Chuco Micropthalmus

Discussion about cichlids from Central America
Gmfishnut
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Chuco Micropthalmus

Post by Gmfishnut » Fri Feb 07, 2014 1:46 pm

chuco 3bf.jpg
chuco f.jpg
Chuco 1bf.jpg
Growing out a group of 6 Chucos in hopes of getting a pair!

Bas Pels
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Re: Chuco Micropthalmus

Post by Bas Pels » Fri Feb 07, 2014 1:50 pm

They wil have do do a little growing. 10cm/4 inches, or are they smaller?

I must say, they look strikingly similar. In fact, I'd worry about the similarity - the fishes in the pictures, I think I saw 5, look like they might all be male

Mark Smith
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Re: Chuco Micropthalmus

Post by Mark Smith » Fri Feb 07, 2014 5:32 pm

The species name should spelled as microphthalmus, not micropthalmus. This common misspelling makes it interesting to properly look up this species on the internet.

I have a few myself and the ones in the photos are too small to sex. It should become more and more clear the larger they grow.

Dan Woodland
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Re: Chuco Micropthalmus

Post by Dan Woodland » Fri Feb 07, 2014 5:43 pm

Gorgeous fish! One of my all-time favorites. I had three pairs in the same tank breeding at the same time!! They are not very "strong" parents. They can be bullied off the nest.

They are hard to tell sexes until they are about 5 or 6 inches - that's when they start to "beef up".

Good luck with them.

Dan

Mark Smith
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Re: Chuco Micropthalmus

Post by Mark Smith » Fri Feb 07, 2014 6:00 pm

I have noticed with my group that what I presume are the males are, at 6 inches total length, about 3 times the body mass of the smaller, approx. 4 1/2 inches total length, females. Color still seems about the same, with the females more often retaining the horizontal bar, than the males do. Mine are approximately one year old? and when I performed a large water change last weekend, where the new water temp was about 4 degrees cooler, it seemed to trigger one of the females to darken and show more of a vertical barring pattern, and darker chin and chest. This pattern went away about a day later.

Dan, do you have any other information/tips on working with this species?

Gmfishnut
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Re: Chuco Micropthalmus

Post by Gmfishnut » Fri Feb 07, 2014 10:11 pm

image.jpg
Dan Woodland wrote:Gorgeous fish! One of my all-time favorites. I had three pairs in the same tank breeding at the same time!! They are not very "strong" parents. They can be bullied off the nest.

They are hard to tell sexes until they are about 5 or 6 inches - that's when they start to "beef up".

Good luck with them.

Dan
Dan,

I remember the group you had years ago. You had sent them to me and I had them for a couple of years. Never got a spawn from them, I think they were past their prime by the time I got them but I enjoyed them nevertheless. I was always amazed at how well they all got along for such big cichlids in my 220 gallon.

I hear that they like lots of current and water movement in the aquarium as they come from fast flowing waters. I have installed a couple of large Hydor fans in their tank and they seem to love it.

Any other tips like water temperature and feeding tips you can recommend???

The picture above was of one of yours.

George

Gmfishnut
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Re: Chuco Micropthalmus

Post by Gmfishnut » Fri Feb 07, 2014 10:24 pm

Mark Smith wrote:The species name should spelled as microphthalmus, not micropthalmus. This common misspelling makes it interesting to properly look up this species on the internet.

I have a few myself and the ones in the photos are too small to sex. It should become more and more clear the larger they grow.
Thanks for the info on the species name Mark. I didn't realize I was spelling it incorrectly.

In the group of six that I have, the two largest are around 4-1/2" and have outgrown the rest by at least a half inch. I'm hoping they are males and also hoping that I have a couple of females as well. I won't know for sure till they've grown a little larger. Also noticed that the two largest also have quite a bit more freckling on the gill plates. Time will tell!
I find them to be quite slow growing, what do you think?

