Bandit Cichlid (Guianacara geayi)

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Bandit Cichlid
Guianacara geayi
Bandit Cichlid (Guianacara geayi)
Name Bandit Cichlid
Name Lat. Guianacara geayi
Synonym Acarichthys geayi
Family Cichlids
Family lat. Cichlidae
Order Cichlids
Order lat. Cichliformes
Origin South America
Habitat Streams, ponds
Diet Omnivore
pH 6.0-7.5
Behavior Peaceful
Keeping Pair, harem
Care Level Moderate
Reproduction Cave spawner
Breeding Moderately difficult
Life Span 5-8 years
Protection No
Metric Units
Size 7-9 cm
Temperature 22-25 °C
Hardness 6-15 °dH
Aquarium 80 cm / 110 l
US Units
Size 2.8"-3.5"
Temperature 72-77 °F
Hardness 107-267 ppm
Aquarium 30 gal

Distribution and habitat

The range of the Saddleback Cichlid is the Approuague River in French Guyana and the Oyapock River basin in northeastern Brazil. There they live in small, slow-flowing streams and pools with dense riparian vegetation, roots and fallen leaves.


The aquarium should have a dense border planting, with stones, roots and caves (e.g. clay caves, halved coconuts), which offer numerous hiding places. A dark substrate of fine gravel covered with some foliage (e.g. sea almond tree), shaded light (floating plant cover) and medium hard, slightly acidic water is ideal.

No ammonia, ammonium and nitrite should be detectable, the nitrate value should not exceed 100 mg/l. To ensure the water quality and oxygen content, a filter and heater adapted to the aquarium size is required, as well as lighting for the species-appropriate day-night rhythm of the animals.


The food offer consists of live food, such as daphnia, cyclops, artemia, mysis, tubifex and red mosquito larvae, which is also accepted without problems in frozen form or a commercially available, frozen special food mixture for cichlids. Also high-quality dry food (granules, pellets) for cichlids is usually well accepted, but should not be the main component of the diet

Only as much should be fed as is eaten immediately (in a maximum of 10 minutes). Regular and varied feeding promotes health and increases resistance.

Behaviour and compatibility

They should be kept in pairs or in a harem, one male with 2-3 females. Outside the spawning season they are very peaceful. Especially the females are very territorial during the spawning season and consistently defend their territory. Keeping several pairs is only recommended in a much larger and richly structured tank. A socialization with other, not too small fish is well possible.

Basically, only compatible fish species with similar demands on water quality and water temperature may be socialized.

Sex dimorphism

The male is slightly larger and more colorful than the female and has longer, more pointed fins.

Reproduction and breeding

They are cavity breeders. Spawning females have black longitudinal and transverse bands (checkerboard). The female performs intensive brood care (mother family), while the male defends the territory. After the female spawns in a cave, the larvae hatch after about 2-3 days and are housed and guarded outside the cave in a prepared bottom pit. Often the fry are moved several times to other bottom pits until they swim freely after about 8-14 days. The school of fry continues to be guarded for some time and is also led to feeding sites in the aquarium before brood care ends.

Fry must be fed several times a day with special rearing food (Artemia nauplii). In community tanks breeding is hardly possible, because the fry are easy prey.


The foliage (sea almond tree, oak, etc.) not only provides cover, it enriches the water with humic substances, naturally lowers the pH and, as it rots, promotes the development of microorganisms that provide a valuable secondary food source.

The well-being of the fish should be monitored regularly. Temperature should be checked daily, pH, hardness and nitrate levels at least every 14 days. Regular partial water changes are recommended, even when contaminant levels have not yet reached the upper limit. Sudden changes in water quality should be avoided. Newly introduced fish must be accustomed slowly to the water in the aquarium.

Further literature can be found in your pet store.


Text: petdata; Image: Franz Lowak

Source: BMELV (1998): Tierschutzgutachten - Haltung von Zierfischen (Süßwasser); BAENSCH & RIEHL (2006): Aquarien Atlas Bd. 5, Mergus Verlag; ENGELMANN (2005): Zootierhaltung - Tiere in menschlicher Obhut: Fische, Verlag Harri Deutsch

  • Gemäß § 21 Abs. 5 Tierschutzgesetz idgF