Orange Chromide / Etroplus maculatus
The Orange Chromide is found in a variety of habitats including estuaries, the lower reaches of rivers, heavily vegetated streams, and weedy lagoons, and is one of only a handful of cichlid species known from Asia. In addition to the rarely seen wild form (named for the subtle orange tones) a bright orange aquarium form is more frequently seen, occasionally labelled as Red chromide. Females of both forms can be distinguished by the white margins to the caudal fin.
These fish can be kept in either hard and alkaline freshwater or brackish water aquaria, providing they are acclimatised carefully. However, soft, acidic water must be avoided. The aquarium should be mature and as spacious as possible. There should be a soft sandy substrate and a multitude of shady hiding places/visual barriers provided amongst robust planting, rocks, driftwood, flowerpots on their sides etc whilst still maintaining an unrestricted expanse along the front of the aquarium for these active swimmers. Filtration should be efficient with moderate current and a good level of oxygenation. Frequent partial water changes are absolutely essential, as Orange Chromides are particularly sensitive to the build up of nitrate in the aquarium. This species is relatively peaceful (unless breeding) and is best kept in groups due to its gregarious nature. Smaller numbers may result in dominant individual/s picking on the weaker fish; larger groups sizes will ensure that no one fish is continually picked on, with any bickering being spread amongst the shoal. This will also result in an attractive, more natural-looking display.
Orange Chromides can be kept safely alongside many species, and choice of tank mates will depend on whether the fish are being maintained in fresh or brackish water. In freshwater aquaria, good tank mates could include danionins, rainbowfish, and rasboras, whereas those in brackish water could be kept alongside some of the larger sized livebearers such as mollies. Tiny fish may be eaten so are best avoided, likewise do not house with large, boisterous species as the chromides will become nervous. Interestingly, in the wild, juvenile Orange Chromides have been observed cleaning their larger sympatric relative, the Banded Chromide (Etroplus suratensis), in a fashion similar to that of some of the marine wrasses.
What We Like About This Fish:
- Very popular in the aquarium hobby
- Incredible coloration with maturity
- Possible to breed in the aquarium
- Compatible with many other species in a spacious tank
- Potential to be a "centerpiece" fish
RECOMMENDED TANK PARAMETERS:
- Temperature: 73.4° - 81° F (23° - 27° C)
- pH: 8.0 - 9.0
- KH: 9 - 25 dKH
- Minimum tank size: 180 gallons for a group of adults
- Diet: Mostly carnivorous. A variety of high-quality dry, frozen, and live meaty foods is necessary for optimal health and coloration. Some vegetable matter is also necessary.
- Social behavior: Gregarious with its own kind. Can be compatible with durable fish too large to be considered prey
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