Vieja Melanarus Red Head Cichlid

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Redhead cichlid - Vieja synspila

Scientific name: Vieja synspila

Common name: Melanarus Redhead cichlid

Family: Cichlidae

Usual size in fish tanks: 30 - 37 cm (11.81 - 14.57 inch)


Recommended pH range for the species: 7 - 8.1

Recommended water hardness (dGH): 8 - 21°N (142.86 - 375ppm)

0°C 32°F30°C 86°F

Recommended temperature: 25 - 28 °C (77 - 82.4°F)

The way how these fish reproduce: Spawning

Where the species comes from: Central America

Temperament to its own species: peaceful

Temperament toward other fish species: aggressive to smaller

Usual place in the tank: Middle levels

Food and feeding

Not a fussy eater in the aquarium, cichlid pellets should be used for the staple diet along with some spirulina flake. For meaty foods, use prawns, mussels, and pieces of white fish.


Central America; Redhead cichlids are found in the waterways of Mexico, Belize, and Guatemala.


The male will be larger than the female with more colouration. They will also have extended dorsal and anal fins whereas the females will be rounded. The males may also develop a nuchal hump when mature.


The pair will clean their chosen site, usually a flat rock and then spawning should commence. At this time the male may be very aggressive towards the female. The eggs should hatch after 2-3 days and a few days later, the fry should be free swimming. At this stage, the fry will accept newly hatched brine shrimp but as they grow, they can be fed on crushed flake.


The expected life span for Redhead cichlid is 10 years.

Short description

If bogwood or other decor is added to the tank, ensure that it is firmly fixed as this fish will try to re-arranger it to suit. Only keep with other Central American cichlids as Vieja synspila can be aggressive.