George

Mark Smith
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Re: Chuco Micropthalmus

Post by Mark Smith » Sat Feb 08, 2014 12:14 am

Slow growing? Not sure for a central American, as I have not kept many in the past. I got 7 individuals 5 months ago ranging in size from 2 to 2 3/4 inches. The largest individual is now 6 inches and the smallest is about 4 1/2 inches. I keep the temp at about 80 F and feed them once to twice daily. 75% water changes every 10 days or so. Water is hard and alkaline here in southern California.

rodald
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Re: Chuco Micropthalmus

Post by rodald » Sat Feb 08, 2014 9:58 am

Really nice fish to keep, right now I am keeping 3 I caught for new year in rio trincheras, I have been told that they are really agresive but so far no agression whatsoever.
How can you tell male from female?
here are a couple pics of mine, they are all diferent sizes, if you could sex them that would be great, by the way notice the lips they are far larger than otherones I have seen

Image
Image
Image
Image
`·.¸¸.·´¯`·.¸. ><)))))º>`·.¸¸.·´¯`·.¸. ><)))))º>`·.¸¸.·´¯`·.¸. ><)))))º>`·.¸¸.·´¯`·.¸.

Mark Smith
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Re: Chuco Micropthalmus

Post by Mark Smith » Sat Feb 08, 2014 10:17 am

Thanks for including your images Rodald. Interesting lips. Perhaps all the ones from the river where yours were collected have thickened lips, where as the race that is here in America is from another river where their lips are not thickend? Kind of reminds me of the lip variation seen in Nandopsis hatiensis.

Andy Young
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Re: Chuco Micropthalmus

Post by Andy Young » Sat Feb 08, 2014 1:03 pm

I to have the magnificent Chuco microphthalmus, which I have had for two years last October. Mine did not size out at all with the exception of the alpa male.

All the remaining fish sized out when they reached five inches

here's a few photos of dominant pair, they have spawned twice, but eat the eggs shortly afterwards


Image



Image


I look forward to meeting my US friends at the ACA this summer

Andy

Mark Smith
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Re: Chuco Micropthalmus

Post by Mark Smith » Sat May 10, 2014 12:38 pm

AS of today my dominant male is now approx. 8 1/2 inches (21 cm) total length and the females are approx. 6 1/4 inches (16 cm) total length.

Dan Woodland
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Re: Chuco Micropthalmus

Post by Dan Woodland » Wed May 14, 2014 12:14 pm

I kept all my tanks at 72-76 degrees, no higher unless a particular fish requires it (Herichthys labridens, Discus, etc). I also chill my fish in the winter much like you would South American cichlids. Most tank temps fall to the upper to mid 60s.

I fed sparingly, to keep them trim, and had an automatic water change system pump 10 gallons of fresh water a day in the tank in two 5 gallon increments (2 am and 11am). Feeding sparingly also promotes them to "graze" lowers uneaten food roting in the tank, and allows the feeding of very small foods like mysis shrimp because they re very aware of small moving foods.

I also have large water circulators in each tank simulation the strong currents in a river.
Gmfishnut wrote:
image.jpg
Dan Woodland wrote:Gorgeous fish! One of my all-time favorites. I had three pairs in the same tank breeding at the same time!! They are not very "strong" parents. They can be bullied off the nest.

They are hard to tell sexes until they are about 5 or 6 inches - that's when they start to "beef up".

Good luck with them.

Dan
Dan,

I remember the group you had years ago. You had sent them to me and I had them for a couple of years. Never got a spawn from them, I think they were past their prime by the time I got them but I enjoyed them nevertheless. I was always amazed at how well they all got along for such big cichlids in my 220 gallon.

I hear that they like lots of current and water movement in the aquarium as they come from fast flowing waters. I have installed a couple of large Hydor fans in their tank and they seem to love it.

Any other tips like water temperature and feeding tips you can recommend???

The picture above was of one of yours.

George

Mark Smith
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Re: Chuco Micropthalmus

Post by Mark Smith » Fri May 16, 2014 4:47 pm

Very interesting, Dan. Would you happen to know what the water temps are in the natural habitat of C. microphthalmus, during the wet season and also during the dry season? I find it odd that the river water in a tropical place would ever dip down into the mid 60s, except perhaps high up in mountainous areas?

