The Orange Chromide, also known as Etroplus Maculatus, is a popular species of cichlid fish. Fish lovers across the globe love to keep them in aquariums for their remarkable beauty and easy-to-breed qualities. It is a quiet, peaceful fish that grows around 2.7-3 inches in length.

Orange Chromide fish are native to the Indian peninsula and Sri Lanka. They are found in abundance in the Western Ghats from Maharashtra to Kerala and the northwestern provinces of Sri Lanka.

Most of the Orange Chromide fishes are naturally bred in the zone of brackish waters. However, they have also been successfully raised in freshwater reservoirs with proper care.

Orange Chromide Stats

Size: 2.7-3 inches
Strata: Middle
PH: 7.2-8.5
Diet: Omnivores
Behavior: Peaceful
Care: Moderate
Water Temperature: 71.6-78.8°F (22 -26°C)
Water Hardness: Medium. DH range: 8-12

Appearance

Orange Chromide Cichlid fish are reminiscent of a bright tangerine. They have a beautifully streamlined body with a tiny head and a mouth that resembles a human’s lips. Their little eyes are dark and have a white border outlining them. This makes them look super cute and also perpetually surprised.

Their glowing scales make them a sight to behold which is why they are popular among fish-keepers. They have translucent, spiny fins that make them quick swimmers and also compliment their streamlined bodies.

The males and the female Orange Chromides are peaceful and calm fishes, but there are some noticeable differences in their appearance. The male Orange Chromides are larger than the females and have a brighter coloration as well.

The female Orange Chromides have slightly yellowish skin that turns grayish during the breeding period. The male’s skin also turns slightly grayish in the breeding season but not as much as the female’s and not for an equally long period.

Orange Chromide can grow 3 to 3.7 inches in favorable conditions and are the smallest member of the Etropus genus group. This also makes them one of the best options for dwarf Cichlid that adds to the beauty of your aquarium.

How to Care for Orange Chromide

Since Orange Chromide can survive in a spectrum of conditions, these sparkly jewels aren’t very difficult to care for. But as with any other fish, there are some things that we need to pay close attention to.

Let’s briefly discuss the important things that you must keep in mind to care for them properly.

The most important thing that you must check is the origin of the fish. These fishes are found both in freshwaters and brackish waters. But it’s always advisable to keep them in the waters they are used to.

So if your fish is from an area of freshwater lagoons or lakes, then it’s better to fill up her aquarium with water of the same qualities. This does not mean that an Orange Chromide from freshwater lagoons will not survive in a tank filled with brackish waters, but it can affect the lifespan of your fish in the longer run.

Another thing to keep in mind is the size of the aquarium you will keep the fishes in. Experts suggest that a tank with at least 40 gallons capacity is necessary for a shoal of 6-8 fishes, and a 20-gallon capacity is adequate for a breeding pair.

When you are embellishing your tank, it is always advisable to try to see things from a fish’s perspective. The idea here is to recreate its natural habitat. Try to deploy some of your interior designing skills and put some objects like pebbles and plants in your tank. After all, tiny crevices and caves are where the fishes do all their thinking.

Plans not only decorate your aquarium, but in the case of Orange Chromides, they are a necessity. When breeding, these fishes tend to pull out the roots of plants to make a nest, so make sure to put in a sturdy plant like a Java fern.

You also need to make sure that the plants you choose must be suitable for living in alkaline conditions. And don’t forget to tie them down so that they do not get dislocated when the fishes dig their nests. They also dig holes in the ground sometimes to lay their eggs in, so you should also consider creating a sandy substrate in your aquarium.

In terms of water, the Orange Chromide is used to living in slightly warm water that ranges from 71.6-78.8°F. The aquarium’s water must have the right amount of hardness and alkalinity and should not promote the buildup of nitrates.

Orange Cichlids are negatively reactive to nitrate, which makes regular filtration necessary. You must provide the tank with a steady current and proper oxygenation. Perhaps, the most important thing is keeping the tank clean.

If you plan to keep the Orange Chromides for years to come and give them a suitable breeding environment, investing in a good quality filtration system is a wise move. An Orange Chromide’s lifespan is close to five years on average, but they can even live for up to six years with proper care and diet.

Tank Mates

The Orange Chromide is a peaceful and harmless fish. They are well-behaved and mingle with other companions in the aquarium. Even though they are omnivorous, they don’t attack other fishes.

However, small fishes are an exception to this statement as the Orange Chromide sees them as snacks. Orange Chromides also don’t do well in the company of large fishes as it makes them anxious and nervous. Medium-sized fish are a perfect companion of Orange Chromide.

So how do you decide which fish to choose a perfect tank mate? — Well, the selection of Orange Chromide’s tank mates depends on whether your fish is from freshwaters or brackish waters.

If your fish is from an area of brackish waters — juvenile Scats, Mono Angelfish, brackish water mollies can be a great companion to them.

For Orange Chromides from freshwaters — Sail-fin Molly, Swordtail, Green Chromide, Dwarf Neon Blue Rainbowfish are the ideal candidates.

