Heros efasciatus



    One of my favorite cichlids the Severum is fairly peaceful for its size. Over the years different color varieties have been bred but its temperament remains the same. He grows quite large so a good sized aquarium is a must.


Quick stats:


Listed tank sizes are the minimum
Size: Up to 12″ (30cm)
Tank: 48 inches, larger for adults
Strata: Bottom, middle
PH: 6.0 to 7.5
Hardness: Soft to medium. dH range: 4.0 – 15.0
Temperature: 75°F to 84°F (24-29°C)



Order: Perciformes
Suborder: Percoidei
Family: Cichlidae
Genera: Heros

Common name


    , Gold Severum, Hero or banded Cichlid.


    Guyana and the Northern Amazon area.

General Body Form

    1. A rather round fish, not elongated very much, with strong Lateral compression. Small mouth and the nose and forehead are steep, much like the


    . The soft part of the Dorsal and Anal fins are long and pointed and in the male the Anal fin reaches to the rounded edge of the Caudal (tail) fin. The Dorsal and Anal fins are shorter in the Female. The Ventral (side) fins in both sexes are elongated. The Severum can reach a size of almost eight inches.


    The coloration of the male and the female are basically the same, but the female is usually paler and lacks the pattern on the head. The general color in the wild form is variable but usually a Brownish to Greenish with some having a Brassy color. On the sides can be seen Eight or Nine Traverse bars, these bars are more pronounced on the young and by the time they reach maturity only the last one is still really visible, it ties together a large pale-edged Black spot on the soft rayed part of the Dorsal fin with a like spot on the Anal fin. Also on the sides each Scale seems to be marked with a Brown-Red dot giving the fish a beautiful sheen. The head of the males has a pattern of Red, Brown and Blue-Green markings. The Iris of the eyes is a distinctive Red. The Caudal fin is Yellow-Green to Gray-Green and sometimes there is a band across the base of the fin. The Ventral and Dorsal fins are dark in color and lighten to an Olive Green color in the soft areas. Now you can purchase a “Gold” version of the Severum, but in my opinion it can’t compare to beauty of the wild form.


    The Severum tank should be fairly large, a standard 55 Gal is perfect and there must be places of refuge. These can be rock caves, large pieces of driftwood or even inverted flowerpots. Heros’ like Most large species of Cichlids will dig up the substrate material, so it is best to have the plants in pots or securely fastened to the substrate. The severum like the Discus is a shy fish and should be kept with fish of similar habits. Water temperature should be between 72 and 79F. Feeding is no problem as they will accept flake, frozen and of course live. Basically the requirements of the Severum are typical of all cichlids, keeping in mind their similarity to the other large shy Cichlids.


    1. Sections of deep, calm water with submerged trees (flooded forest) in the Amazon river basin. See the

Biotope page

     for information on setting up habitat.




    The Hero is a typical open breeder, which during breeding can turn from peaceful to aggressive and will dig up your plants. Breeding should be done in a separate tank set up just for them. The substrate should be a coarse sand or gravel and be dark in color the only plants should be the floating type. You should provide plenty of hiding places, like large half flower pots of some ceramic piping. The initial pairing off can be time consuming as they seem to be very selective in their partners. You will probably have to try several combinations before a suitable pair is formed. Once a pair is formed they will breed readily and practice intense brood protection on the fry for an extended period of time. The brood are quite large and it’s not uncommon to have 1000 eggs or more in each spawn. Maintain good water quality and a temperature of at least 72°f at all times.




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