Aquarium Fish Profile: Jaguar Cichlid

The Jaguar Cichlid is a very popular and good-looking aquarium fish.  It’s gorgeous body decoration and coloration makes the fish more acceptable among the freshwater pet fish keepers. This fish (Parachromis managuensis) was first explained by a popular Ichthyologist Albert Karl Ludwig Gotthilf Günther in 1867.

It is a perch like ray-finned fish which is placed in the Cichlidae family of class Actinopterygii. This fish is available in their natural habitat and it is not listed as threatened species on the IUCN Red Data Book.

Systematic Position

  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Sub-phylum: Vertebrata
  • Class: Actinopterygii
  • Order: Perciformes
  • Family: Cichlidae
  • Genus: Parachromis  
  • Species: Parachromis managuensis

Distribution and Habitat

It is distributed in the Ulua River of Honduras and Matina River of Costa Rica. It also lives in lakes, ditches, canals, and ponds. Generally, it prefers to live in turbid and low oxygenated waters with muddy bottoms within 3 to 10 meters depth ranges.

Common Names

It has various common names such as Aztec cichlid, Jaguar cichlid, Managuense cichlid, Guapote tiger, Jaguar guapote, Managua cichlid and Spotted guapote etc.

Body Shape and Colors

Body is elongated to oval shaped and laterally compressed with terminal large protrusible mouth and rounded caudal fin. The dorsal fin is large that extends up to the base of the caudal fin.

Generally, the body is golden-green to purple or silvery in color. The back side is moss green, flanks are purple iridescence but the ventral side is whitish or yellowish in color. 

The caudal fin base has a black blotch but along the lateral line, a series of several large black dots are present while all the fins have lots of black spots.

Body Size and Lifespan

It can grow up to 63 cm in length and up to about 3.5 pounds in weight with a lifespan up to 15 years or more if appropriate care is taken.

Quick Jaguar Cichlid Facts

  • Scientific Name: Parachromis managuensis
  • Origin: Central America
  • Grown-up size: 60.96 cm
  • Temperament: Aggressive
  • Minimum Tank Size: 120 gallons
  • Tank Level: All
  • Diet: Carnivore
  • Breeding: Egg-layer
  • Water pH: 7.0–8.0
  • Hardness: 8–12 dGH
  • Temperature: 75.0 to 80.0° F
  • Water Movement: Moderate-strong
  • Lighting need: Normal -moderate
  • Care level: Moderate
  • Lifespan: 15 years or more

Food and Feeding Behavior

It is carnivore and its food consists of smaller fish, ghost shrimp, bloodworms, minnows, blackworms, crayfish, mealworms, small frogs etc.

It also takes frozen or freeze-dried foods and prepared Cichlid pellets. Feed should be given 2-3 times daily to make your fish happy.

Housing and Care Facts

It requires at least 120 gallons tank but larger is recommended. The tank should have lots of swimming place with large gravel, driftwood, and caves for shelter. 

They prefer good water chemistry with a pH of 7.0–8.0, a water hardness of 8–12 dGH, and temperature of 75.0 to 80.0° F.

To make your tank environment healthy, you can use air pumps and strong filtration system. Besides these, 20-25% water changes should be done every other week.


It is an aggressive fish and it should be kept with larger fish. Suitable tank-mates include Red Devils, large Central and South American cichlids, Oscars and Dovii etc.

Breeding Behavior

It is an egg-layer and can breed in captive condition with appropriate care. The breeding tank should have driftwood, aquarium plants, and flat rocks.

The mature female lays up to 3000 eggs on the substrate of the tank. The eggs hatch within 4 days and the fry become free swimming within a week. The fry should be fed with infusoria, newly hatched brine shrimp and any liquid fry food.

Male and Female Sex Differences

At the young stage, it is very hard to make difference between the male and female. The body of the female is more rounded than the male.

The dorsal and anal fin of the male is extended and elongated than the female. The mature male has a golden body with black dots while the female bears prominent red pigment in the gill plates.

Disease and Preventive Measures

The Jaguar Cichlid is a hardy fish but sometimes it is susceptible to ich, skin flukes, parasitic infestations, bacterial infections and fungal infections due to lack of proper tank management.

To treat with ich, the temperature of the tank water should be raised to 86° F (30° C) for 3 days. Copper based fish medications are also available in the pet fish market today to treat with ich. In this case, you should use proper levels of copper. To take care of the temperature of the tank water one should always keep aquarium thermometer at home.

To make your fish disease free, you should always change 20-25% water on regular basis. Besides these, different decorative materials such as aquarium plants, substrate etc must be done quarantine before adding to the aquarium.

Concluding Remarks

The Jaguar Cichlid is a very active and beautiful aquarium fish among the pet fish keepers due to its gorgeous body coloration. It is now available in local pet fish market and online shops with sensible costs. To make your aquarium more attractive, we prescribe you to keep this fish along with Rosy Barb or Cockatoo Cichlid in your aquarium.

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