Cichlid Room Companion
Breeding tanks

Aequidens rivulatus (Günther, 1860)

By , 1997. image

Classification: Captive maintenance, South America.

Aequidens rivulatus, photo by David Wong

I won't go into where this fish is found because I'm not a explorer and have never been on a fish expedition. I only read books to find out this kind of information so if you want to know specifically where they are from look it up. But in general, they are South American fish. I'm not sure whether this fish was ever described. I have yet to find them listed in any book. Usually the typical Aequidens sp. is listed after a picture. I have heard it being called: Gold Saum in Axelrod's Atlas, but the most widely used name is the Flametail. Named of course for their beautiful caudal fin. Their tail fin comes in arrays of colors. From white, yellow, orange, and even Red! The quality is judged usually by how dark and wide the orange edge of the fin gets. The white tailed flametail often confuses people of another fish, their closes cousin the Green Terror, Aequidens rivulatus. I have only seen the true Aequidens rivulatus once about Fifteen years ago. This fish is a completely different animal. It's shape is more like the Red Hump Eartheater, Geophagus steindachneri. Aequidens rivulatus is a very aggressive fish hence the name Green Terror. On the contrary the Flametail is not aggressive compared to most Cichlids of that size. Maximum size for males is about 12 inches! (Which I believe is the largest of the Aequidens) whereas females are about eight inches. Males if kept in groups develop a large muchal hump similar to Amphilophus citrinellum. Muchal humps are usually signs of dominance or an alpha fish in the tank. You can only achieve a muchal hump if other males are present.

This fish breeds in the typical Aequidens rivulatus manner. They find a site in open water and usually spawn on a flat stone. Other Cichlids tend to hide their nest in caves, but Aequidens don't do this. The water parameter doesn't bother this fish. It is easily spawned in soft or hard water and high or low pH. I bred this pair in 84 degrees Fahrenheit with a pH reading of 7.5 and a hardness of 5 dkh. They have extremely good parental care and spawns of up to 800 are not uncommon. Males are separated by the their beautiful reticulated tails and bright greenish white body color. Females on the other hand lack any kind of reticulation on their caudal fin and are completely olive drab in color. Some females will have a blue-green chin. I like to keep my lights on for 24 hours if I want to breed fish, being the less change the better. The fry are easily raised on Live baby brine shrimp and grow quite fast. Young fish tend to mature fast. I have had baby fish spawn at only two inches in length!

This is a truly beautiful fish, one that I keep coming back to. I hope that many of you give this fish a try I'm sure you won't be disappointed. Oh as a last comment, I have experienced bloating in males due to being fed tubifex worms excessively so be cautioned.


Wong, David. (Nov 02, 1997). "Aequidens rivulatus (Günther, 1860)". Cichlid Room Companion. Retrieved on Apr 17, 2024, from: