Sunday, February 26, 2012

Wolf cichlid -parachromis, dovii, guapote, rainbow bass,

Wolf Cichlid- parachromis, dovii

Wolf Cichlid a fish by any other name this fish is called parachromis dovii, Dovii, Parachromis, Guapote, Leopard Cichlid or sport fishermen refer to this cichlid as Rainbow Bass or the Gold Bass. The name Dovii is paradoxical regarding this fish as it name implies means peace dove the Wolf Cichlid is not peaceful fish. The Wolf is playful, curious, and intelligent; this is one of the few cichlids that can be trained to be hand fed. In the areas where this cichlid is naturally occurring they are usually referred to as guapote (guapote blanco) or lagunero in Spanish and as rainbow or gold bass in English speaking regions all these names are describing just one fish and that is the wolf cichlid or in the US they are usually refereed to as dovii.

The wolf cichlid is one of the largest growing of the cichlidae family; The dovii is somewhat similar in appearance to the jaguar cichlid (Parachromis managuensis), however the dovii is larger and stockier, and a dark, solid, unbroken band runs horizontally thought the flank of the fish; in contrast jaguar cichlid possesses a series of large spots along the flank. Base color of the Wolf cichlid is gold, and well-kept specimens will take on a beautiful lavender color. They have random black spots all over their body and the young juveniles are gold with a black horizontal stripe.

Big and mean best describes this wolf cichlid. Dovii are known for their aggression, so tank mates need to compete with their temperament and size. It is recommended that these fish are kept in a large species tank with no tank mates to avoid issues. They will eat anything small enough to fit in their mouth, and will not hesitate to beat or kill more docile tank mates.

Feed pellets, frozen foods like silversides and krill, and earthworms on occasion. This fish is a substrate spawners. Wolf Cichlids are widely regarded as one of the most vicious cichlids available to aquarists; though many specimens may not live up to this reputation they are still considered wolf cichlid as extremely, strong and powerful cichlid with winning personality.

Breeding can be achieved with very little effort and no specific requirements are needed for breeding purposes. As long as water conditions are maintained at a desirable high quality, I use nitrates denitrator freshwater filtering systems in my opinion this type of filter is worth every penny what we as hobbyists fail to mention is the nitrate filter will greatly reduce the need for water changes in your fish tanks, saving you time, money, and reducing the stress on your Wolf Cichlids a breeding pair of such fish will readily spawn. The aquarium must be large 250 minimum to 500 gallon for a breeding pair of wolf cichlids. As with all members of its genus, these fish are large and heavily built cichlids that produce large amounts of body waste.

dovii Breeding/Reproduction

The Wolf Cichlid or Dovii Cichlid has been bred in captivity. They are substrate spawners and both parents will care for the young. When a pair is formed out of a group, the male should not be too hard on the female. Often times a male will excessively beat up on the female. In this case a divider with the bottom open just large enough to let the eggs be fertilized would be needed.

The female will lay over 1,000 of eggs that hatch in 5 days. The fry are free swimming in a few more days. The young can eat baby brine and other meaty preparations, and offer larger sized foods as they grow. Sort the fry by size as they grow as well, or the larger siblings will eat the smaller ones. The Wolf Cichlid is sexually mature at 10 to 14 months and will spawn about every 4 weeks.

To enhance the likelihood of acquiring a breeding pair, purchase several healthy very young and active juveniles at a young age (between 1” -2”) and grow these specimens until sexual maturity. Generally, you should have at least two breeding pairs. These fish will noticeably become more aggressive and territorial, Remove all other fish at this point and keep the newly formed breeding pair separate.

When a breeding pair had been successfully established, the male will begin to court the female by displaying his erect finnage to the female as he tries to impress her in an attempt for her to accept his mating invitation. The pair will begin to clean a flat surface if the female is responsive of the male's previous courting behavior. The female will then lay approximately 1000 - 2000 orange colored eggs which will then be fertilized by the male wolf cichlid.

The eggs will be vigorously guarded by both Dovii, parents and the amount of parental care is always shown to the eggs as well as the fry. When the eggs 'hatch' after approximately 5 -7 days as you can see in the video, both parents fan the eggs, the eggs should hatch after about 4 days into what we call "wrigglers"; the offspring (known as wrigglers in this stage in development) wrigglers cannot swim, consequently the name, and the wigglers do not need to be fed, because each wriggler has a yolk sac attached to their stomach and the wigglers feed off their yolk sack.

