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Red Tiger Motaguense Cichlid – Care & Stats

Red Tiger Motaguense

Parachromis motaguensis – better known as the Red Tiger cichlid, is a member of the Cichlidae family that originates from Central America and grows up to 30cm in length. If you want to keep the beautiful fish as pets, you’ll need a tank that holds at least 75 gallons of water and houses only the Red Tiger cichlid, as they are a non-sociable species.

Continue reading to discover the best care tips for the Parachromis motaguensis and vital statistics, including their diet requirements and breeding behaviors. With the proper care, these fish make an excellent species for your aquarium.

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What Is A Red Tiger Motaguense Cichlid?

The Red Tiger Motaguense Cichlid is a unique but aggressive breed of fish widespread through natural habitats in Central America.

This species is not as common as its cousin, the Jaguar Cichlid, and you’re unlikely to find one in your local pet store. They are, however, common among aquarists with their dazzling appearance, making them a welcome addition to many tanks.

The Red Tiger Motaguense Cichlid has an average lifespan of between ten and 13 years. The exact lifespan of this breed is hard to determine and depends on a range of factors, including its diet, tank mates, water quality, and tank size.

How Big Will A Red Tiger Cichlid Grow?

The average Red Tiger Cichlid can grow to around 30cm or 12 inches, and the males will grow larger than females. This breed reaches its full size around the age of two.

What Color Is A Red Tiger Motaguense Cichlid?

As the name suggests, this fish possesses a beautiful red pigment, though the shade and patterns of this coloration vary.

Most Red Tiger Cichlids display bright red dots that run in a line from their flanks to the caudal fin base. And the red pigmentation is more evident through the gill plates.

The female possesses more striking coloration than the males and often presents in deep shades of red and orange. When the female prepares to give birth, her colors accentuate even further as her range of shades deepens.

Where Are Red Tiger Motaguense Cichlid Fish Found?

The Red Tiger cichlid originates from Central America. They are found in multiple locations, including:

  • The Atlantic slopes of Guatemala.
  • The Motagua river basin.
  • The Pacific slope running from Naranjo river to Choluteca river.

This species spreads through various biotopes such as large streams and lakes.

What Size Tank Does A Red Tiger Cichlid Require?

The minimum tank size requirement for a Red Tiger cichlid is a 48-inch diameter with a 75-gallon water capacity. These fish are aggressive and do not combine well with other fish types. When you house Red Tiger cichlids, keep them in a tank that only has other large cichlids in it.

A single female requires a 75-gallon tank, while the minimum size for a single male is 100 gallons. You’ll want a tank with a minimum capacity of 150 gallons for a pair. The Red Tiger Cichlid is a particularly active breed that requires plenty of space.

Along with a large tank, this species requires good filtration, a pH range of 7.0 to 8.5, a dH range of 9 to 20, and a temperature of 77 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit.

What Fish Makes The Best Tank Mate For A Red Tiger Motaguense Cichlid?

The best tank mate for a Red Tiger Cichlid is… a Red Tiger Cichlid. This aggressive species does not get on well with other fish; they can even be aggressive towards fish of the same breed.

If you want to house more than one Red Tiger Cichlid in your tank, ensure that you purchase a bonded pair or allow a group of juveniles to grow up together and form their own pair. A single adult who has already established their authority will not adapt well to a new tank mate.

What Should I Feed My Red Tiger Cichlid?

The Red Tiger cichlid is a carnivorous species that enjoys a mixture of living, frozen, and flaked food. Choosing the right foods to feed this species helps them to thrive. 

Red Tiger Cichlids require more protein and fat than the average fish; they have a short digestive tract specifically designed to break down protein-rich and high-fat food sources.

The best food for your fish includes insects, crustaceans, smaller fish, aquatic invertebrates, and worms. While Red Tiger cichlids require a rich diet, it is essential to avoid overfeeding them.

What Is The Breeding Process Of The Red Tiger Cichlid?

Most Red Tiger Cichlids are egg-laying fish that spawn on a flat surface, such as a rock or leaf. The breeding process takes around two weeks, during which the female lays up to 2000 eggs for the male to fertilize.

Both parents protect the eggs until they hatch after five to seven days. A week later, these fry become free swimmers. During this time, the Red Tiger Cichlid will protect their young from any predators, but once they become free from their parents, it’s best to remove them from the tank, to avoid the parents eating them.

One of the biggest challenges in raising the fry of Red Tiger Cichlids is to prevent the aggression they display towards each other. Bonded pairs of fish will often attack any other fish in their tank, so plenty of dividers and hiding places are needed to protect all youngsters.

Care Tips For The Red Tiger Motaguense Cichlid.

The Red Tiger Motaguense Cichlid is a fairly high-maintenance fish that requires expert care. For this reason, it is not a good choice for beginner aquarists. Like many Central American species, this fish is reasonably versatile to minor fluctuations, but if you want to achieve optimum health and wellbeing for your fish, follow the tips below.

One way to ensure your Red Tiger Cichlids reach their max life expectancy is to maintain a clean tank and a high-quality diet. These are the two most significant factors in preventing possible diseases.

The native environment of the Red Tiger Cichlid is the warm, neutral waters of the Central American rivers. For this reason, they enjoy warm water that sits between 68 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit and sits at a neutral pH level.

This breed requires a stable and clean environment, but there is no need for gravel or excessive plants. A thick layer of sand substrate is perfect, with a minimal amount of decorative plants and ornaments. Live plants are often avoided as your Red Tiger Cichlid will likely dig them up.

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for a striking fish to add to your aquarium, the Red Tiger Motaguence Cichlid is a great choice. These fish become even more attractive as they age, particularly the females.

But before you purchase this species, you’ll need to ensure you have the right environment to house them and a space that they can call their own. These fish don’t play well with others and rely on you to meet the specific needs of their wellbeing.

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