Dicrossus filamentosus, the Checkerboard cichlid, is a spectacular dwarf cichlid from South America. These slender fish are found in the upper Rio Negro and the Upper Orinoco in Venezuela, Brazil and Columbia. They inhabit very soft acid waters and require the same to thrive in the aquarium. The total territory occupied by this species is very large and there are many different regional variations in coloration and the size, shape and arrangement of the dark blotches on the sides of the fish.
Dicrossus filamentosus requires soft acid water in the aquarium. I have rarely been successful in keeping this species in harder water and have never heard of successful breeding in anything other than soft acid water. I have had best results when I keep the pH below 5.0. Except for their water demands, these fish are typical dwarf cichlids. They can be quite aggressive so be sure to provide a complex environment with lots of cover.
Dicrossus are open spawners. They will usually select a leaf or other secluded rigid structure. Females are notoriously poor parents and it can be very difficult to breed this species. One of the interesting variants of this species features females whose ventral fins turn bright red after their first spawn. Filamentosus fry are very small and need microscopic foods for their first days. Once they take newly hatched brine shrimp care and rearing become standard.
Dicrossus filamentosus is imported on a fairly regular basis and wild fish can often be found through the specialty dealers located in our buying fish section. Tank raised specimens are rarely offered for sale but with persistence you might find some.
Dicrossus filamentosus is the most commonly encountered Dicrossus species but a few other species are sporadically available. D. maculatus is the most commonly encountered but there are a number of other species that are rarely imported from their native waters.
Dicrossus make excellent community residents if kept in a lushly planted tank with a school of small tetras. In this type of set up they will provide a graceful beauty that few fish possess.