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Severum Cichlid (Heros severus)

Welcome to our detailed exploration of the Severum Cichlid, a fascinating and colorful addition to any freshwater aquarium. This article delves into various aspects of the Severum Cichlid, offering insights and tips for both novice and experienced aquarists.

Severum Cichlid Facts

Scientific Name Heros severus
Common Names Severum Cichlid, Banded Cichlid
Origin Amazon Basin in South America
Size Up to 8 inches (20 cm)
Lifespan Approximately 10 years
Diet Omnivore
Temperament Peaceful but can be territorial
Water Conditions 75°F to 84°F, pH 6.0 – 7.5
Minimum Tank Size 55 gallons
Color Varieties Gold, green, orange, red
Compatibility Best with similarly sized and tempered fish
Breeding Monogamous, parental care

Severum Cichlid Profile

The Severum Cichlid, scientifically known as Heros severus, is a popular choice among aquarium enthusiasts. Native to the Amazon Basin in South America, these fish are known for their peaceful temperament and striking appearance. They can grow up to 8 inches in length and live for about 10 years with proper care.

Severum Cichlid Coloring

One of the most notable features of Severum Cichlids is their vibrant coloring. They typically display hues of gold, green, and orange, with some varieties showcasing more intense reds. Their color can vary depending on their diet, health, and breeding status.

Banded Cichlid Habitat

Banded Severum originate from the slow-moving, nutrient-rich waters of the Amazon Basin in South America. They inhabit environments with abundant vegetation and submerged wood, offering both cover and foraging opportunities. These waters typically have a soft, acidic nature with a varied substrate of sand and mud, providing an ideal habitat for these adaptable and colorful fish.

Severum Cichlid Aquarium Setup

Setting up the perfect aquarium for Heros Severus is essential for their health and happiness. This section covers everything from tank size to water parameters and decoration, ensuring you create an ideal environment for these beautiful fish.

  • Tank Size and Requirements

Severum Cichlids require a spacious tank to thrive. A minimum of 55 gallons is recommended for a single fish, with larger tanks needed for multiple fish or community setups. The tank should be equipped with a powerful filter to maintain clean and healthy water conditions, as Severums produce a significant amount of waste. Additionally, a heater is necessary to maintain a consistent water temperature.

  • Water Conditions

The water in a Cichlasoma severum tank should be slightly acidic to neutral, with a pH range of 6.0 to 7.5. The ideal temperature range is between 75°F and 84°F (24-29°C). Regular water changes, at least 25% bi-weekly, are crucial to keep nitrate levels low and maintain water quality. Using a water test kit regularly to monitor the tank’s parameters is highly recommended.

  • Substrate and Decorations

The choice of substrate is important for Severum Cichlids. A soft, sandy substrate is preferred as it mimics their natural habitat and is safe for their delicate barbels. Decorations like driftwood, rocks, and caves not only add aesthetic value but also provide essential hiding places and territories for these fish. Live plants can be included, but choose hardy species as Severums may nibble on softer plants.

  • Lighting and Filtration

While Severum Cichlids are not particularly demanding in terms of lighting, a moderate level of lighting will help showcase their colors and support live plant growth. As for filtration, a canister or hang-on-back filter with efficient mechanical and biological filtration is suitable. The filter should generate a moderate current, as Severums enjoy a gentle flow in their environment.

Severum Cichlid Breeding

Breeding heros severum cichlid can be a fascinating and rewarding experience for aquarium hobbyists. This section will guide you through setting up the right environment and understanding the spawning process to successfully breed Banded Severum.

Breeding Environment

To encourage breeding, it’s crucial to set up a dedicated breeding tank. This tank should be at least 40 gallons to provide ample space for the pair. The water conditions need to be pristine, with a slightly higher temperature range between 78°F and 84°F and a pH level maintained around 6.5. Soft, sandy substrates and flat rocks or similar surfaces are essential as potential spawning sites. Dim lighting and some cover in the form of plants or decorations can help create a more comfortable and secure environment for the breeding pair.

Spawning Process

Heros Severus are known for their distinct spawning rituals. Once a compatible pair forms, they begin the process by cleaning a flat surface, usually a rock or a piece of driftwood, where the female will lay her eggs. The female Severum can lay hundreds of eggs in a single spawning. After laying the eggs, the male fertilizes them. Both parents exhibit strong parental instincts, actively guarding and taking care of the eggs. The eggs typically hatch within 72 hours, depending on the temperature.

Post-hatching, the fry are moved to pre-dug pits in the substrate where the parents continue to guard them. Initially, the fry feeds on their yolk sacs, but after a few days, they become free-swimming and can be fed with specially prepared fry foods or finely crushed flake foods. It’s important to monitor water quality rigorously during this stage to ensure the health of the fry.

Severum Cichlid Diet & Feeding

Cichlasoma severum are omnivores and require a balanced diet for optimal health. They can be fed a variety of foods, including pellets, frozen or live foods, and vegetable matter. It is important to feed them small, frequent meals to ensure proper digestion and nutrient absorption.

Severum Cichlid Compatibility

When it comes to tank mates, Banded Severum do well with similarly sized and tempered fish. They are generally peaceful but can become territorial during breeding. Suitable companions include Blood Parrot, Texas Cichlid, Jack Dempsey, Oscar fish, Loaches, Black Skirt Tetra, Silver Dollar, Angelfish, Pleco and Barbs.

Banded Cichlid Common Diseases

Severum Cichlids, like many aquarium fish, are susceptible to common diseases such as Ichthyophthirius (Ich), fin rot, and bacterial infections. Ich manifests as white spots on the skin, while fin rot causes the fins to fray. Bacterial infections often result in cloudy eyes or ulcers. Prompt diagnosis and treatment, including improved water quality and specific medications, are crucial for recovery.


In conclusion, the Severum Cichlid is a captivating and relatively easy-to-care-for species that can bring a dynamic presence to any freshwater aquarium. With the right environment, diet, and companions, they can be a joy to watch and care for. We hope this guide helps you in creating a healthy and happy home for your heros severum cichlid.