Article by Gerard Delany
Species: Steatocranus casuarius
Synoma: Steatocranus casuarinus
Common name: Lionhead, Humphead Cichlid and Blockhead Cichlid
Origin: Africa: Pool Malebo (i.e. Stanley Pool) and the lower Congo River in both Republic of Congo and Democratic Republic of the Congo
Maximum size: In the wild they can grow to 10cm (Total Length)
Natural habitat: Fast flowing streams
Water chemistry in the wild: pH range: 6.0 - 8.0; dH range: 5 19
Predators: Large fish and birds
Brood size: 40-60 orange eggs
Breeding method: Cave spawner
Minimum tank size: 80cm tank
Sex ratio: 1:1 as they are best kept in pairs.
Sex differences: Males 15cm and Females 10cm growing to about 2/3 the size of the male. Sexing is easy when they are 5cm +. Females have a smaller head and don't develop the nuchal hump that males develop.
Tolerance of conspecifics: Peaceful
Tolerance of heterospecifics: Peaceful
Water chemistry in aquaria: Are tolerant of a range of pH (6.0 - 8.0). Avoid rapid changes.
Temperature range: 24°C - 28°C
Foods accepted: Good quality sinking pellets and can be supplemented with the occasional wafer.
Special requirements: Eggs hatch after four days and the fry are free swimming five days later. They are a cave spawner and hold the fry in for approximately two weeks post hatching. Any sort of pot, shell or spawning log that allows to female to fit in but also tallows het to block the male out.
Some interesting points:
- Steatocranus species live in fast flowing stream and as a result have under developed swim bladders. This allows them to maintain contact with the stream bed and rocky structure in which they inhabit.
- In the aquarium they benefit from rock structure that allows them to hop around.
- Steatocranus casuarius tend to pair for life and if one is lost the remaining one is unlikely to bond again.