Aquarium Fish

Severum

posted: 05/15/12
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Severum
Courtesy of Drs. Foster and Smith
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The Severum is also known as the Banded Cichlid. The Severum has an iridescent sheen to its scales and off-white to gold background color. Black spots travel along the lower body, starting behind the pectoral fin, and a black band reaches across the caudal end of the body. A gold and a green variety are also available in the aquarium trade. The Severum is a trusting fish, and will often accept food directly from its owner's hand.

The Severum requires a 40 gallon or larger tank that is at least 40 inches long and 20 inches tall. The larger the tank the better. It prefers a lightly-planted tank with a soft bottom and a few rooted plants. Adding a few large rocks would be appropriate, as long as there is still plenty of open room for swimming. The Severum can be aggressive when spawning, and for this reason, it should only be housed with other semi-aggressive fish.

Differentiating between the male and female is very difficult. Positive identification can only be made after close examination of the genital papillae. The males normally have pointed fins and reddish-brown spots and "worm-like" markings on their heads. Females usually have a dark patch on the dorsal fin. The Gold Severum does not pair as readily as other South American Cichlids, and may take a bit longer. Providing the male with a choice of females will help. An open breeder, the female can lay as many as 1,000 eggs on rocks. The water should be mildly acidic and soft with a pH of 6.0-6.5, and a hardness of dH 5. The temperature should range from 77-82°F. The Severum carefully tends to its fry.

The Severum is a carnivore and will eat most prepared and frozen foods, including freeze-dried bloodworms, tubifex, and ocean plankton, as well as flake food and Cichlid pellets.

Ideal tank mates include similar sized: Other South American Cichlids, Plecos, Scavenger Catfish and similar sized, miscellaneous fish.

Fish Facts

Name: Severum (Heros severus)

Family: Cichlidae

Range: Northern South America, Amazon

Size: Up to 8 inches

Diet: Carnivore

Tank Set-up: Freshwater: Long, tall tank, lightly-planted, rooted plants, soft bottom, large rocks, open swimming

Tank Conditions: 73-77°F; pH 6.0-6.5; dH 5

Minimum Tank Capacity: 40 gallons

Light: Low

Temperament: Semi-aggressive

Swimming Level: Bottom

Care Level: Moderate

Reproduction: Egg Layer

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