Thursday, October 13, 2011


A beautiful, spade-shaped species, the Severum is a wonderful edition to any large peaceful tank. Hailing from the northern Brazil Basin and Guyana, the Heros severus can be found in deeper, calmer waters. Surroundings include submerged trees, other vegetation including floating plants, and rocky outcrops.
          The Severum or, Heros Severus is a member of the Cichlidae or Cichlid family. It is also known as the Banded Cichlid, Eye-Spot Cichlid, Hero, or Hero Cichlid. The Severum is large for an American cichlid and thus needs a large tank. 55 Gallons min is recommended with 75 gallons being ideal for 1-2 specimens. The Severum prefers soft, acidic water; pH of 6-7 and hardness around 4 - 12 dH but they can flourish in most other conditions as well. They prefer temperatures in the 73 - 84 F range and as with all cichlids, good filtration is a must as this fish is a messy eater. It is omnivorous and will accept fish flakes, frozen, live, and freeze dried foods as well as vegetables. They seem to especially like frozen peas and lettuce. Be aware that Severums will eat your live plants, so well placed plastic plants are a better alternative. Environmentally, these fish prefer lots of rocky hideouts and caves. When conditions are good this fish can grow to over 10 inches and live for 10 years or more.

The Severum is a peaceful fish but can be territorial, especially when breeding. As always the individual personality of the fish is going to come into play here. Some Severums are well behaved, some will attack all of the other fish in your tank. Many reports from owners indicate "all bets being off" with this fish when it is breeding as tank mates who were tolerated before may now be seen as threats. Use caution and always be ready to separate the other fish from Severum cichlids if things do not go as planned.

Sexing Severum
Males of the species tend to be bigger, and broader over the chest. Females tend to be more pale and lack some of the face markings that the males have. The males of this species also have more pointed dorsal and anal fins in comparison to the female.

Breeding Severum  

The Heros Severus is a substrate spawning species that breed on a flat surface. Both parents will protect their eggs and fry. The Severum dig a hole or preferably, cleans a flat surface in the tank such as rock, on which to lay the eggs. Cichlid pairing behaviors such as lip-locking and tail-slapping typically precede the spawning and the spawn takes place over the spot the Severum have selected. To increase success in breeding, lower your pH to around 6.2. Once the eggs are laid and have been fertilized, they should hatch in around 3 to 5 days, depending on tank pH level and temperature. Fertilized eggs are light brown, and any eggs not fertilized will turn white in 1-2 days.

As for fry, you can remove the eggs from the tank and transfer them to a hatchery or, you can leave them to let the parents take care of them. Good fry foods for Severums are brine shrimp and micro worms. Note that often young Severum parents will fail at raising fry. They can fail to provide protection for the fry, or even panic and accidentally eat them. Do not be discouraged as this type of behavior/learning is normal. Juvenile fish may not be able to breed until 2 years and males won't show the best colors for up the three years of age.

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