Chilling your fish, much like one would do for South American cichlids? With the exception of the Gymnogeophagus and Australoheros groups, as well as some Crenicichla species, in southeast Brazil and all of Uruguay, Amazonian species do not experience such cold temps, do they?

Bas Pels
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Re: Chuco Micropthalmus

Post by Bas Pels » Sat May 17, 2014 1:40 am

The Amazon will, most probably, be ~the same temperature all year round.

But the discussion was about Chuco micropthalmus, a species from the south of Mexico.

I once had my tank with fish from the south of Mexico - no Chuco - for a month, in winter, unheated by accident. Only after that month did I realize they were not heated, and kept @ 19 C. Then I strated heating the tank again, and after a few weeks all fishes started breeding

I think fish from Mecio (from the north even more) might very well prosper from a colder period for a few weeks. But do take care, some species, like Herichthys labridens, come from a warm well and never experience any winter

Mark Smith
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Re: Chuco Micropthalmus

Post by Mark Smith » Mon May 19, 2014 4:33 pm

The question is: Does this species experience lower water temps in the wild down to the mid 60s? I am getting the impression that nobody knows precisely, and that water temps in such tropical locales do not get that cold. Anyone out there who disagrees?

Bas Pels
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Re: Chuco Micropthalmus

Post by Bas Pels » Tue May 20, 2014 1:28 am

They are from approximately 23 degrees north, that is on the border of being tropical. But they inhabit fast moving water, which is, usually, much colder than one would expect.

Personally I would not keep them below 20 C - that is, I think, approx 67 F

dogofwar
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Re: Chuco Micropthalmus

Post by dogofwar » Tue May 20, 2014 10:58 am

The folks who collected them from the Rio Copan (http://www.cichlid-forum.com/articles/H ... ng_pt1.php) found them in swift, clear water (as well as swift, silty water on other trips).

I think that this is a pretty good indication of the local temps and range throughout the year: http://weatherspark.com/averages/32519/ ... n-Honduras

During the cool parts of the year, I would expect water temps to also be cool.

I've not kept Chuco micropthalamus but C. godmanni did great in water in the lower-70s / upper 60s in the winter.

Matt
Mark Smith wrote:The question is: Does this species experience lower water temps in the wild down to the mid 60s? I am getting the impression that nobody knows precisely, and that water temps in such tropical locales do not get that cold. Anyone out there who disagrees?

Bas Pels
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Re: Chuco Micropthalmus

Post by Bas Pels » Tue May 20, 2014 2:05 pm

dogofwar wrote:During the cool parts of the year, I would expect water temps to also be cool.

I've not kept Chuco micropthalamus but C. godmanni did great in water in the lower-70s / upper 60s in the winter.
Certainly. I got godmanni too, and the heater turned out not to heat.

The water has been around room temperature all winter, that is approximately 20 C for 3 months. Without any ill effect

Dan Woodland
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Re: Chuco Micropthalmus

Post by Dan Woodland » Tue May 20, 2014 11:06 pm

I don't know the exact temps but Ive been in Rio Copan, Honduras and many others in Mexico, and Argentina where the temps were in the mid to upper sixties. We caught Crenicichla vittata in very cold water in the Corrientes, Argentina region. I know some very successful Cichlid keepers that cool their fish like I do.

I adopted cooling all my fish after seeing in person each area has cold times just like we do here in the Midwest of the states. I've had great success and I believe the fish benefit from the "down time" just like we do... it let's your body regenerate.
Mark Smith wrote:Very interesting, Dan. Would you happen to know what the water temps are in the natural habitat of C. microphthalmus, during the wet season and also during the dry season? I find it odd that the river water in a tropical place would ever dip down into the mid 60s, except perhaps high up in mountainous areas?

Chilling your fish, much like one would do for South American cichlids? With the exception of the Gymnogeophagus and Australoheros groups, as well as some Crenicichla species, in southeast Brazil and all of Uruguay, Amazonian species do not experience such cold temps, do they?

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