Red Terror Mayan Cichlid
aka Mayan Cichlid, Mexican Mojarra, Mojarra Castarrica
syn Nandopsis urophthalmus
pH:6.8 to 7.0 dH: 2 to 18o Temp:77-84F
Size at shipping: usually about 1.5" SHIPS GREAT!
The Mayan Cichlid is characterized by eight black bands (starting just behind the eye) and a large ocellus (eyespot) on the caudal peduncle (base of the tail), which gives this fish its scientific name. It has a base color of brown to red that becomes more intense during breeding. As in many animals, the red color is much more brilliant in wild specimens than captive ones, but one can help maintain some of its vibrancy by feeding the fish live foods and foods that contain vitamin A, which breaks down into the red pigment beta-carotene in the body.
The Mayan Cichlid's color, size, and behaviour make it resemble the Red Terror (Cichlasoma festae), to which it is fairly closely related. However, the two have separate ranges in nature, with the Mayan Cichlid coming from the Atlantic slope of southern North America and northern Mesoamerica, and the Red Terror coming from the Pacific slope of southern Mesoamerica and northern South America. There are some physical differences, too. The Red Terror looks a bit more robust overall. It gets to be a bit larger than the Mayan Cichlid, attaining a longer and taller body, but with a relatively shorter snout and a slightly larger nuchal hump (bulging forehead). It also has longer trailings on its dorsal and anal fins. The Red Terror has more dark bands on its body (about nine starting behind the eye, rather than eight), and a smaller ocellus on its caudal peduncle. It also tends to retain more of its red color in captivity than does the Mayan Cichlid. However, some Red Terrors lack the commonly seen bright red base color and have an overall green color with a yellow tinge. The Red Terror is reputedly the more aggressive of the two species, but both can be very belligerent in an aquarium and can bully or even kill smaller or weaker fish, especially when pairing off for breeding.