The Jaguar Cichlid


I never thought there would come a day when I could tell my friends and neighbors that I own a Jaguar! Too bad I can't drive this one around the block! This Jag is parked in a freshwater aquarium in my house!

Acquiring this particular fish was sheer chance. I had dropped by my local pet store to see what the new fish looked like for that week. The folks in the pet store know me as the guy who buys the weird and unusual fish, so they usually go out of their way to order such fish for me. But this was not a fish that has been ordered.

I am not sure if your local pet store does anything like this, but my pet store will trade out fish on occasion. What this means is if you have a fish that has outgrown your aquarium or if you have a fish that will not get along with anything else in your aquarium, they will take that fish and trade you a fish of near or equal value. They do this because usually someone like me will come in very soon and buy that fish. In this case I did.

Someone had brought this fish in and traded for it. The problem was they didn't know what they had, so they couldn't tell the pet store what they were really getting. They knew the fish was some type of cichlid, so they placed it in the oscar tank. It held it's own, and was actually hiding from the oscars. It would also hide anytime someone approached the tank. It just didn't hide quick enough when I walked by.

I asked the guy at the pet store what kind of fish it was. Looking at it, he assumed it was a peacock bass. This is understandable. It's mouth does resemble that of a bass. And up until just recently I assumed it was a peacock bass. In fact, my three year old son had already named him Billy after that annoying singing bass. But now I have found out I own a Jaguar! I also know now why it couldn't get along with any fish I placed in the tank with it.

The Jaguar cichlid is a solitary species that originates in eastern Honduras, Costa Rica, Lake Managua and Lake Nicaragua. It shouldn't be placed in a tank with anything due to it's aggressiveness and temperament. At first it shared a tank with a blood parrot, an aggressive fish in it's own right. It nearly ran the parrot to death. Next I placed it in with two oscars of about the same size, one albino and the other a fantail albino. After one day I noticed the fantail's tail had been trimmed a little, so the Jag was moved to a tank with only a pleco in it. And once or twice a day, it will notice the pleco and remind him who the tank really belongs to.

A 55 gallon tank is recommended for the Jag to grow to it's full length of one foot. Mine, however, is currently ruling a 10 gallon tank and it's around 6 inches long. Like most cichlids, it is a hearty fish. It prefers water temperature between 72 - 80 degrees with a neutral pH.

As you would guess, feeding a Jag is pretty simple. Like a lot of cichlids, it will eat nearly anything. The Jag is apparently a quick learner like the oscar. It learns to beg whenever you pass the tank, and with time, I'm sure it could be taught to take food from the hand. My Jag will eat flake flood, but it absolutely loves bloodworms.

For now, my Jag is parked in it's tank alone, because it couldn't get along with anything else. However, someday I hope to find a mate for this one. Then I can tell all my friends in neighbors that I have not one but two Jags!

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