How to Keep Your New Pike Cichlid         Aqualand’s inside info on Crenicichla species

 
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Pike Cichlid Factoids

Origin

South America

Maximum Size

10 to 12-inch for most species

Sexual Differences

Females larger

Temperature

80

Water

Needs clean water

Attitude

Stalkers, predators, very territorial

Security

Needs a cave or ledge

Foods

Prefers live fish

LA
Look a little pugnacious?  Pike cichlids like to fight with their own kind (and other kinds).

Origin.  Pike cichlids hail from South America.  Over 60 different species fall under the genus Crenicichla.  If you want to ascertain your exact species, lots of luck.

LA Pic
Different species of pike cichlids sport different colors and looks.

LA Pic
Foot-long pike cichlids always look better than the little guys.  Not many metal frame tanks left.

Appeal.  Pike cichlids look great.  Their colors and torpedo body shape look attractive.  However, most people keep them because they like to watch these gluttons eat.


Dwarf green pike cichlids cost about three times as much regulars.  Ditto the oranges.

LA Pic
Almost two-inch orange pike -- nearly invisible in this four-inch flower pot.

Size.  Most adults can exceed a foot in length.  Many do not grow this large because they kill each other first.  The orange pikes and the green pikes top out at half this size.  You can even keep them with other fishes too large to swallow.  They live longest when kept as individual specimens.

LA Pic
Regular pike cichlids sell reasonably priced at 3.5 inches.

LA Pic
Same dude with breakfast still in his mouth.

LA Pic
Even the big pike cichlids like to hide.  Climbing perch to the left.  Also a toughie.

Living Quarters.  Avoid bare tanks.  Lack of hiding places puts a severe strain on these guys -- especially the little guys.  Pikes want to lurk under ledges and wait for a bait-size fish to swim past.  If you do not provide a cave, they will hide behind their filter tubes (obviously under stress).  Pike Cichlids do not appreciate brightly lit tanks.

LA Pic
You can also lower their water level to keep them from jumping.

LA
Two-inch pike of same species as above.

Jumpers.  Cover them at all times.  Pike cichlids jump out any time you leave the cover off their tank.

LA Pic
At six inches, they cost much more.  And eat more.

LA Pic
Same size.  Different species.  A little roughed up.  He beat up the guy below.

Decor Tip.  Lean a piece of slate against their front glass.  They slide right into this “cave” and stay visible at all times.

LA Pic
Pike cichlids do not mix well with other pike cichlids.  This guy did not make the cut.  He died.

LA Pic
Same fish next day (dead as a pickerel).

LA Pic
Little guys (3 inches) seem to get along.  Big pike cichlids like to kill each other.

Group of Pikes?  Pike cichlids kept together usually kill each other.  If you decide to keep several, give them a large tank – like a 40 breeder with lots of hiding places.

Water.  Most South American cichlids put up with cruddy water conditions – old, urine-colored water.  Keep your pike cichlids in cleaner water or kiss them goodbye.  P.S.  Go over and change the water on your Jack Dempseys right now.  They like clean water, too.

LA Pic
Here's a three-inch pike getting along with a ropefish.

Tank Mates.  You could say they’re not good mixers.  But you can keep pike cichlids with other large cichlids IF you keep them in a larger tank.  In a tank less than 30 gallons, you’ll see too many fights over territory.  The loser often expires.

LA Pic
At one foot long, pike cichlids are not shy.

LA Pic
The bigger they get, the less pike cichlids need to hide.

Disease.  Keep your pike cichlid in clean water or you’ll have problems with all types of diseases brought on by or aggravated by stress.

Foods.  Pike cichlids prefer live fish.  Feeder goldfishes work fine.  Smaller ones eat rosy reds, guppies, white clouds and black worms.  Obviously, you will not keep your pike cichlids in a standard community tank.  In addition to eating any fish they can choke down, they will beat the crud out of many tank mates too big to swallow.

More Foods.  Pike cichlids also like earthworms and night crawlers.  Most quickly learn to eat many frozen foods.  Rather than eat flakes or pellets, most will starve themselves to death.

 

Breeding.  No good info available on breeding at this time.  Your best bet lies in providing a large tank with lots of caves.  Males are larger and more colorful.  The babies are probably “glancers” like discus fry.

LA Pic
Most pike cichlids look on the mean side.

LA Pic
This species of pike cichlids looks good at six inches.

LA Pic
Looks much better at fourteen.

LA Pic
Even this little two-inch pike cichlid looks good.

LA Pic
Much better looking out and about.  Orange pikes cost more, lots more.

LA
Even at two inches, they are predators.

LA
At 1.25 inches they still want to eat rosy reds.

LA
Same guy with a bellyful of California blackworms.

LA Pic
Pike cichlids look pretty good when not hiding. 

LA
Some pike cichlids have to be forced out.

Last Comments. Clean water is essential to pike cichlids.  Change large amounts weekly.  LA.

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