Can you help identify this cichlid?

Jan Cavalieri

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Unknown Cichlid.jpg


I've had this fish for over a year and got her/him when he was about 3 1/2" long. The local store owner (with 40 years experience ripping people off) told me it was a Gourami (that's what I went in there looking for) - and I saw the spot and assumed he was right. Well it's a year later and this fish is close to 10" long and her growth is not stopping. She's in a 29 gallon tank with some large gourami - they get one half the tank, she gets the other LOL. They do seem to enjoy tormenting her sometimes so while they are wary, they aren't terrified. Nobody has gotten injured - just dominance games. The Gourami are also "semi-aggressive". I'm trying to give her away (she's way too big for this tank) but don't know what to call her (I call her "Hot Lips") - she's just kind of boring looking with brown and tan. I'm in a position where I euthanize her (not an option, she's too funny), give her away (unsuccessful so far) buy a 55 gallon tank and promise myself to sell the current tank so I don't get more fish - I already have more tanks than I can handle since I'm disabled. One pair of the gourami gave birth 6 weeks ago - 3 fry survived and they are already the size of a standard looking Tetra. The tank has 5 gourami and this would add 3 more - absolutely no room in the 29 gallon tank. They are already showing aggression and dominance so I can't put them in another tank. I was shocked with the birth because I always thought you needed near perfect tank conditions for breeding and this overcrowding is hardly optimal yet the gourami bred anyway. I'm thinking the cichlid has got to be quite lonely and would appreciate a similar species "friend" - IF I decide to go with the 55 gallon route (I'm still searching my house to see where I could put a tank this big - the basement has some steel reinforcement beams but there are definite week flooring/leveling issues and I don't want the tank going though the floor. there are electrical limitations and space limitations. I really wish somebody would take the whole lot of them off my hands - you can't really appreciate their beauty in this small of tank and I feel it is cruel to have them live this way.

Anyway - if anybody knows what species this is or where I can go to look I would appreciate it. Might help her find a new home. This picture was taken at about age 6 months - she's nearly double this size now but too shy to let me get a shot of her. Same looking fish - just much, much longer.
 

Colin_T

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It looks very much like a male Geophagus surinamensis. They grow to about 8 inches (measured without the tail), are peaceful and come from South America. They are actually a lovely fish to have and don't cause problems to anything in the tank, except plants when they sometimes dig them up.
 

Metalhead88

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He told you it was a gourami?? seriously?

It is a Geophagus species 100% There are a whole bunch of them, and they mostly have the same care, similiar size, appearance, and temperment. Many species are so similar that they get confused.

He's a nice looking fish, but could really use a bigger tank.
 

PheonixKingZ

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It is a Geophagus species 100% There are a whole bunch of them, and they mostly have the same care, similiar size, appearance, and temperment. Many species are so similar that they get confused.
I completely agree. 100% Geophagus species. I see them all the time at my LFS.

You should definitely get a bigger tank if you want to keep this guy.
 
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Jan Cavalieri

Jan Cavalieri

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Thanks for ID'ing this fish! That is so helpful. I 100% agree I need a bigger tank - that's why I'd rather find a home for him because I really don't want to purchase another/bigger tank - I can barely handle what I have now - but this is so unfair to him - and he's in a tank with 5 LARGE Gourami (semi-aggressive) - not sure who picks on who the most but it's not an ideal condition - luckily no injuries - just dominance games. Now that I know what he is perhaps I can find a home - I agree - he really is pretty sweet but very dominant - but kind of has to be when there are others outnumbering him. Oh hell, maybe I'll just get a 55 gallon tank for all of them especially since I have 3 gourami babies that will also grow to be pretty big. I'm just afraid I'll keep the old tank and just get more fish - I have no self control when I find a fish I really love (like the Dojo's). Then I'd have way too much work - my assistant/friend I pay to clean the tanks isn't always available so I have to do some myself and it's just too exhausting for me. There is no good decision here. If he were just a little prettier that would help.
 

JuiceBox52

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Thanks for ID'ing this fish! That is so helpful. I 100% agree I need a bigger tank - that's why I'd rather find a home for him because I really don't want to purchase another/bigger tank - I can barely handle what I have now - but this is so unfair to him - and he's in a tank with 5 LARGE Gourami (semi-aggressive) - not sure who picks on who the most but it's not an ideal condition - luckily no injuries - just dominance games. Now that I know what he is perhaps I can find a home - I agree - he really is pretty sweet but very dominant - but kind of has to be when there are others outnumbering him. Oh hell, maybe I'll just get a 55 gallon tank for all of them especially since I have 3 gourami babies that will also grow to be pretty big. I'm just afraid I'll keep the old tank and just get more fish - I have no self control when I find a fish I really love (like the Dojo's). Then I'd have way too much work - my assistant/friend I pay to clean the tanks isn't always available so I have to do some myself and it's just too exhausting for me. There is no good decision here. If he were just a little prettier that would help.
Is there a way you could have someone take the tank and sell it for you so that you have no way of using it for more fish?
 
