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Satanoperca jurupari

Jurupari Earth Eater

Classification

Cichlidae. Subfamily: Geophaginae

Distribution

A widespread species with a range covering parts of Venezuela, Colombia, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Brazil. It’s found throughout much of the Amazon drainage, from close to its source in Peru as far as the mouth of the river in eastern Brazil. Here it’s range extends northwards into the Brazilian state of Amapá and eastern French Guiana.

Habitat

Shows a preference for slower-moving sections of rivers where the substrate is mainly composed of sand, but is also found around estuaries, coastal swamps and lagoons.

Maximum Standard Length

10″

Aquarium SizeTop ↑

48″L x 15″W x 18″H (120cm x 37.5cm x 45cm) – 203 litres

Maintenance

A sand substrate is pretty much essential for these fish, as their earth eating consists of “eating” bits of the substrate, picking through it for food then spitting it back out. Simulate the Jurupari’s natural habitat by providing plenty of wood, as overhanging branches or submerged roots. Driftwood, bogwood and mopani wood are all excellent. Failing that, provide a densely planted aquarium with lots of floating plants and the like as cover.

Water Conditions

Temperature: Warmer temperatures – 81 to 86°f (27 to 30°c)

pH: Prefer acidic (6) but can tolerate moderately alkaline water (7.8)

Hardness: Again, prefer soft water (2 to 4°dH) but can tolerate upto 14°dH.

Diet

An opportunistic omnivore consuming a wide variety of foods in nature, from small invertebrates to fruits, nuts and seeds. Jurupari will accept nearly any food offered to them. Make sure their abdomens bulge slightly after feeding however, as it is a common misperception that Jurupari are digesting – when in actual fact a lot of the time they are just chewing then spitting out. Often, a gel-based food such as Tetra Delica is needed, especially in younger fish. Feed a good, soft cichlid pellet as staple with frozen and live foods as regular variety. Also try and feed vegetable matter including vegetable/spirulina flakes and slices of weighed-down cucumber.

Behaviour and CompatibilityTop ↑

Generally a peaceful cichlid, though at the end of the day they are still a cichlid. May prey on small fish that they can fit in their mouths, like Neon Tetras. It is quite likely that when housed with other Satanopercoids, they will fight. Jurupari are a grouping fish and therefore prefer the companionship of 5 or more other Jurupari. Naturally, a huge tank (7ft at the very smallest) is required for this sort of feat.

Sexual Dimorphism

Unclear.

Reproduction

Jurupari are immediate mouth brooders, meaning that as soon as the eggs are fertilised they will take them into their mouth until they hatch – and even after that they will offer their fry the protection of their mouth. There are populations of Jurupari which have exhibited monogamous breeding behaviour, and some populations which have exhibited polygamous behaviour – so that is up for discussion with this particular species of fish.

NotesTop ↑

Satanoperca Jurupari are fairly common in the trade. However, it is equally common to find fish labelled as “Satanoperca Jurupari” (or Geophagus Jurupari) which are actually S. daemon, S. auticeps or the less common S. lilith.

Satanoperca means “Satan’s Perch” which most Jurupari keepers tend to agree is totally undeserved. As it goes, they are relatively peaceful cichlids – though do not mistake this for an inability to hold their own.

A very attractive fish which makes a great addition to any large South American aquarium.

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