The wriggler stage lasts approximately 5 days, after which the fry become free swimming. Further it is not uncommon for one or both wolf parents will often transport the young into pre dug pits and are guarded the pit and again dig another pit and move the young again. Once the fry only become free swimming you will need to start feeding the fry; the best thing to feed the fry is frozen baby brine shrimp and quality high protein pellets ground to fine powder. 

The fry will begin to swim in approximately 7 days and should be fed with baby brine shrimp or alike. If you would like to rear these fry, they should be removed at this point as they will later be consumed by both parents as the female becomes due to spawn once more. Feed the fry baby brine shrimp until the stage where they are large enough to consume white worm, daphnia and other live foods.

When you purchase your young wolf fish in an attempt to acquire a breeding pair, try to buy fish from different sources. There is a high probability that when buying fish from the same source, fish will be from the same parents (siblings). Breeding fish in this manner may form offspring with genetic disorders usually associated with interbreeding; always buy your young wolf fish are of a similar size.

dovii Aquarium

The aquarium should be large (250 gallons or 947.35295 liters or 500 gallons or 1892.7059 liters) for a breeding pair of wolf cichlids. As with all members of this genus, these fish are large and heavily built cichlids that are aggressive and highly territorial. Decor could be kept to a minimum in such an aquarium and sand or fine gravel should be used as the main substrate. If you desire some landscaping either glue rock together or use a very large flower pots placed on it side if you want to include caves for female Dovii; for the substrate use many pieces of flat slate or rock should also be included for the female to lay her eggs upon; remember this fish is a digger and prefers to rearrange their habit. Include large moss balls or ping pond balls this is highly intelligent fish and suffer from extreme curiosity and boredom always leads to aggression.

wolf cichlid Care and Feeding   

The wolf cichlid or dovii is a carnivore, a predator that feeds on primarily other smaller fish, along with crustaceans and insects in the wild. In the aquarium they can have a pellet base foods but must be supplemented with fish, shrimp, earthworms, and other meaty foods; they prefer floating foods according to one fish keeper. Consider only feeding them frozen, since live fish can carry disease, unless you are willing to grow a ton of feeders on your own.

Keep in mind that giving them live foods makes them much more aggressive naturally. Fed them no more than 3 times a day and feed them only enough food they can eat in 5 minutes. Then do not feed them for 1.5 to 2 days once every other week this is the same as in the wild. Further this will keep the water quality higher over a longer time. All fish require vitamins and supplements added to their foods.

Remember this is a big cichlid that requires a lot of free swimming space, a tank of over 120 gallons is suggested for their long term care. Ideally 150 gallons for a female and 200 gallons for a male should be provided and over 300 gallons if you attempt to breed them. They need good water movement along with strong and efficient filtration. The female wolf cichlid requires and needs many hiding places to protect herself from the male wolf cichlid.

Provide lots of rocks, bog wood and tunnels to dig under with sandy or fine gravel substrate. Put large heavy rocks on the glass, not on the substrate because they dig under everything and falling rocks can crack your glass aquarium and scratch your acrylic tank. Glue desired rock formations together or your Wolf Cichlid will have other plans for your perfectly placed rock tower, just leave some rocks and stuff for them to move that where the large moss ball and ping pong balls come in; Decorating with tough plants is also possible, though strong light levels can cause algae growth. Do water changes of Water changes of 20 - 40% up to twice a week, give or take depending on your water quality.

