Biotoecus special

8. May 2013

For the first time ever we can offer both species of Biotoecus that have been described scientifically so far at the same time! Both species are among the rarest fish in the trade and this is the reason why it is so remarkable to have both of them in stock. Moreover, we can offer for the first time the population of Biotoecus opercularis from the Rio Curua.

Biotoecus for sure are not demanded due to their coloration. As typical sand cichlids they do not have pop-art colours, but shining pastel shades. The same phenomenon can be found in the sand dwelling cichlids from Lake Tanganyika. Nevertheless well adapted animals are really beautiful.

However, the aquarist’s interest in these fishes is not due to the attractive appearance of the fish, but due to their unique breeding behaviour. Every enthusiast should have once in a lifetime observed the male Biotoecus building up a hill from fine sand. Once this hill is erected, the male digs a pit and in this pit the fish spawn.

Biotoecus dicentrarchus originates from the Orinoco drainage in Venezuela. Our specimens are still comparably small, but as can be seen on the photos from our supplier they will become very nice when fully grown. B. dicentrarchus are even rarer in the trade than B. opercularis.

Regarding aquarium maintenance and breeding both species differ hardly. One should keep them in soft and acidic water at temperatures of around 24°C (slightly higher for breeding). The bottom in the tank must, however, be composed at least partially from sand. Biotoecus are very peaceful animals, even against small other species, and feed readily on any type of usual fishfood. Males and females can be best told apart by comparing the shape of the ventral fins (larger and more colorful in males). Moreover, females stay much smaller (3-4 cm) than males (5-6 cm).

For more informations and pictures of B. opercularis from the vicinity of Manaus, please see

For our customers: B. opercularis “Curua” has code 624492, B. dicentrarchus code 634483 on our stocklist. Please note that we exclusively supply the wholesale trade. Both species are available in very limited numbers only!

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer