Geophagus Surinamensis (Red Striped Eartheater): Care, Maintenance, and Breeding

caring for red striped eartheater

Geophagus Surinamensis, also known as the Red Striped Eartheater, is a captivating species that requires specialized care, maintenance, and breeding techniques. This comprehensive guide will provide you with valuable insights into their unique characteristics and requirements.

From understanding their natural habitat to creating an ideal tank environment, we will explore various aspects of their care.

Additionally, we will discuss the importance of selecting compatible tank mates and the challenges associated with breeding this species.

Stay tuned for expert advice and tips that will help you ensure the well-being and successful reproduction of Geophagus Surinamensis.

Key Takeaways

  • Geophagus Surinamensis, also known as the Red Striped Eartheater, is a species of cichlid found in South America.
  • They require a large aquarium of at least 55 gallons and clean water with good filtration.
  • They prefer warm water with a temperature range of 76°F to 88°F (24-27°C).
  • Suitable tank mates include peaceful species like guppies, plecos, corydoras, cardinal tetras, and neon tetras.

Geophagus Surinamensis Stats

geophagus surinamensis species statistics

Geophagus Surinamensis, also known as Surinam Geophagus, is a species of cichlid belonging to the family Cichlidae. It is primarily found in the South American rivers of Saramacca and Suriname in Suriname, as well as the Marowijne River in Suriname and French Guiana. The distribution of Geophagus surinamensis is limited to these specific regions.

When it comes to feeding habits, Geophagus surinamensis is a bottom-dwelling fish that primarily feeds on detritus, small invertebrates, and plant matter. They are known to sift through the substrate, using their specialized mouthparts to extract food particles. This feeding behavior is essential for their overall health and well-being.

Understanding the distribution and feeding habits of Geophagus surinamensis is crucial for providing appropriate care and ensuring their optimal growth and development in captivity. By replicating their natural habitat and providing a diet that mimics their natural feeding preferences, we can promote their overall health and longevity.


Understanding the distribution and feeding habits of Geophagus surinamensis provides valuable insight, but it is equally important to explore the captivating appearance of this species. The color patterns and fin morphology of the Red Striped Eartheater are truly remarkable and contribute to its overall allure. Here are some key features of its appearance:

  1. Color patterns: Non-stressed Red Striped Eartheaters display neon-like linear patterns of red, blue, and green, creating a stunning visual display. These vibrant colors contrast beautifully with the darker background coloration of the fish.
  2. Fin morphology: The fins and tails of Geophagus surinamensis have light blue spotted patterns and are long and flowing. This adds to the elegance and gracefulness of their appearance, especially when they swim gracefully through the water.
  3. Red stripes: As the name suggests, the Red Striped Eartheater has distinct red stripes on its sides, further enhancing its visual appeal. These stripes are a defining characteristic of the species and contribute to its unique charm.
  4. Bottom-sifting feeding habits: The Red Striped Eartheater's feeding habits also play a role in its appearance. Its bottom-sifting behavior, where it sifts through the substrate in search of food particles, can create interesting patterns and movements, adding to the overall visual interest of the fish.

These striking color patterns and fin morphology make the Red Striped Eartheater a captivating species that stands out in any aquarium.

Geophagus Surinamensis Care Guide

caring for surinamensis cichlids

To properly care for Geophagus surinamensis, it is crucial to provide a spacious aquarium of at least 55 gallons with clean water and a suitable filtration system due to their bottom-rooting behavior.

These fish are omnivorous, with a diet that consists of both plant matter and small invertebrates. In captivity, they can be fed a variety of foods such as high-quality pellets, flakes, frozen or live foods like bloodworms, brine shrimp, and vegetables like spinach or peas. It is important to provide a balanced diet to ensure their optimal health and growth.

Geophagus surinamensis are generally peaceful and can be kept with other peaceful species. However, they may become territorial during breeding periods. They are also known to display interesting behaviors such as digging, sifting through the substrate, and creating small craters or pits in the aquarium.

Tank Mates

When choosing tank mates for Geophagus surinamensis, it is important to select species that are compatible with their peaceful nature and bottom-rooting behavior. Here are some suitable tank mates for the Red Striped Eartheater:

  1. Guppies: Peaceful guppies make good companions for Geophagus surinamensis. However, it is important to ensure that the guppies are not fin nippers, as this can cause stress to the Eartheater.
  2. Plecos and Corydoras: These bottom-dwelling catfish species are not only compatible with the peaceful nature of the Eartheater but also help keep the tank clean by consuming leftover food and algae.
  3. Cardinal Tetras and Neon Tetras: These small, colorful schooling fish can add a vibrant touch to the aquarium. They are peaceful and will not bother the Eartheater.
  4. Avoid Aggressive Species: It is crucial to avoid aggressive species, both small and large, as they can cause stress and harm to the Red Striped Eartheater.


selective animal breeding practices

Geophagus surinamensis, also known as the Surinam Geophagus, is a mouthbrooding cichlid species that requires specific conditions and careful preparation in order to successfully breed.

Breeding challenges may arise due to their reluctance to breed and their preference for specific spawning conditions. In order to encourage breeding, it is important to provide suitable spawning sites and hiding places for the breeding pairs.

The water parameters and temperature should be appropriate for breeding, with a temperature range of 76°F to 88°F (24-27°C). It is also crucial to separate the fry from the adults to ensure their survival.

Understanding the spawning behavior of Geophagus surinamensis will aid in overcoming breeding challenges and increasing the success rate of breeding this species.

