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Geophagus mirabilis, a new South American cichlid

By Leonard Ho - Posted Jan 08, 2015 08:00 AM
Meet the newest formally described cichlid, Geophagus mirabilis. This lovely cichlid is thus far only known from central South America (rio Aripuanã drainage to be exact). This isolated location has been a hotspot for numerous endemic tropical fish discoveries over the past few decades.
Geophagus mirabilis, a new South American cichlid

Geophagus mirabilis (living specimen in aquarium). Photograph by Oliver Lucanus

Geophagus sp. are relatively mild-mannered large cichlids. They actively swim in the water column but are bottom feeders.  Therefore, they prefer fine sandy substrates to forage for food (e.g. blackworms, earthworms).  These cichlids are so efficient at bottom-feeding that they're often regarded as living vacuum cleaners.

"Geos" are not as common as other cichlids in our hobby, but they've developed a cult following for their big yet gentle personalities and their irresistible Dr. Seuss-like snout; it seems most bottom-feeders develop cult followings ... right pleco and corycat lovers?

Geophagus is a genus comprised of dozens of species.  However, the genus is still in a state of taxonomic flux, which means there is a good chance the genus will be revised in the future.  Geophagus mirabilis is formally described in the latest issue of Neotropical Ichthyology.

Author: Leonard Ho
Location: Southern California

I'm a passionate aquarist of over 30 years, a coral reef lover, and the blog editor for Advanced Aquarist. While aquarium gadgets interest me, it's really livestock (especially fish), artistry of aquariums, and "method behind the madness" processes that captivate my attention.


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