dovii Diet

The Parachromis are not fussy eaters and will readily accept most food substances offered. Cichlid pellets are a good daily food. Diet should be varied however. Offer a variety of insect, including white worms, crickets (for larger specimens). Chopped meat can also be offered along with frozen finely chopped chicken no bones, frozen halibut, frozen salmon, frozen krill, small/medium silkworms are for medium and large aquarium fish of all types of cichlids excellent for Oscars, Cichlids, Large Angelfish, Barbs and many more; according to many animal experts, Silkworms are one of the healthiest insects you can feed your fish and other pets. Silkworms are low in fat content, are a high source of Calcium, Protein, Iron, Magnesium, Sodium and Vitamins B1, B2, and B3. Silkworms; do provide the essential variety required to maintain healthy cichlids. but never beef heart (due to its high fat content) along with prawn, wheat germ,  Hikari Tropical Food Sticks and high quality pellet carnivore food.
Supplement your meat-eating fish's diet with this complete nutritional package. Carnivore diets generally lack a lot of necessary elements. Food Sticks fill in the remaining gaps by providing a full assortment of essential vitamins and minerals to promote health and enhance coloration and (/frozen) Silversides frozen fish. Frozen fish is a much preferred method of feeding fish as many "feeder fish" carry the risk of the introducing disease into your aquarium, possibly harming your breeding wolf cichlid. I can speak to this I feed my Moray Ells and my Ribbon Ells feeder fish and approximately year they would die when I stopped feeding (feeder fish) to my ells and only frozen fish I’m happy to say they are doing fine and are now approximately eight year old.


Females tend to be smaller than males but in some cases can grow just as big or as bigger than their spawn mates. The gold/yellow coloration is more prominent in the females, especially during courtship, breeding and raising fry. The male's dorsal and ventral fins are also much more elongated than the female's. Males tend to have more spots and will take on a beautiful lavender color comport varies on individual females or males and situations but aggression is usually to be expected during courtship and spawning periods.

Water chemistry

pH of 7.0 - 8.0 preferably;
Temperature of 23.9-27.8°C (75 -82 °F)
Water Hardness 15-20 °d

Stocking Ratio
1:1 M:F

Size of Wolf Cichlid
65-72 cm (25.6-30.") This fish grows to a length of 30" (72 cm).

Pellet Foods
Flake Foods
Live Food

Life Span Wolf Cichlid
8-12 years

Wild Wolf Cichlid Habitat
Central America


Parachromis dovii
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Parachromis dovii
Scientific classification
Kingdom:       Animalia
Phylum:           Chordata
Class:             Actinopterygii
Order:             Perciformes
Family:            Cichlidae
Subfamily:      Cichlasomatinae
Genus:            Parachromis
Species:         P. dovii
Binomial name
Parachromis dovii
(G√ľnther, 1864)


The dovii cichlids are subject to infections as well as other diseases that ail all freshwater fish. One common problem is Ich. It can be treated with the elevation of the tank temperature to 86° F (30° C) for 3 days. If that does not cure the Ich, then the fish needs to be treated with copper (remove any water conditioners). Several copper based fish medications are available for Ich. Copper use must be kept within the proper levels, so be sure to follow the manufacturer’s suggestions. A copper test can be used to keep the proper levels. You can also combine increasing the temperature with an Ich medication treatment. Intestinal disease can be treated with metronidazol.

Wolf Cichlid Water Region: Top, Middle or Bottom: These fish will swim in the middle areas of the aquarium.

Social Behaviors:    This is not a community fish, it is a predator that is territorial and aggressive and even more aggressive when spawning. The Wolf Cichlid can be kept alone, or as a mated pair. Other Wolf Cichlids in the tank will be killed by the dominant male.

This fish can only be kept with larger fish that have the same temperament and cannot be swallowed. The Wolf Cichlid will even try to consume a larger fish that is mellower than it by ripping it to pieces if it cannot swallow it whole. The mixed aquarium must be hundreds of gallons with rocks used to form natural territory borders and lots of hiding places for the other fish. It is not suggested to house them with any other fish and they are best served in a species specific tank. If you live in a warm area, they can be kept in a pond.

Sexual Differences: Males are larger, and the females are mostly yellow.

Availability:  The Wolf Cichlid or Dovii Cichlid are sometimes available online and sometimes in fish stores. They will run about $10.00 USD for 2” very young dovii juveniles and if you raise dovii you too should sell at 1.5" to 2".

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Deanna Balestra said...

What an impressive breed! I've been wanting to find out more about these fish for some time and was happy to find your detailed article. Upon reviewing it seems I would need a much larger tank than I have now so thank you for these tips. The Wolf Cichlid is very properly named as it seems to overtly aggressive! It is very primitive looking as well, it's a very interesting fish!

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