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Library > Cichlids > General Articles > Taxonomy of Cichlids > Sub Family cichlasomatiene > Genera Aequidens> Aequidens tetramerus
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Species Aequidens tetramerus  
Scientific classification
Kingdom : Animalia
Phylum : Chordata
Class : Actinopterygii
Order : Perciformes
Suborder : Labroidei
Family : Cichlidae
Sub Family : cichlasomatiene
Genus : Aequidens
Scientific Name : Aequidens tetramerus
Common Name : Saddle Cichlid
Geo Origin : AMERICA, South America, widely distributed in the Amazon River basin in Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil and Bolivia.
Diet : omnivore
Gender Differences : Dimorphic
Breeding : Substrate Spawner
Temperament : Mildly aggressive
Con specific Temperament : Highly aggressive
Standard Length: 6.5"
Total Length: 10"
Water Hardness: Medium Soft, dh range 1-13
Difficulty ; 3


It is a somewhat large size fish of about 6.5 " Amazon and Orinoco River basin.


It was first described by Heckel in 1840 and was described as Acara tetramerus, over the years it was given other names and is placed in Genus Aequidens and subfamily Cichlasomatinae.

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

Distribution & Habitat:

It is widely distributed found in Amazon River basin,in Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil and Bolivia.

They are also found in the Tocantins and Parnaíba rivers, French Guiana, Suriname, Guyana, and in the Orinoco River basin of Venezuela and Colombia.

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


It is a omnivorous's in nature, and eats small fish, deitrus .Hence it should be given similar diet in aquariums.


It is one of the larger fish in its genus with standard length(from tip of snout to begriming of tail fin) about 6.5 ".

A. rondoni has a typical tri serial pre dorsal arrangement of scales of its Aequidens with E1 scales 25 or 26.

It is known to live for 8-10 years.


Water Parameters:

This fish has a very wide distribution and is found in black water areas of Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil and Bolivia in Amazon River basin, as well Tocantins and Parnaíba rivers, French Guiana, Suriname, Guyana, and in the Orinoco River basin of Venezuela and Colombia, with a ph of 4.5-6 and dh range 3-9.

Tank Size and setup:

A. tetramerus are somewhat large sized fish and should be kept in a aquarium of about 300 liters with good filtration.

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

Tank Mates:

They are not mildly aggressive towards other species but can be highly 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. tetramerus 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 1000 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., 2003. Cichlidae (Cichlids). p. 605-654. In R.E. Reis, S.O. Kullander and C.J. Ferraris, Jr. (eds.) Checklist of the Freshwater Fishes of South and Central America.