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Parachromis managuensis

Below Parachromis managuensis, Male, in breeding dress. Photo by Sam Borstein.


Parachromis managuensis, more commonly known as the Jaguar Cichlid, is one of the most popular cichlids in the fishkeeping hobby. First typed in 1867 by Gunther, the fish has been known to science for quiet some time, with the type locality coming from Lago Managua.

This fish, along with Oscars, Red Devils, and Dovii, is one of the most popular tank busters for a few reasons. They are beautiful, and have an interesting personality.

Male get up to about 16 inches, while females stay just a bit smaller at 14 inches. Sexual maturity is reached at five inches. Males are a little bit larger than females, and have a longer fin extensions. If you are selecting juveniles from the same spawn, pick a few larger ones and a few smaller ones to ensure males and females.


The Jaguar Cichlid is native to Costa Rica, Honduras, and Nicaragua. According to Fishbase, Jaguars . . .

Inhabits lakes, preferring turbid waters and mud bottoms of the highly eutrophic lakes (Ref. 7335). Found in springs and ponds over detritus and sand bottom


The Jaguar Cichlid can be (Editors Note usually is!) aggressive. Although they will usually do fine with similarly sized fish with a like disposition, they can turn quickly on each other, and tankmates, so be cautious. If keeping a pair try to put in some decorations that only the female can fit in so she has some refuge.

Like most large fish, Jaguars create a lot of waste, so you must keep up on water changes and have strong filtration. One-third to one-half of the tank water should be changed weekly. Beware of aggressive behavior immediately after a water change.

Tempertaures should be 76F to 80F and my fish did fine in hard, Chicago water.


Jaguar Cichlids are predators in the wild, so feed what you would to a typical carnivore. Tetra Cichlid Sticks and Spectrum will keep the fish in a good condition. They especially like blood worms and earth worms, and will go crazy for live fish, althoug they are not a required part of the diet.


Jaguars are pretty easy to breed once you get a pair. The key is keeping the female in condition, and managing aggression between the male and female, as males can turn on females quickly.

The fish get very intensely colored during spawning. Anywhere from 150 to 500 eggs can be laid depending on age and size of the fish. The eggs take about four days to hatch and by ten days the fry are free swimming. Parents are usually very good at raising the fry. The fry grow quickly, and can be first fed baby brine shrimp, then crushed flake.

Retail Price

1.5" junveniles are generally under ten dollars US. Full grown adults are often inexpensive or even free to a good home. It is difficult to get rid of large, aggressive fish as they approach a foot long. A more lucrative market exists for fish in the five inch range. These fish which are approaching sexual maturity are often sought— particularly females— to replace fish which did not get along with their mates. Easy to find just about everywhere and inexpensive.

Report June 2008 by Sam Borstein.