Tank Size Requirements

The appropriate tank size for Geophagus surinamensis, also known as the Surinam Geophagus, is a minimum of 55 gallons. This species of fish requires a spacious environment to swim and explore, providing them with enough room to display their natural behaviors. Here are some important factors to consider when setting up the tank for Geophagus surinamensis:

  1. Tank size: A minimum tank size of 55 gallons is necessary to accommodate the adult size of the Surinam Geophagus, which can reach up to 12 inches in length. Providing a larger tank will offer more swimming space and reduce territorial disputes among individuals.
  2. Tank decorations: Incorporate a variety of tank decorations, such as rocks, driftwood, and plants, to create hiding spots and territorial boundaries. These decorations will also mimic the natural habitat of the Surinam Geophagus, making them feel more secure and comfortable.
  3. Open swimming space: While tank decorations are important, it is equally crucial to leave open swimming space for the Surinam Geophagus. This will allow them to freely swim and exhibit their natural behaviors, such as bottom-rooting and sifting through the substrate.
  4. Water parameters: Maintain clean water free of ammonia and nitrates, and ensure a good filtration system to handle the waste produced by these bottom-dwelling fish. Regular water changes and monitoring of water parameters are essential to maintain optimal conditions for the Surinam Geophagus.

Water Quality and Filtration

improving drinking water quality

To ensure the optimal care and maintenance of Geophagus surinamensis, it is crucial to prioritize water quality and filtration within the aquarium setup.

Proper water filtration provides numerous benefits for the well-being of these fish. It helps remove harmful substances, such as ammonia and nitrates, which can lead to water quality issues. Ammonia, produced by fish waste and decaying organic matter, is toxic and can cause stress, illness, and even death. Nitrates, a byproduct of the nitrogen cycle, can also be harmful in high concentrations.

Water Parameters and Temperature

Maintaining appropriate water parameters and temperature is crucial for the health and well-being of Geophagus surinamensis. Here are some important considerations for ensuring optimal conditions:

  1. Water parameters:
  • pH level: Ideally, the pH should be around 6.0 to 7.5 for successful breeding.
  • Hardness: Soft to moderately hard water is preferred, with a range of 4-15 dH.
  • Ammonia and nitrate levels: These should be kept low, as high levels can be detrimental to the fish's health.
  1. Temperature:
  • Geophagus surinamensis thrives in warm water, with a temperature range of 76°F to 88°F (24-27°C).
  • Consistency is key, so fluctuations should be avoided.

Breeding challenges:

  • Geophagus surinamensis can be challenging to breed due to their mouthbrooding behavior and specific requirements.
  • Suitable spawning sites: Provide the fish with flat stones or ceramic plates as potential spawning sites. These should be placed in secluded areas to ensure privacy for the breeding pair.

Fry Separation and Survival

surviving fry separation struggle

Fry separation and ensuring their survival is a critical aspect of breeding Geophagus surinamensis. As mouthbrooders, the parents will carry the eggs and fry in their mouths for a period of time after spawning. Once the fry are released, it is important to separate them from the adults to prevent predation and increase their chances of survival.

To convey a deeper understanding of fry development and parental care, the following table provides a summary of the key aspects involved:

Aspects of Fry Development Parental Care
Protection from predators The parents guard the fry and keep them close, ensuring their safety from potential threats.
Feeding The parents may continue to provide food for the fry through regurgitation or by guiding them to suitable food sources.
Growth and development The parents play a crucial role in the growth and development of the fry by providing them with a safe environment and necessary nutrients.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Geophagus Surinamensis Aggressive Towards Other Fish?

Geophagus surinamensis is not aggressive towards other fish and can be kept with peaceful tank mates. Suitable tank mates include guppies, plecos, corydoras, cardinal tetras, and neon tetras, as long as the guppies are not fin nippers.

What Is the Diet of Geophagus Surinamensis?

The diet of Geophagus Surinamensis consists of both plant matter and small invertebrates, making them omnivorous. They have bottom-sifting feeding habits, using their red-striped sides to sift through the substrate for food. Ideal tank conditions include clean water, good filtration, and a suitable temperature range.

How Long Does It Take for Geophagus Surinamensis Fry to Reach Adulthood?

The time it takes for Geophagus Surinamensis fry to reach adulthood can vary depending on various factors such as water parameters, diet, and tank conditions. It generally takes several months to a year for them to reach maturity. The growth rate of these fish can be influenced by factors such as temperature, feeding frequency, and quality of food.

Can Geophagus Surinamensis Be Kept in a Community Tank With Other Cichlid Species?

Geophagus surinamensis can be kept in a community tank with non-aggressive cichlid species. An ideal tank setup for G. surinamensis includes a large aquarium with clean water, good filtration, and suitable tank mates such as guppies, plecos, and tetras.

Are Geophagus Surinamensis Prone to Any Specific Diseases or Health Issues?

Geophagus surinamensis is generally a hardy species, but they can be prone to common health issues such as bacterial or fungal infections, parasitic infestations, and swim bladder disorders. Preventive measures include maintaining optimal water quality, providing a balanced diet, and regular observation for any signs of illness.


In conclusion, Geophagus Surinamensis, also known as the Red Striped Eartheater, is a fascinating species that requires specific care, maintenance, and breeding conditions. With their maximum size of 12 inches, a spacious aquarium of at least 55 gallons is necessary for their well-being. It is important to maintain clean water with appropriate filtration and consider compatible tank mates.

Breeding this species can be challenging, but with the right conditions and techniques, successful breeding can be achieved. Overall, providing optimal conditions is essential for the health and thriving of Geophagus Surinamensis.

[ANTICIPATED OBJECTION]: Some may argue that maintaining specific conditions for Geophagus Surinamensis is too demanding. However, it is important to note that providing suitable conditions for any species is crucial for their well-being and overall health. By understanding their specific requirements and dedicating the necessary time and resources, the rewards of observing these beautiful fish thrive in their environment are well worth the effort.