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Central American Cichlid Gallery

Midas Cichlid

Midas Cichlid - Coloring

Midas Cichlid, Amphilophus citrinellus
Midas Cichlid

Midas Cichlids are Central America from southern Mexico, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Honduras. They are also established in Florida in the USA. This is an extremely aggressive fish and is not on our recommended list for aquarists to keep. Midas Cichlids are known by the scientific name Amphilophus citrinellus but have previously been classified as Cichlasoma citrinellum, Heros citrinellus, Heros basilaris, Cichlasoma granadense and Erythrichthus citrinellus. The coloring varies significantly for this species, probably because of the ease with which they are bred. Many are grey with black horizontal banding. Yellow, orange and gold are also common coloring, giving rise to the name Midas (gold).

Midas Cichlid - Aquarium Setup

The Midas Cichlid can be kept in highly varied water conditions. The tank should be a minimum of 75 gallons and should have rocks and hiding areas, but should also have open areas for swimming. It should have a sandy bottom for them to dig in, as Midas Cichlids are aggressive diggers. Needless to say, plants do not fare well unless they are plastic. Midas Cichlids grow quickly and will eat almost anything. They can be fed snails, crickets, algae, spinach, peas, lettuce, pellets, worms, frozen bloodworm, krill, brine shrimp, cichlid sticks and flake foods.

Midas Cichlid, Amphilophus citrinellus
Midas Cichlid

Midas Cichlid - Pit Bull of Tropical Fish

The Midas Cichlid is like the pit bull of tropical fish. They will often let their owners stroke and pet them. They will beg for food and seem quite docile. Yet they aggressively attack other fish. The will ram their heads loudly against the aquarium glass and attempt to attack humans and family pets that they see outside their territory. Not only are the aggressive to other species, but with each other. Males will often kill females in their territory when they are not breeding.

Midas Cichlid vs Red Devil and Blood Parrot

The Midas Cichlid is often confused with the Red Devil, Amphilophus Labiatus. The Red Devil is much more elongated and its mouth protrudes much more, which is why it has the scientific name labiatus (lips). Color isn’t a good basis for distinction. The Red Devil and the Midas Cichlid can easily be cross-bred to produce a hybrid. Given that both are extremely aggressive, it is very difficult to distinguish between hybrids and their parents. Although breeders are very secretive about the source, many believe that the Midas Cichlid is one of the two parent species for both the Blood Parrot hybrid and the Flowerhorn hybrid.

Midas Cichlid, Amphilophus citrinellus
Midas Cichlid

Midas Cichlid Tank Mates

The Midas Cichlid is best kept alone in an aquarium. If other fish are present, it is likely they will be killed sooner or later. Raising Midas Cichlids in a tank with other young fish may reduce their aggression. Avoiding live foods and always ensuring they are well fed are also suggested as ways to successfully keep them with other fish. Some have noted success in keeping them with convict cichlids, jack dempseys, Oscars, firemouths, green terrors, guapotes, blue freckled monsters (umbees), large plecos and African cichlids. Others have reported their Midas Cichlid to kill these same tank mates.

Midas Cichlid - Breeding

Mida Cichlids are very easy to breed. Unlike many species, water quality is not an issue for breeding. Males are distinguished by a large bump on their forehead, known as a nuchal hump and this is more predominant during breeding. Males are usually larger and have longer fins. Females have a much smaller nuchal hump. They begin to breed at about 7 inches in size and do so in a typical cichlid manner. They will breed on flat surfaces of caves or rocks placed in the aquarium. The pair will both aggressively defend their “nesting” area and will move large volumes of gravel as a cleaning exercise. The nuchal hump increases in size when they are ready to breed and the females belly will increase in size, due to the fact they she may release more than 1,000 eggs. The courtship can take weeks and includes stroking the nuchal hump along the lateral line of the partner. After breeding, unfertilized eggs are eaten by the parents. The eggs hatch in two or three days and the fry can eat live food within a week. Both parents care for the young fry and aggressively defend the area from any other fish. The fry stay together in a tight group. They are grey as young juveniles and develop color later as they mature.

Midas Cichlid - Profile

  • Scientific Name: Amphilophus citrinellus

  • Family: Cichlid

  • Temperature: 23 - 33 C; 73 - 91 F

  • pH: 7.0 - 8.0

  • Size: 24 cm; 9 inches

  • Life Span: 15 years

  • Breeding: Easy, Egg Layer