The genus Crenicichla is with about 100 species one of the most species-rich cichlid genera at all, and yet there are numerous forms that, if we see them alive, do not really want to fit the described species. On the other hand, there are also described species of which we already doubted about their existence, as only similar but not identical fishes are exported from the area from which they were described.
One of the latter is Crenicichla notophthalmus, a dwarf Crenicichla from the Rio Negro near Manaus, which was described as early as 1913 and is easily recognizable. The males (not the females!) have long pointed first dorsal fin rays, which is not found elsewhere in the genus. The otherwise identical C. regani does not have this. Now Manaus is the main market for ornamental fish in Brazil, so it should be no problem to get these beautiful fish, which are only up to 8 cm long (females remain smaller), regularly? Puff pieces, almost always when we order them, come instead of C. notophthalmus C. regani!
But now we have finally got the “real” C. notophthalmus. The females may have one or two of the cherry red bordered eye spots in the dorsal fin, this is a variable feature. One should not be deceived by the small size of these cave breeders with parental family, they really have fire in their bodies and should therefore ideally be kept in aquariums of at least 80 x 50 cm floor space.
For our customers: the animals have code 671502 on our stocklist. Please note that we only supply the wholesale trade.
Text & photos: Frank Schäfer