Archocentrus multispinosa

(GŁnther 1867)

Rainbow Cichlid

A. multispinosa as You typically see Them in Your local petshop. Notice the difference between this image and the images (which show the same specimens) showing the fish when They are settled in. Male left, female right.

More images  HERE
Distribution and variants: Costa Rica og Honduras. No specific variants.

Male: 8-11 cm. Female: 7-8 cm.

Gender differences: Not easy to describe. See the images here and in the gallery.
Natural diet: Omnivore. Almost anything edible is taken. Filamentous algae is a large part, but also a variety of insect larvae and small crustacians are a part in the diet.
Biotopes and general behavior: Found along the banks of lakes, ponds and drainage areas, often over/among dead leaves and waterlogged branches.
Breeding type: Monogamous substrate breeder.
Temperature and Water:

24-28 deg. C. PH: 7,5- 8/DH 8-25

Feeding: Accepts almost anything, but do keep in mind that a good part of the diet should be vegetables and avoid too much fatty food.
Minimum Tank size: 128 L/80 cm.
Best kept as: Pair. In tanks longer than 1 meter, 2 pairs can be kept.
Acquisition and care: The best result is achieved, by acquiring a suitable number of juveniles, and let them pair out as they please. The more options of partners, the better chance of a harmonic pair. 6-12 is a good choice, depending on the size of the Tank (if You can already see sex-differences, 6 is probably enough) and how many pairs You aim for.
When the fish are paired off, They are best kept in the company of other tank-mates (see below), since a pair left on Their own, often develop aggression toward each other, probably because they lack somebody else to direct their inert aggressiveness towards. Regarding aggression,
A. multspinosa is not too bad though.  By comparison, they are somewhat less aggressive than most Central American cichlids, but it is still unwise to underestimate their temper, as strife may sometimes lead to fatalities, or at least serious damage.

The Tank should be decorated as a typical lake/riverbank setup, with sand or fine gravel. Cover, in the form of rocks, braches and roots, should be provided. Plants are also an option, since this species does not dig a lot. Dead leaves will add a realistic look to the decor, but keep an eye on Their degradation if there are a lot of Them!

A. multispinosa-aquarium. The other fish are T. ellioti, which actually turned out to be too dominant for the A. multispinosa to really shine. They did do well enough to breed though, and the visible male shows the typical pre-breeding colour as He keeps the T. ellioti pair at bay from the planned breeding site, placed in the Cryptocoryne bush.
Suggested tankmates: Other not too aggressive mid-size cichlids, livebearers of a fair size (so they won`t be considered food by the cichlids) and various catfish. A. multispinosa are normally not very aggressive, but will off course attempt to eat any tank mate they can swallow, and while breeding, they will try to keep any other fish away from the fry, which means, that tank mates shouls have a certain size, and be able to get away in a hurry. Loricariids are an exception, as they are mostly ignored, unless they get too close to the eggs/fry.

 Easy to breed, and a harmoneous and well-fed pair will probably be at it more or less always, since there are no special demands for water temperature or type, as long as they are within the range of normal keeping. The eggs (200-400) are positioned on a hard, usually vertical surface. They are tended to by both parents. Hatching is typicalle after app. three days. The embryo are then moved to a previously prepared pit, where They spend 3-4 days. By then Their yolk are spent and They start searching for food.
Feeding is not a problem. The ideal starter-food is newly hatched
Artemia, but in a pinch, crushed dry-flakes and cyclops nauplia will do.

It may be advantageous to keep some non-territorial tankmates with the pair, to stimulate Their parental instincts. These tankmates must off course be robust and fast enough to avoid being killed, but still not too aggressive for the parents to keep them at bay long enough to make it possible to remove the fry You want to raise.

It should though be mentioned here, that large amounts of these fish can be difficult to sell or even give away.

Pair tending eggs

The Male guarding almost free-swimming fry

Pair Guarding free-swimming fry

Closeup of the fry
Extra information: The saecies was until recently placed in the genus Herotilapia, but was moved to the current genus Archocentrus, which contains several other species, none of which bear much resemblance to A. multispinosa.