Pearl cichlid stats infographicThe Pearl cichlid is an endemic cichlid species that is mainly found in southeastern Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, and northeastern Argentina, but it has now been introduced to the United States, Australia, Taiwan, and the Philippines.

The fish is also known as Acara gymnopoma, A. minuta, Chromis brasiliensis, and Chromys unimaculata in the aquarist communities. If you want to know more about this beautiful fish and its behavior, you have to keep reading this article. Taking care of a fish is not hard as long as you know what you are doing!

What is a Pearl Cichlid?

Pearl cichlid is a fish that is famous for the bright turquoise spots on its body. However, it should never be confused for being a timid fish because it is a very aggressive cichlid that is native to South America.


Common Name Pearl cichlid
Scientific Name Geophagus brasiliensis
Care Level Easy
Average Lifespan 10 to 15 years
Maximum Size 11 inches
Diet Omnivores
Breeding Type Substrate spawners
Minimum Tank Size 40 gallons


Order: Cichliformes
Suborder x
Family Cichlidae
Genera Geophagus
Species G. brasiliensis

Pearl Cichlid Care?

Taking care of this fish is very important, although it is a very hardy fish that can withstand many different water conditions. Pearl cichlid is also called Pearl Eartheater, Mother-of-Pearl Eartheater, Brasiliensis, and Brazilian Eartheater. Let’s look at how to properly care for this fish which is known by so many different names.

– Diet

Pearl cichlid get to know this breathtaking cichlid species betterFood is one of the most important parts of taking care of this fish. The good thing is that this fish is an omnivore which means that they are not picky at all when it comes to food.

The fish does require a healthy and balanced diet to get all the necessary nutrition for growth.

In the wild, they feed on insects with algae and weeds found on the substrate. Below are some food items that pearl cichlids love.

  • Carnivore and herbivore flakes
  • Sinking pellet food and stick
  • White mosquito larvae
  • Bloodworm
  • Brine shrimp
  • Mysis
  • Chopped krill and prawns

It is important to feed the fish four to five times a day in small quantities, then give large amounts of food at once. This will prevent obesity and also keep the water clean as food waste won’t accumulate in the water.

All the fish need some vitamins and minerals as it benefits their fins and overall appearance. If your tank has algae, the fish can also feed on that, so you can skip one day of the week to keep them fit.

– Water Parameters

When it comes to water parameters of the tank where the fish will be living, it is important to note that the tank must be kept steady, in addition to the water temperature to be between 75 F to 81 F. on the other hand, the pH of the water needs to be 6.0 to 7.2, and the water hardness should be 5 to 10 dH, to provide a proper home for the fish.

To make sure the water parameters are steady, there should be a water testing kit. It helps to catch any fluctuations early on so that the fish does not suffer later on.

– Lifespan

The pearl cichlid lifespan is around 10 to 15 years with proper care. The most common disease in this fish is the hole in the head, which can shorten life greatly, it is important to keep it in non-fluctuating water conditions.

The pearl cichlid lifespan is pretty long compared to much other fish, so keeping this fish will be a responsibility! The good thing is that it is easy to care for this fish.

– Common Diseases

Just like most fish, pearl cichlid suffers from some common diseases that should be looked for. The disease becomes a problem when the water quality of the tank is bad and the water parameters are not followed.

One of the most common fish diseases that pearl cichlid suffers from is ich which can be cured by using a copper-based medicine that is available on the market. Make sure to buy after asking a vet as too much copper can be bad for the fish. Other diseases to look for include, hole-in-the-head diseases, skin flukes, protozoa, worms, and other parasitic, fungal, and bacterial infections.

– Tank Setup

It is important to follow the natural habitat of the fish in the tank to make sure it stays healthy. The natural habitat of pearl cichlid is coastal drainage and standing or brackish water. Although the fish is easy to care for, it does need clean water to survive.

Since this is a larger fish, the tank size needs to be bigger as well. The juvenile fish can be kept in a smaller tank for initial years, but it is always better to get a bigger tank beforehand as transferring the fish from one tank to another is complicated work.

For one fish, the minimum tank size should be 40 gallons, but if you want to keep pairs, then the tank size should be a minimum of 84 gallons. The bigger the tank, the better it is for the fish as it will get plenty of space to swim around in. Make sure to have a proper filter according to the tank size and perform 25 percent to 30 percent water changes bi-weekly.

Although this fish is hardy, it requires clean water to survive and grow properly to make sure to clean the tank bi-weekly as well. Cleaning means vacuuming the gravel so that all the decomposing organic matter is removed. This usually results after uneaten food falls to the bottom but can also be due to other reasons.

Tank Mates

They can be kept in a group, but the male fish gets really aggressive during the spawning session, especially with other male fish, due to competition. Anyways, here are some tank mates that you can keep with this fish that is not small or aggressive. Make sure to have plenty of space in the tank if you do want to have tankmates though.

– Ideal Tank Mates

Generally, having different fish in the same tank would be really awesome, the aquarium would thrive in addition to having a peaceful atmosphere where all the fish are friendly together. That is why we provide you this list, with ideal tank mates for your pearl cichlid;

– Tank mates to avoid

Pearl cichlids are not a great fish for a community tank due to their aggressive behavior. It is best to keep them in a species tank or a tank with South American fish. These do well with other similarly sized and non-aggressive fish that are similar in some way.

It is important to make sure that you avoid adding too many male pearl cichlids in a tank as that can lead to competition and aggression.


It is possible to breed the pearl cichlid in a tank without much problem. These fish are substrate spawners, so they will reproduce on the substrate of the tank.

– Pre-breeding care

First, you will need a breeding tank in which the pair should be transferred under the same conditions as the initial tank. To make sure the fish doesn’t attack other fish during the breeding session is why you should separate them. After they have formed pairs, the male and female fish will find a flat surface or a cave where the mating will take place after they properly clean it.

– Post breeding care

After the initial cleaning process is done, the female fish will release around 150 to 200 eggs and will be fertilized. The eggs should then hatch within three to four days. The pearl cichlid is an excellent parent, as the female fish will take care of the eggs and fry, and the male fish will protect them. It is important to keep the parents with the children until they can take care of themselves in this species of fish.


1. How Big Do Pearl Cichlid Get?

Pearl cichlidPearl cichlid males get pretty big in size at around 11 inches; however, the female fish can only reach one-third or half of that length.

The length depends on their tank and conditions as well as stress can hamper their growth a lot. The fish is pretty hardy; however, make sure to provide it with a big enough tank and proper conditions to reach the maximum size. The pearl cichlid growth rate is not too fast or slow, they grow faster initially, and then the growth rate slows down by a little.


The pearl cichlid is a hardy fish that is easy to care for, so anyone can keep it. So if you want an interesting fish that is perfect for beginners and experts, you should decide to get this one. Here are some points to remember from the article.

  • Pearl cichlid is an endemic cichlid species that is mainly found in southeastern Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, and northeastern Argentina, but it has now been introduced to the United States, Australia, Taiwan, and the Philippines.
  • It can live for 10 to 15 years and grow up to be 11 inches in size, even though the female fish will be much smaller in comparison.
  • They are omnivores and eat a lot of food and algae, and they are hardy fish that only need clean water to survive.
  • Pearl cichlid can’t be kept in a community tank but in a species tank with other large fish that are not aggressive.
  • It is very easy to breed this fish in captivity.

Now you know so much about Pearl Cichlids whether it’s about their diet, lifespan, and even breeding! In conclusion, if you do decide to adopt this fish, make sure to take care of it so it can live the longest and stay healthiest.

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