Severum or Banded Cichlids
Did You Know?
The parent severums often eat the first few batches of eggs that they produce. To avoid this, you can remove the eggs and raise them separately.
hail from South America
, mainly in the northern Amazon region of Brazil and Guyana. Their scientific names are Heros Severus
and Cichlasoma Severum
with the common names being Banded Cichlid
, Hero Cichlid
, and Severum
. The most common severums are the golden severum
, green severum
, and red-spotted severum
, with the golden one developed from green severums. They have stunning bands on their scales that make them look more attractive; thus, the name Banded Cichlid.
They are usually gentle and calm, and make good tank mates with other large fish. However, they get aggressive during the spawning season. It is best if you avoid keeping them with other aggressive cichlids. Let us have a look at them in detail.INDEX*Click on the index to jump to a particular section
Severum Cichlid Profile
Common Names: Green/ Red-spotted / Golden Severum, Hero Cichlid, Banded Cichlid
Scientific Name: Heros Severus
Origin: Amazon Basin
Temperature: 75°F to 84°F (24 - 29°C)
pH: 6.0 - 7.0
Hardness: 3 - 10 dH
Temperament: Peaceful, aggressive during spawning, very aggressive when caring for its young ones
Adult Size: 8 - 12 inches
Lifespan: 10 years
Minimum Tank Size: 50 gallons
► The shape of their body is similar to that of a discus. The ventral fins are elongated.
► They can grow up to a size of almost 12 inches.
► The male and female banded cichlids are distinguishable; they have red-brown dots that is all over their body with a worm-like marking on the head of the male cichlid. The female is comparatively lighter in color and has a shorter dorsal fin.
► The juveniles have eight dark prominent bands that tend to fade away as the fish matures.
► They are peaceful as compared to other cichlids. They tend to get aggressive only during spawning or while caring for their young ones.
► They prefer soft water conditions, but can also tolerate low brackish ones.
Diet for Severum Cichlid
Severum cichlids are omnivorous creatures and feed on all kinds of foods from fish flakes and live worms to vegetables like peas, zucchini, and lettuce. Earthworms, mealworms, bloodworms, or marine crustaceans can be given occasionally. Giving them a varied diet with a mix of vegetables, pellets, and worms will keep them healthy and colorful. They grow well when fed small portions of food throughout the day. Make sure you don't overfeed your fish.
How to Breed Severum Cichlid?
► Severums are definitely not the easy type to breed. They tend to get aggressive and feed on plants, dig up gravels, and chase their tank mates during breeding.
► They are best bred in soft water conditions that replicate natural water. Maintain the water at a hardness of 50 ppm with a pH between 6 - 6.5 and temperature ranging from 78.8 - 80.6° F (26 - 27° C).
► They breed on flat surfaces, and prove to be very good and protective parents.
► They choose their own mates and establish a strong bonding with the most compatible one. They are a bit choosy when it comes to mating. You may have to try many combinations before getting a suitable and perfect partner.
► They bond by snapping their tails, locking their jaws, and in various other forms. In order to avoid quarrels among the pair, it is advisable to keep them with dither fish like giant danios (Devario aequipinnatus).
► They dig a hole or clean the flat surface or rock, of all debris on which they will lay the eggs.
► Depending on the age of the parent fish, the female lays 200 - 800 eggs which are then fertilized by the male. The fertilized eggs are light brown in color. The parent fish defend their territory intensely at such times.
► The eggs hatch usually in 3 - 5 days depending on the pH and temperature of the water in the tank. They are generally moved by the parent fish to a new pit or area. You can also remove the eggs from the tank and put them in a hatchery to raise them separately.
► Once they start swimming, you can feed them microworms, freshly hatched brine shrimp, pellets, or daphnia. The parents will care for their young ones for about 4 - 6 weeks.
Diseases in Severum Cichlid
► They are prone to infections and diseases like all other freshwater fish, the most common being freshwater ich or ick, white spot disease. It can be treated by raising the temperature of the tank to 86° F (30° C) till the time they tolerate high temperatures.
► They are also prone to skin, bacterial, fungal infections, and parasitic infestations. Make sure you do your homework on cichlids beforehand so that you know the symptoms and can treat them on time.
► Make sure you quarantine the aquarium, and clean your tank.
► Look for symptoms of HLLE (Head and Lateral Line Erosion), which is also called "hole-in-the-head". It occurs mainly due to bad water conditions. It looks like cavities or holes in the head. It may be a result of deficiency of Vitamin C, Vitamin D, calcium, and phosphorous.
Severum Cichlid Care
► If proper care is taken and appropriate water conditions are maintained, these fish can grow up to 10 - 12 inches in size and live up to 10 years.
► A minimum of 50 gallons tank with a pH of 6 - 7 is recommended for severums to thrive.
► Maintain suitable water temperature, and change the water weekly or bi-weekly.
► Filter the water regularly and maintain cleanliness as this fish is a messy eater.
► They love "hanging out" in between the plants. They prefer hideouts, rock caves, and large driftwood for spawning that lowers their aggression. Driftwood will help in lowering the pH and also give the natural look of South American rivers where they originate.
► They are not a good choice for aquariums with plants as they have a tendency to eat up almost any type of plant. It is advisable to keep fake or plastic ones in aquariums.
► Breed your severums with fish of same size and temperament. Do not mix them with aggressive ones. Separate them from other tank mates when they are mating.
► The best tank mates for the severums are the large fish and those that keep to themselves. Ropefish, Brown Hoplos, Horseface Loaches, Plecos, Geophagus and Parrot Cichlids can make for probable tank mates for Severum Cichlids.
Severum or Banded Cichlid make a good choice for first time aquarists. They are entertaining, colorful, and inexpensive, which is why, they make wonderful pets. Taking proper care will ensure good health and longevity of these fish.