Crenicara punctulatum… The Hermaphrodite Cichlid

Once upon a time, all of the checkerboard cichlids were in the genus Crenicara.  When the genus was split, two fish were left in the genus and all the others went into Dicrossus.  The type species is C. punctulatum (the other is C. latruncularium).  This original checkerboard cichlid is a fun fish to keep.  They are not overly demanding, though they do not do well in dirty water.  This fish is a sequential hermaphrodite.  All of them start off looking phenotypically female.  As a group of young fish mature, the most dominant fish will grow faster and become the breeding male.  He will pair with a female that will also grow, though not as larger, and take on brighter colors and redder fins.  The rest will stay comparatively small… as though they are suspended in growth.  If the male is removed, a new male will arise (usually the previous dominant female).  The sex change is not reversible.  So that means that the easiest way to get a breeding pair is to pick up a group of 6-8 juveniles and let them grow up.  Once a pair forms, move the rest to another tank and another pair will arise. Fun fish!

3 Replies to “Crenicara punctulatum… The Hermaphrodite Cichlid”

    1. There are several references to it in scientific literature, but I do not have the citations. A few books have described it as well. Check out TFH’s ‘Fish Behavior’. I think that there is a whole chapter in there about hermaphrodite cichlids.

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