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Jan Cavalieri

Jan Cavalieri

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Interesting, looked at three different websites where the each said they were "Aggressive", "Semi Aggressive" or "Peaceful". I would say semi aggressive and at 10 inches or so (with fins) and still growing isn't getting that much prettier. Supposedly once they near machurity (now) is when they are prettiest and he's just brown and tan with a black dot on his sides. Not at all colorful but very responsive to his hame and will come out to see me. They are on a black substrate which does bring out some color.
 

Metalhead88

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Interesting, looked at three different websites where the each said they were "Aggressive", "Semi Aggressive" or "Peaceful". I would say semi aggressive and at 10 inches or so (with fins) and still growing isn't getting that much prettier. Supposedly once they near machurity (now) is when they are prettiest and he's just brown and tan with a black dot on his sides. Not at all colorful but very responsive to his hame and will come out to see me. They are on a black substrate which does bring out some color.

They are semi aggressive. Compared to other cichlids of similar size, they are peaceful...... So it all depends on perspective.
 
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Jan Cavalieri

Jan Cavalieri

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As far as selling the tank - it isn't worth much so I could sell it on ebay marketplace for $50 or less with filter and heater included (nice ones). I've found lots of 55 gallon tanks to purchase but they all are filthy and no guarantee it won't leak since it's been in somebody's garage for years. They get about $25-50 for them. Money isn't a serious issue for me (thankfully - so I'd rather buy a new tank - plus with everybody on semi lockdown it isn't a good time to buy or sell used merchandise. Now I've been roaming around the house looking for safe floor and wall space, electrical (which is really hard to find) - any place to put it that won't risk the wood floors with the weight. With some serious rearranging of all my fish tanks - no problem but I can't imagine dismantling all those tanks just to move them across the room (they are all on heavy dressers but not moveable without about 3/4 ths of the water weight gone. None of the dressers are big enough for a 55 gallon tank, so it would be a regular old tank stand for the new tank - but it would be like a cake dance for tanks as to where they move to and probably not a very attractive design but functional. Something to think about and decide on SOON.

Thanks for all your help - I'll go greet Mr. Geophagus surinamensis. Hot Lips was a lot easier to pronounce!
 

Lajos_Detari

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Welcome to the world of Earth Eater!
They are very beautiful when they grow larger than 4-5".

You can keep it as your centerpiece fish together with a group of schooling fish. You can consider the bigger Tetra species such as Congo Tetras, Bleeding Heart Tetras, etc...





 
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Jan Cavalieri

Jan Cavalieri

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Well I have 5 LARGE Gourami - also semi aggressive that have been living with him - the last thing I need is more fish. Plus I have the 3 baby Gourami that will likely be as big as their parents. I would like to get at least 1 more of the Cichlid for company but I don't want to start an all out war - I'll need to invest in a 55 gallon tank or larger and frankly I have yet to find a place to put one (where the current 29 gallon tank is now is too small). Would love to give the whole lot away for free but I'm afraid they'd put them in too small of a tank too. I care too much about their welfare. So I guess I'll keep looking for how to rearrange my house (with structural and electrical issues) to handle a 55 gallon tank and just keep them - that's the only way I can ensure their best care. Better hurry - these babies are growing like weeds - they don't look like baby fish any more and will soon outgrow the 5 gallon tank they are in. Such a mess - all because of that rip-off local fish store guy. I know everybody always says to shop locally but I've gotten ripped off every time - it's like they can't make it successfully without screwing somebody over. All the other fish this guy sold me died almost immediately and he refused to take them back.
 

angelcraze

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Not sure what to say, but I wouldn't get a second geo. They are schooling cichlids like angels and discus and create a hierarchy. With only two individuals, one will almost always outcompete the other. 3 is a bad number for any cichlid bc if a pair forms, the odd one out is tormented. With 4, the odd ones out splits the protection aggression in half so one is not always bearing the brunt, but your tank (even 55g) is unfortunately too small IMO for 4 geos and the other tankmates. So honestly if you want to keep him, i'd keep him as a solitary geo and give him lots of mental stimulation and attention. Another schooling species like mid or large size tetra sounds like a good plan to me. I currently have one angel with a school of 14 flame tetras in one of my 33g. My angel is now larger than my others who grew up in a school and he does just fine.

Just my opinion, so take it as so, just wanted to give you what I see with my schooling cichilds.
 
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Jan Cavalieri

Jan Cavalieri

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Thanks for the videos - it's some kind of earth mover and very strong. We'll do a water change, flatten everything out and by the next day the substrate (with large log) is moved up about halfway to the top of the aquarium. Very impressive! I like him, but his size just presents a problem and while he hasn't injured a Gourami - they'd both rather be without each other and spend a lot of time in dominance games.

With fins, he's rapidly approaching 1 foot long, without tail fins - about 8 inches. My gourami suddenly look small by comparison and they are about 6". His colors are very bland tan and brown and I purchased him last August when he was about 3 1/2" long so his growth rate is very fast - not sure he's done yet because I wouldn't call him "pretty" by any means, Very bland other than the big spot on his side.
 
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