The mighty PEACOCK BASS OCCELLARIS is known from the riverine habitats of the Maroni drainage in Suriname and French Guiana, to the Essequibo drainage in Guyana. This species is a giant amongst cichlids and is really only suitable for the most substantial home aquarium installations and public aquaria. If it is to be housed in the home aquarium, this must be of vast proportions with powerful, oversized filtration to match. Substrate should consist of soft sand, as these fish are messy eaters, and it will be easier to keep clean than gravels; otherwise, they do equally as well with a bare-bottomed arrangement, which is also simple to maintain. These fish require plenty of swimming space, but some decor in the form of large pieces of bogwood and robust Anubias sp. or Java Fern mother plants cultivated on the wood will be appreciated. Rockwork can be used, but be sure it is stable, as these fish are more than capable of rearranging things – it may be wise to bond rocks together into a secure formation using aquarium silicone. Peacock Bass are voracious eaters that produce a lot of waste and require continuous excellent water conditions. To this end, filtration must be powerful and the water well-oxygenated. A frequent partial water change regime is absolutely essential as this riverine fish will not tolerate an elevated nitrate level. Several huge canister filters can be employed, but sump filtration may be more prudent as then equipment such as heaters can be kept in the sump and out of the main tank where they would be very easily damaged. The Peacock Bass is a voracious predator and will eat anything that fits in its mouth, so tankmates must be chosen very carefully. It is territorially aggressive, so is best maintained singly or as a known mated pair. Do not attempt to house more than one male in the same tank, even if it is spacious. If tankmates are desired, it is possible to house them with other large Central/South American cichlids, large armored catfish, arowana, or stingrays. To sum up: these fish are a huge commitment in terms of housing, equipment, maintenance, and longevity. Much consideration needs to be given prior to purchase to ensure its needs can be met.
Offer a varied selection of meaty foods. Smaller specimens will take bloodworm, Mysis shrimp, chopped seafood, etc. Larger specimens will enjoy earthworms, prawns, cockles, mussels, crab, crayfish, lancefish, whitebait, silversides, etc.
Bi-parental substrate spawner. In the wild, these fish spawn every 2 months, usually over a pre-cleaned flat rock in shallow waters. An astonishing 9000-15000 adhesive eggs are deposited/fertilized, and these take approximately 3 days to hatch. Once hatched, the parents move the wrigglers in their mouths to a pit dug in the substrate. The parents are highly territorially aggressive whilst protecting the eggs/fry.