Here is a shortlist of some of the fishes that can potentially be your Orange Chromide’s tank mates:

  • Green Chromide
  • Sail-fin Molly
  • Rasboras
  • Rainbowfish
  • Brackish Water Mollies
  • Mono Angelfish
  • Juvenile Scats
  • Swordtail

Proper Diet

Orange Chromide Cichlids are omnivorous fishes, and their digestive system is structured to break down all kinds of food ranging from algae and fish to crustaceans.

A fun fact about the Orange Chromide is that they act as a cleaning fish in lakes and lagoons. In a natural setting, they depend on their sister, the Green Chromide, as their primary food source and clean their skins to obtain parasites and fungi.

This is another reason why a Green Chromide is the best tankmate for an Orange Chromide as their company is mutually beneficial for each other. But don’t mistake them for being submissive to the Green Chromides as they eat their eggs too!

However, in an artificially controlled environment like an aquarium, you will have to provide adequate nutrition for the fishes to be healthy manually.

The Orange Chromides usually consume mosquito larvae, spirulina, brine shrimp, bloodworm, daphnia, mealworms, and Mysis shrimp. It’s also important to feed them green-leafy vegetables like spinach and kale too.

If arranging these items for your Orange Chromides is hard for you, you can also go for the packaged fish food. There are several brands out there that sell pellets that combine the goodness of plants and protein.

Here is a list of the food items that the Orange Chromide can eat:

  • Pellets
  • Freeze Dried Worms
  • Flakes
  • Spirulina
  • Mealworms
  • Blood Worms
  • Daphnia
  • White Mosquito Larvae
  • Mysis Shrimp
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Dried Seaweeds
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Brine Shrimp

Breeding

Breeding the Orange Chromide is very easy. They are bi-parental nest spawners and can breed both in freshwater and brackish water home aquariums. In natural conditions, they have two spawning periods every year.

The process of breeding starts with the hunt for the perfect spot. Once a pair find an ideal location, the female Orange Chromide lays about 200-300 eggs and uses that area as a nest.

The Orange Chromides are protective parents, and during this period, these friendly little fishes can act up very aggressively. They are highly protective of their eggs to the extent that they do not tolerate anyone or any fish near them. They work together in harmony and take turns in looking for food while the other parent guards and fans the eggs.

The incubation period lasts for five days or less. Throughout this period, the Chromides can be seen fanning the eggs in anticipation of seeing their offspring. During breeding, we advise increasing the temperature by 35.6F to help in effective spawning.

It takes 2 to 3 days for newly born babies to swim, but under parental guidance. The parents secrete an excess amount of mucus for the first couple of weeks after the eggs hatch, which is the primary source of nourishment for newborns.

They are excellent parents and take care of their offspring for an extended period till they can defend themselves. This is also around the time they attain sexual maturity.

It is not easy to distinguish the male and female orange cichlid during the initial growing phase, but once the fish grow up to 2.5 inches, sexual differences become visible. It’s only a few days after that for the fishes to start exhibiting their colorful features.

Common Myths About This Fish

There are several myths associated with the Orange Chromide in the western world.

Let’s bust some common myths about this beautiful species:

1. Orange Chromide Live Longer in Brackish Waters

Many believe that Orange Chromide is mainly and solely brackish water fish because they are more commonly found in brackish water lagoons. The truth is that the Orange Chromide is a unique fish that can survive in both freshwater water deposits and brackish water lagoons for an equally long time.

The only thing that can make a difference here is that if an Orange Chromide has adapted to either fresh or brackish water, interchanging their water can adversely affect their health.

2. Orange Chromide Is a Sea Fish

Orange Chromide is commonly found in estuaries, lagoons, and brackish streams in India and Sri Lanka. They belong to the Euryhaline family that is found in lagoons, brackish streams, and estuaries. They are not powerful swimmers, and strong currents can prove stressful for them, so they do not do very well in seas.

Summary

  • Orange Chromide is the smallest member of the Cichlid family.
  • They naturally occur in freshwater and brackish water lakes, lagoons, and estuaries in India and Sri Lanka.
  • They can grow up to 3 inches in length
  • Their lifespan is five to six years
  • The Male Orange Chromides have brighter orange coloration
  • They are bi-parental substrate spawners
  • The Orange Chromide pair makes their nests in the ground and guards their fry together
  • They are protective and caring parents
  • Female Orange Chromide lays up to 200 eggs, and hatching takes around five days, depending on temperature
  • They have a small-sized fry
  • They are excellent cleaners and depend on Green Chromide for food naturally
  • They are omnivores and eat both fish food and vegetable food
  • Females have white margins to their caudal fins
  • They are an easy to keep and need less grooming
  • They are calm and peaceful creatures
  • Orange Chromide is among the few cichlid species group fish that is kept in community tanks

Orange Chromide Cichlids are small species of fish that are known for their friendly nature and unmatchable beauty. Despite all their physical appeal, what makes the orange Chromide an ideal addition to your aquarium is that they’re easy to look after and almost effortless to breed.

So if you are looking for a low-maintenance fish that can add stars to your aquarium’s beauty, then the Orange Chromide is an excellent choice.

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