How to Keep Your New Peacock Bass
Aqualand's inside scoop on Cichla ocellaris (maybe)
Name: The peacock part of their name refers to the ocellaris (eye) they grow on their tails. The bass part refers to their general small-mouth bass-like body. They are much more active than our large-mouth bass. If given the chance, they will leap out of the water after their food (not a good trick to teach them). They jump up and grab non-living fishes, but invariably spit them out and sulk at you. By the way, they are not bass. They are cichlids, not centrarchids.
Many of our aquarium fishes come from the Amazon River and its
tributaries. Down south, they consider them food fish and game
fish. If you like, you can arrange fishing safaris for peacock bass
and larger meals. Peacock bass grow large enough that they do not fit in
normal aquaria or in normal frying pans.
Fish Farm Peacocks: Tilapia fish farmers add peacock bass to their ponds to eat up any accidental spawnings that always occur. Tilapia farmers try to raise male only cultures but with a million fish population, there will always be females that pop up. Tilapia that concentrate on breeding grow three to four inches long. Tilapia that concentrate on eating grow to about a pound. The peacock bass help the tilapia control their population and thus grow larger faster.
Size: Most peacock keepers get them when they measure under two inches. They can be touchy at this size and usually try to hide. They prefer to eat live foods but can often be coaxed to eat cichlid pellets. Beware. Those little guys grow into large lunkers.
Tank Size: You can start the little guys in 10-gallon tanks. You cannot keep them in 10-gallon tanks. Think in terms of a 55-gallon or larger aquarium. Peacock bass grow larger than oscars, but they are not nearly as common. There is a reason. Peacock bass like to jump out. Keep yours covered or it will escape. Baby peacock bass also cost about twice as much as baby oscars.
Attitude: Like oscars, peacock bass will sulk -- maybe even longer than oscars. They also love to eat live fish and California blackworms. Unlike oscars, they will not gulp just any thing you toss in their tank. Peacocks often lock onto one particular food and turn up their noses at the varied diets we try to provide.
Reduce Shyness: Little predators instinctively know that big fish eat little fish. They try to hide when not in their parent-protected schools. You can entice them to come out by adding a faux school of equal size livebearers. They get along great. Your peacock bass will come front and center right along with their tank mates.
Cover Your Peacock: We mentioned it earlier but think we need to mention the intention of the peacock bass is to leap out of the water. The bigger the fish, the more they like to jump.
More about Shyness: Large peacock bass do not always want to come forward and show off. Perhaps they do not trust you? Or maybe your camera scares them?
Few people should try to keep these lunkers. Peacock bass get big
and hard to keep. But if you keep a large peacock bass, you have a
real show fish. LA
L. Risigan, February 8, 2012
Mr. Larry Arnold, I would like to start off by thanking you for such a great and informative site! It has helped me a lot in the past and I have gone through literally every single page. My reason for writing this letter is about your page about Peacock Bass. You said on your site that you can keep these fish in a tank 55 gallons or larger. Most people who keep these fish will say that you need at least a 180 gallon tank, as a minimum! P bass are some of the largest fish in the hobby, and quite commonly top 2 feet in length. If you would be so kind, could you change the tank requirements for this page to better suit this fish?
A: I've had lots of little peacock bass but only one really large one. I'll add your info to my peacock page. Thanks for your input. LA
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