Know Your Fish

All Severum Cichlid's fall under the Genus 'Heros', these fish are Native to South America. The Natural Habitat of these fish includes rivers, lakes, flooded areas with trees & vegetation under water. These fish are also known to eat fruits which fall in the waters they inhabit. There are many types of Severum Cichlids which occur naturally, few of them are Heros efasciatus, Heros severus, Heros liberifer. However in the Aquarium Hobby there are more colorful ones, these are all captive bred & due to selective breeding there are lot of variants  available like the Red Severum, Green Severum,Yellow Severum, Golden Severum. Few common names used in the Hobby are Hero Cichlid,Convict fish, Sedate Cichlid & so on. Severum can grow up to 8 inches in length. They can be kept as a pair or in a South American Cichlid aquarium with other Cichlids who share similar temperament & water parameters. I always give Severum Cichlid the size advantage over other Cichlids in a community aquarium, as these fish are semi aggressive by nature & easily take defeat if some other fish challenges & wants to takeover their territory, hence understanding their behavior & providing them with their requirements like the right tank size, tank mates, tank decoration & water parameters will only help these fish to thrive in your aquarium. 


More then 5 years, few have known to live for 10 years.

Male Severum

Most Male Severum's are Larger in size,they have pointed dorsal & cloacal fin's. In few types the Male have markings around their gill area.

Female Severum

Most Female Severum's are smaller in size, they have less marking around their gill area, the dorsal & cloacal fin is not pointed.

Severum Cichlid Aquarium Care

Severum Cichlids are some what semi-aggressive & again it depends on the personality of the fish. There are aggressive ones who don't share their tank with any fish, there are few which are well behaved in a community tank & also few which are gentle giants. Decorating a Severum Tank depends on the personality of the fish, sometimes its better to give the fish its territory in bigger tank & sometimes its best to have obstacles rather than a hiding place for the Severum to settle down & call it a territory, it all depends on the size of the tank & the tank mates selected. 

Tank Size

Minimum 50 Gallon (190 liters) for a breeding pair & 100 Gallon or bigger for community tank. The bigger the tank, the better!

Tank Decoration

Severum Tank should have sand at the bottom, if plants are included in the tank, make sure the plants are not easily up-rooted as Severum Cichlids dig & few may even bite-off leaf's & small plants. Large rocks can be used to create resting places or can be used like  obstacles in community tank's. Driftwood is a good option for Severum tank as they can create resting spots & also help maintain lower pH. 

Temperature Range

(74–84 °F or 23.3–28.9 °C)

pH Range

6.0 to 7.5 is the pH range ( there should never be drastic change's in the pH level)  

Water hardness

4 to 15 dGH

What to feed your Severum Cichlid?

Severum Cichlids are Omnivores, readily available food can be Fed which includes Pellets, Flakes, Freeze Dried Worms & they eat vegetables like cucumber, zucchini etc.

Tank Mates

I have included Severum with Jewelfish, Green terror, other types of Severum, Angelfish, Convict Cichlids. Tank mates should be the ones which share the same water parameters. In case of aggressive tank mates like Jewelfish the size advantage should be given to Severum, in case of Angelfish as tank mates size advantage should be given to Angelfish as they are less aggressive than Severum. 

Breeding Severum Cichlids

The best way to pair Golden Severum is by getting several juvenile males & females & letting them select their mate over time. Most types of Severum mature anywhere between 6 months to a year depending on lot of factors. At this stage monitor the aggression, male Severum's can get aggressive with each other defending a territory, remove the weaker male if needed. Once they pair-up, separate them & maintain higher temperature around 78–82 °F  (25.5–27.7 °C), pH should be around 6. Water change & increasing the temperature by 2 degrees triggers spawning in most Cichlids, also both male & female Severum should be well fed. The spawning is an act of jaw-lock & fin slapping, the female can lay up to 1000 eggs. The eggs can hatch in 24 to 72 hour, these fish are mouth brooders, the fry are released once they are free swimming both male & female take care of the fry. The Severum fry can be fed baby brine shrimp, mini pellets, micro worms & crushed readily available fish food like flakes. Both male & female can be kept along with these fry as these mouth brooders make excellent parents. The Severum fry can be kept with the parents for about a month after which the fry should be moved into a grow-out tank or Nursery tank. 

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