Common Name: Severum, Banded Cichlid, Hero Cichlid
Scientific Name: Heros Severus
Average Adult Fish Size: 10 inches / 25.4 cm
Place of Origin: Northern Brazil Basin and Guyana.
Typical Tank Setup: S. American biotope with rockwork, driftwood / bog wood and open space.
Recommended Minimum Aquarium Capacity: 55 gallon / 220 litre for one, 75 gallon / 300 litre or larger for a pair.
Compatibility: The Severum is a peaceful fish but can be territorial, especially when breeding.
Temperature: 26 – 29 Deg C / 73 – 84 Deg F
Water Chemistry: pH 6.0 – 7.0
Feeding: It is omnivorous and will accept flakes, frozen, live, and freeze dried foods as well as vegetables. They seem to especially like frozen peas and lettuce with Romaine lettuce being a better choice than Iceberg. Be aware that Severums will eat live plants, so well placed plastic plants are a better alternative.
Sexing: Males of the species tend to be bigger, and broader over the chest. Females tend to be more pale and lack some of the face markings that the males have. The males of this species also have more pointed dorsal and anal fins in comparison to the female. While these characteristics may help an experienced hobbyist, venting is the only sure way to determine gender of juvenile fish.
Breeding: Severums are a substrate spawning species that breed on a flat surface. Both parents will protect their eggs and fry. The Severums dig a hole or clean a flat surface in the tank such as rock, on which to lay the eggs. Cichlid pairing behaviors such as lip-locking and tail-slapping typically precede the spawning and the spawn takes place over the spot the Severum have selected. To increase success in breeding, slowly lower pH to around 6.2. Once the eggs are laid and have been fertilized, they should hatch in around 3 to 5 days, depending on pH level and temperature. Fertilized eggs are light brown, and any eggs not fertilized will turn white in 1-2 days.
As for fry, you can remove the eggs from the tank and transfer them to a hatchery or, you can leave them to let the parents take care of them. Good fry foods for Severums are brine shrimp and micro worms. Note that young Severum parents will often fail at raising fry. They can fail to provide protection for the fry, or even panic and accidentally eat them. Do not be discouraged as this type of behavior is normal. It pays to be patient as juvenile fish may not be able to breed until 2 years and males won’t show the best colors for up the three years of age.
Additional Information: Severums are a beautiful fish and range from their native beautiful coloration to red, yellow, or green, and can live to be 10 years of age or more if well cared for.