Geophagus Proximus – Tankmates, care and proper diet

This species is uncommon in the hobby, despite the fact that its name is frequently added to shipments of other Geophagus species.


Natural habitat

Predominantly found in the lower sections of rivers, although specimens have also been obtained from floodplain lakes in várzea areas, as well as certain permanent black water lakes, such as Lago Aman near Tefé, Brazil.  It is believed to favor clear and black water habitats over turbid ‘white’ seas, and it prefers gently sloping marginal zones surrounding coasts or islands with sand, fine gravel, and mud substrates.  Other habitat characteristics may include scattered boulders, submerged tree roots and branches, and so on, depending on location.

How to keep

The most important piece of décor is a soft, sandy substrate that allows the fish to browse normally (see ‘Diet’). Additional furnishings are as much a matter of personal preference as anything else, although the most popular configurations include rather dim illumination, as well as some driftwood and scattered roots or branches. Leaf litter is a natural component of the environment, but it is not encouraged in aquaria because the feeding behavior of Geophagus spp. causes an excess of partially-decomposed material in suspension, which not only looks unappealing but can also clog filter and pump systems. If desired, one or two flattish, water-worn boulders might be placed to give possible spawning locations. Because these cichlids are very vulnerable to decreasing water quality and fluctuations in chemical parameters, they should never be introduced to a biologically immature aquarium.

Tankmates, Compatibility and behavior

Unless it is mating, this species is very calm and will not prey on fish greater than a few centimetres in length. There are simply too many suitable tankmates to mention, but they include most calm animals that appreciate comparable environmental circumstances. Aggressive or territorial substrate-dwelling species, as well as those needing harsher water, should be avoided. Some aquarists keep Geophagus spp. with freshwater stingrays of the genus Potamotrygon, which has been effective in many cases but has led in some of them disappearing at night (!). G. proximus is sociable and prefers to congregate in loose groups unless spawning, with youngsters in particular exhibiting strong clustering tendencies. The minimum buy should be a group of 5-8 fish who will create a clear dominance structure. When kept in lower numbers, weaker specimens may become the object of excessive hostility by stronger individuals, or the group may struggle to settle and act anxiously.

Proper diet

Be a result, they are frequently referred to as ‘eartheaters,’ and the availability of a suitable substrate is critical to their long-term well-being.
When food is provided, they quickly ascend into the water column, although they continue to browse normally at other times. Small aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates, plant material in the form of seeds, organic waste, and silt make up the majority of the stomach contents of wild individuals. Even as adults, these cichlids are unable to consume bigger food items, indicating that the diet should include a variety of high quality, fine-grade prepared meals as well as small live or frozen bloodworm, Tubifex, Artemia, mosquito larvae, and so on. At least part of the dried goods should have a significant amount of vegetable matter, such as Spirulina or something similar. Homemade, gelatine-bound meals, for example, comprising a mixture of dried fish food, puréed shellfish, fresh fruit and vegetables, have been shown to work effectively and may be cut into bite-sized discs with the tip of a pointed pipette or tiny knife. Rather of a single large meal each day, feed 3-4 smaller meals throughout the day to encourage natural browsing behavior, which appears to result in the optimum development rate and condition. To find high-quality live, frozen, and dry food, use the websites below: Bloodworm, Tubifex, Artemia.



Aquaria-bred substrate-spawning, ovophilous, biparental mouthbrooder. There does not appear to be a specific trigger for the spawning process, with the primary needs being a healthy diet and a strict maintenance regimen that includes rather significant weekly water changes. Courtship is inconspicuous, consisting of fin flaring, circling, gaping, and head jerking displays, and when a pair is ready to spawn, they will choose an appropriate spot.

Spawning takes place in the normal substrate–spawning manner, with the female depositing one or more rows of eggs before the male moves in to fertilize them, a procedure that is repeated multiple times over the course of several hours. At 8-11 days of age, the fry reach 77 – 82.4°F/25 – 28°C and the parents begin to allow them to feed, initially cautiously then gradually for extended periods of time.

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