Mostly we receive the Indian Pearl Cichlid (Etroplus suratensis) as wild catch from South India (formerly also from Sri Lanka) or as German offspring from zoo aquariums. Now, for the first time, we have imported bred ones from Indonesia; some specimens of these offspring do not show a stripe pattern, but have an irregular bow and scroll pattern on the back half of the body. In the wild, such fish would have little chance of survival. Juvenile Etroplus suratensis live in larger groups and whoever stands out in color quickly becomes the prey of a fish eater. But in the aquarium there are no predators and so such mutations can survive. One thing is for sure, they look very interesting!
After a quite long time we were able to import the Indian Pearl Spot, Etroplus suratensis, once again. Of the three species of Indian cichlids this one is the largest. Record dimensions of up to 40 cm were reported. But normally this fish becomes only about 15 cm long, it is sexually mature from about 8 cm.
Etroplus suratensis occurs in nature along the south coast of India and in Sri Lanka. It is often found in pure fresh water, but likes to live in a brackish environment and also tolerates pure sea water. A slight addition of salt is recommended in the aquarium, but much more important is the pH value, which should not fall below 8 if possible.
Plants are part of the diet of this species and planting the aquarium is therefore usually doomed to failure. The Indian Pearl Spot is a sociable animal that is best cared for in the company of some specimens. With its smaller cousin, the Indian cichlid (Pseudetroplus maculatus), it is associated with a cleaning community that can also be observed in the aquarium. If E. suratensis wants to be cleaned, he stands very conspicuously with his head up on the caudal fin. P. maculatus understands this instinctively and cleans his larger cousin. This behaviour is inherent and can also be observed in animals that were born in the aquarium and never had the opportunity to observe this behaviour.
Our 4-5 cm long youngsters of E. suratensis are already very nice to look at in their stripe pattern; adult animals look quite splendid, as if they are covered with diamond splinters.
For our customers: the animals have code 415902 on our stocklist. Please note that we only supply the wholesale trade.
The Indian cichlid, Etroplus maculatus, is a very popular aquarium fish and never disappeared after its first importation again. Recent research suggests that Etroplus is not a close relative of the cichlid family, but rather of the damselfishes (Pomacentridae). However that does not mean anything for the hobby.
Etroplus maculatus can be kept and bred in pure fresh or brackish water. The sexes are equal regarding colour and finnage, but males are always bigger than females, at least after maturity. Males become mature with about 5 cm, females with 4 cm total length. Maximum length is around 9 cm for males. When specimens offered are of equal age or were imported together one should take the largest and the smallest specimen in the tank. They will almost ever form a pair. Etroplus take biparental care. They are open brooders. They attach the eggs on stones, roots etc.. The eggs have small stalks and move when they are fanned. Both parents lead and guard the offspring. The young feed inter alia on skin mucus, similar as young discus do.
For our customers: the fish have code 415803 on our stocklist. Please note that we exclusively supply the wholesale market.
Only three species of cichlid are found in Asia, all of them belong to the genus Etroplus. But many scientists believe that Etroplus are closer to damsels than to cichlids. Anyway, all three species are marvelous aquarium fish. Two of them, E. maculatus and E. suratensis are wide spread.
There was no trace of E. canarensis for over 100 years on the other hand and some people already assumed, it may be extinct. This beautifully coloured perch gets approx. up to 10cm long. It is a pure freshwater inhabitant. The peaceful animals should not be kept in company of fast eating kinds to avoid that they get too less food when being fed. Apart from fights for the hierarchy after being put inside, E. canarensis get along together well.
The fish are available only once per year and in limted numbers; currently this is the case.
For our customers: the fish have code 415752 on our stocklist. Please note that we exclusively supply the wholesale trade.
Photos: F. Schäfer, Text: K. Diehl