Coatzacoalcos Cichlids

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The name “Coatzacoalcos” refers to the range of species in the Coatzacoalcos River system in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in Mexico. The fish has not been officially described. It is often confused with P. zonatus, another very beautiful blue fish, and mistakenly sold as “red-tail zonatus” due to the coloration in the caudal fin. In fact, many who think they have zonatus are likely to have one of the local variations of P. sp. “Coatzacoalcos.”. Due to the large adult size of this fish (girth as well as length!), an aquarium measuring 6’ x 2’ x 2’ is recommended. A group of youngsters can be grown on in a 4ft tank, but in most cases, they will eventually require separating into compatible pairs and rehoming into larger quarters. Excellent powerful filtration should be provided at all times and partial water changes carried out 2 or 3 times per week. The tank itself should have a substrate of sand or small rounded gravel. Bogwood and rocks/slate can be used to create sheltered areas, but these should be made secure as these cichlids are more than capable of moving décor around. Bonding pieces of rock together with aquarium grade silicon sealant prior to filing the tank is sensible. Plants are usually eaten or uprooted, but some aquarists have had success with well-rooted, established hardy motherplants which have had sturdy rocks placed around the stems to prevent uprooting. If this fails and plants are still desired, plastic or silk varieties will be the way to go. Although this species will adapt to a wide range of water conditions, they will be seen at their best in soft, slightly acidic water. Not to be kept with small fish. Other central American cichlids of a similar size and temperament make great tankmates. However, if breeding does occur, expect aggression towards the other fish.

This species requires a balanced diet in order to retain good colours. Slow sinking pellets & wafers, frozen foods such as mosquito larvae, brine shrimp, Mysis shrimp and krill will all be taken with much enthusiasm. Be sure to provide a vegetable component to the diet, such as spinach.

  • Species – Vieja Coatzacolcos
  • Common Name – Coatza
  • Origin – Belize, Guatemala, and Mexico
  • Diet – Omnivores
  • PH Range – 6 – 8
  • Temperature – Tropical 21°c – 28°c
  • Breed Type – Egg Layer
  • Max Size – approximately 30cm (
  • Sex – Un-sexed