Crenicichla sp. Xingu 3
Distribution: Endemic to Rio Xingu
Size: 12-14 inches
Comments: Photographs of this species taken by Frank Warzel has caused quite a stir in the hobby. The image of a large pitch black female pike cichlid with a bright red saddle along the abdomen convinced a lot of would-be pike enthusiasts to jump into the fray. These fish are not easy to find in the hobby, and if you do, you will pay handsomely.
They have a large heads and eyes. The posterior portion of the iris has a characteristic golden crescent. The pitch black coloration is not commonly seen. The fish are usually very dark brown or gray. The red saddle and the black body color occurrs in females when they are "in the mood" and this is usually very early in the morning or late in the evening, during courtship. There have been no spawning reports of this fish but many hobbyists, including Mike Zebrowski of Michigan, have noticed frequent courtship behavior.
These fish are reported to prefer caves and recesses in the wild. They are also known for growing out of their friendly juvenile behavior into aggressive loners sooner than other pikes in the lugubris group. Like all lugubris group members, they require large tanks with frequent water changes. They are not too particular about water chemistry but if you wish to attempt spawning them, imitate Rio Xingu water - pH 6.5 and about 100uS conductivity.