Crenicichla sp. "Venezuela"Group: lugubris
Distribution: Rio Orinoco and its tributaries in Venezuela and Colombia.
Comments: this giant species has been exported out of South America for years and as with most strigata/lugubris group fish it is usually sold under the wrong name of C. strigata. The real C. strigata occurs only in eastern Brazil near the Rio Tocantins area. The real C. strigata is also a greener fish with a distinct ocellated humeral blotch. This fish does not display much of a humeral blotch. This fish requires a very large tank and clean water. Poor water quality leads to hole-in-the-head disease. Once pair bond has been established, the pair does not harm each other, but unpaired fish and sub adults are viciously intolerant of each other. Despite the name, this fish is usually exported from Colombia and the attractively colored juveniles, with the spotted heads and a prominent lateral band, are often sold as Black Line pikes. Juveniles are easy to keep and gregarious but with maturity comes an ontogenic color change and a drastic loss of aquarium manners. This is when most aquarists give up on this species. A large tank with numerous hiding places and some luck may result in a compatible pair.