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Please help me I.D this cichlid!


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This was advertised as a Black Belt cichlid at my lfs about a month ago and I was initially happy because Black Belt Cichlids are rarely found on Long Island, New York.

I am now starting to have doubts and am leaning towards an Hartwegi or other Vieja species.

Can anyone take a shot at my fish?

IPB Image

This is 1 month old from purchase and about 3.5".

I am hoping this is a juvenile black belt...


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G'day and welcome to ACE Forums!

The photo isn't especially clear, and the fish isn't mature yet. However, it is distinctly possible that this is a Black Belt (Vieja maculicauda).

The problems in identifying Vieja species in aquarium circulation are many - and they're amplified when trying to identify young fish. I don't know what the situation is like in New York, but here in Oz, many Viejas have been hybridised with each other either by ignorant people or folk trying to make Frankenhorns (just what I call them).

Because of this, I haven't seen what I regard to be a pure maculicauda for some years now. I would think that pure species are more readily available in America, due to more relaxed legislation for ornamental fishkeeping.

Give the little fella some time. Let him/her grow and develop into the fish he/she will be as an adult. Hang around these forums, as I am sure there's plenty else for you to teach and learn while here.

Last, but not least, pleeeeease show us photos of your fish' development over the coming months. I am keenly interested.

Hope this helps,


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I disagree (but in a friendly way) :)

This fish is too young to tell and it does actually look like a pure maculicauda should at that size.

The unfortunate thing is that almost all Vieja species look like that at that size...lol

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I disagree (but in a friendly way) smile.gif


I'll post some pics up later in the week as to why I'm thinking Zonatum; I've got one just like it. I tried google but couldn't find what i was looking for; it only has pictures of adults. :thumb

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