a true beauty!