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Library > Cichlids > General Articles > Taxonomy of Cichlids > Sub Family cichlasomatiene > Genera Aequidens> Aequidens michaeli
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Species Aequidens michaeli  
Scientific classification
Kingdom : Animalia
Phylum : Chordata
Class : Actinopterygii
Order : Perciformes
Suborder : Labroidei
Family : Cichlidae
Sub Family : cichlasomatiene
Genus : Aequidens
Scientific Name : Aequidens michaeli
Common Name : Aequidens michaeli.
Geo Origin : AMERICA, South America, Rio Amazonas basin, in the lower Rio Xingu at Altamira and Belo Monte, Brazil.
Diet : Omnivorous
Gender Differences : Dimorphic
Breeding : Substrate Spawner
Temperament : Aggressive
Con specific Temperament : Aggressive
Standard length: 5.0"
Total Length: 8"
Water Hardness: Soft, dh range 3-9
Difficulty ; 3


It is a medium sized fish of about 5 " found in Rio Xingu, Brazil, South America.


It was first described by Kullander, 1995 , and has been placed in Genus Aequidens and subfamily Cichlasomatinae.

The Genus "Aequidens" is derived from Latin words, equips+equal+dens(teeth), which roughly translates to "Fish with equal teeth".

The fish is named as michaeli for its first collector, Michael Goulding, a distinguished student of Amazonian fishes.

Distribution & Habitat:

It is found in South america, in the lower Rio Xingu at Altamira and Belo Monte, Brazil.

It is benthopelagic or swims above river bed at depths of about 1-3 m in black water rivers.


It is a omnivorous in nature, and eats small insects, fish, algae etc.


It is medium sized size fish with standard length(from tip of snout to begriming of tail fin) about 5".

It is relatively slender bodied with body depth about 45-50% of standard length.

A.Michaeli has a typical tri serial pre dorsal arrangement of scales of its Aequidens with E1 scales 24 or 25.

It is very much similar to A.epae, A. gerciliae and A. metae with which it shares stripes on its face (buccal) and dorsal scales have black margin, however it can be distinguished apart from these species by following:

  • Dark vertical bars on adults

  • Lateral band is present before mid lateral spot.

  • It has short stripes and spots on cheeks which extend onto gill cover and chest and sometimes into humeral region( shoulder).

  • Each scale above upper lateral line has a black/contrasted spot at middle margin.

  • It has 14 dorsal spines while other Aequidens species have 15 spines.

It is known to live for 8-10 years.


Water Parameters:

It is found in slow moving waters of River Xingu in Brazil with a ph of 4.5-6 and dh range 3-9.

Tank Size and setup:

A. michaeli are medium sized fish and should be kept in a aquarium of about 300 liters with good filtration.

They come from slow moving rivers so that filters should not create too much water flow in the tank.

A sand bed of fine sand and many shelters with rocks and driftwood are ideal for this fish.

Living plants are appreciated but these cichlids like to dig, therefore may uproot plants, hence protect the roots of plants with large pebbles, or tie plants like anubias and Java fern to stones or wood.

Tank Mates:

They are not very aggressive but can be very aggressive to others of same species. At breeding time the aggression increases.

Small fish should not be kept with them as it will be eaten.

They can be kept with Oscars, Rocio etc.


A. michaeli are dimorphic, and reach sexual maturity in about 9-11 months.

They lay eggs on flat surfaces and practice brood care. Both parents take care of eggs and larvae.

The females are smaller and will clean a piece of flat rock and lay 150-200 eggs.

The eggs will hatch after 2-3 days and fry will be free swimming within a week.

Fry can be fed brine shrimp. The pair will be ready to breed again if the fry are removed early.










  Sandeep Raghuvanshi
Picture Credits   Wikipdeia and other sources which have releases under GNU, unless specifically credited
Citations/Further Reading  

Froese, R. and D. Pauly. Editors. 2011.FishBase. World Wide Web electronic publication., ( 10/2013 )

Kullander, S. O. 1995 Three new cichlid species from southern Amazônia: Aequidens gerciliae,A. epae and A. michaeli. Ichthyology. Explore. Freshwater. 6(2):149-170.