Red Head Tapajos, 3"+
- Care Level: Easy
- Temperament: Semi-Aggressive
- Maximum Size: 6"
- Minimum Tank Size: 55 gallons
- Water Conditions: 76-84° F, pH 5.5-6.5, KH 2-7
- Diet: Omnivore
- Origin: South America
- Family: Cichlidae
- Species: Geophagus
- Aquarium Type: Cichlid-New-World
The Tapajos Red head, is a beautiful and relatively peaceful species that is considered a rare gem in the hobby; they will add intense, red coloration and touch of class to any aquarium. Tapajos can only be found in the Rio Tapajos within the Amazon River basin of South America.
Like other Geophagus species, the Tapajos will continuously sift through sand in search of food. In addition to their bright, orange-red heads, they have a base color of tan to gray, with slight, vertical banding (8-10 bars) and gold to green, iridescent scales on their flanks.
Tapajos have iridescent gold to green patterns on their operculum as well as a variety of gold-green to orange-red markings on their translucent fins. They also have a black ocellus spot on and below their upper lateral line.
Tapajos require an aquarium of at least 55 gallons and should be provided with a fine, sand substrate and multiple places where they can find shelter (driftwood, rock structures, or dense vegetation). Tapajos will sift and burrow through substrate and have been known to snack on some live plant species, so live plants that attach to driftwood and rocks, or potted plants are recommended.
They prefer warm, soft, acidic, and clean water as well as areas of low or subdued lighting where they can sift around for snacks. Tapajos prefer to live in groups and are relatively peaceful Cichlids that have been successful in a community environment, but are more commonly kept in species or biotope-specific aquariums (or housed with other Cichlids). Tank mates should be considered carefully and should be comparable in size.
Feeding & Nutrition
The Tapajos is an omnivore that generally feeds from the bottom of the aquarium (but will surface for frozen bloodworms) and should be fed a variety of foods, such as live, prepared, frozen or freeze-dried: brine shrimp, bloodworms, blackworms, krill, flake food, and soft, sinking, Cichlid pellets.
Tapajos are brood caring, mouth brooders and breeding them is not too difficult. Breeding can be induced by feeding them plenty of live and frozen foods that are high in protein, raising the water temperature to 86° F and lowering the pH levels with peat (can be added as filter media).
The female Tapajos will lay around 300 eggs in a carefully cleaned, flat location (driftwood, flat rock/stone, slate, or large plant leaves) and within 1-24 hours, will transfer the eggs to her mouth and care for them until they hatch. The parents will dig pits in the sand to shelter the fry in during the day and will transfer them to their mouths at night. After 2-3 weeks the fry are free-swimming, but the parents will still allow themselves to be used for shelter until the fry are too large to fit in their mouths.
The fry can be fed a diet of baby brine shrimp or crushed flake food and then be moved to other foods as they mature.
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