The managuense cichlid -- so called because it comes from Nicaragua, whose capital is Managua -- is a lively and relatively large species of the cichlid family. You may notice that your managuense cichlid goes through growth spurts until he reaches his full size.
In the first six weeks of his life, your managuense cichlid reaches a length of about three-quarters of an inch. During this growth period his parents guard him well and his growth rate is speedy, but by the time he's reached this length, his parents are ready to spawn a new batch of babies. He goes through another rapid growth spurt until he reaches about 6 inches, after which his growth slows down. At full growth a mananguense cichlid should measure between 14 and 20 inches.
You will need a tank that holds at least 75 gallons in which to keep your managuense, or a 120-gallon tank if you have other cichlid species in the aquarium. Your managuense needs slightly alkaline water that is heated to between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The managuense also has a tendency to jump out of tanks, so your aquarium should have a secure lid. Other things you'll need in the tank to keep you managuense happy are rocks and caves. In the sea, your managuense is a natural cave dweller that likes to hide. He also likes some large rocks to move around. He produces a lot of waste, so you will also need to change the water frequently and have good tank filters.
Managuense cichlids are predators. In the wild your managuense eats other fish, and you need to be careful that doesn't happen in the aquarium. You can avoid this ,according to Cichlid Infocrux, by not putting any feeder fish in the tank. Luckily, your managuense is unlikely to be a fussy eater; you should be able to happily give him freeze-dried bloodworms, plankton and cichlid pellets. David O'Connor, in his book Cichlid Fish, suggests a shrimp paste made at home with peas, gelatin and spirulina can improve coloration and growth.
Because of his predatory nature, you should keep your managuense cichlid with fish of similar size. Badman's Tropical Fish suggests keeping managuense with other south American cichlids, scavenger catfish and plecos. Apparently, he may be intolerant of fish of a similar black-and-pearl coloring. A youngster is a dull silvery-gold color with spots on his back. These spots gradually darken until they turn black and his markings resemble those of a jaguar cat, hence his alternative name jaguar cichlid.
Based in London, Eleanor McKenzie has been writing lifestyle-related books and articles since 1998. Her articles have appeared in the "Palm Beach Times" and she is the author of numerous books published by Hamlyn U.K., including "Healing Reiki" and "Pilates System." She holds a Master of Arts in informational studies from London University.