Amphilophus Citrinellus (Midas Cichlid)

Amphilophus citrinellus

Last updated on August 20th, 2022 at 05:12 am

Amphilophus citrinellus, or Midas cichlid, are part of the Cichlidae family of fish and originate from the Amazon River basin in South America. Due to the popularity of this fish, it’s bred in aquariums and found worldwide in the hobbyist market. In addition to being kept as pets, Midas cichlids are also kept in commercial breeding operations that supply the food and aquaculture industries with other species within the genus Amphilophus.

The Midas cichlid (Amphilophus Citrinellus) is a spectacular fish, it hails from Central America and parts of South America, where it can be found in river systems, lakes, and ponds throughout the region.

Midas cichlids, also known as the King of Tanganyika, are one of the most popular freshwater aquarium fish species in the world. Although often used as a mid-level tank mate due to their relatively small size and moderate aggression, the Midas cichlid has an aggressive personality that can make them just as likely to eat other fish as they are to make friends with them.

Origin and descriptions

Amphilophus citrinellus

Amphilophus citrinellus is a large species of fish belonging to a group of cichlids from Central America. Unlike most of their counterparts in their native habitat, Midas cichlids are unique in that they inhabit both rivers and lakes instead of living exclusively in freshwater lakes like most other members of their genus.

In addition to their striking body shape and coloration, these fish have very few natural predators due to strong teeth with which they can defend themselves very well. In fact, there are many cases where Midas cichlids have bitten off fingers if people try to catch them! However, it’s important not to fear these beautiful creatures when you see them—and make sure you never put your hand into a tank containing one unless you want it bitten off!

Species profile

Amphilophus citrinellus

Amphilophus citrinellus is an omnivorous species of cichlids that can be found in Panama. This fish originates from rivers, floodplains, marshes, ponds, and lakes in tropical regions; it thrives best when maintained at temperatures between 72 – 82 degrees Fahrenheit with a pH level of 6.5 – 7.5.

This particular species of fish is commonly kept in aquariums around the world due to its relatively hardy nature and vibrant coloration. While there are other members of its genus worth taking into consideration, amphilophus citrinellus remains one of the most popular choices for beginners due to its temperament, adaptability to various environments, and lifespans longer than many other types of freshwater aquariums.

Sciaenochromis fryeri (Electric Blue Cichlid)

Amphilophus citrinellus are common in most aquariums, where they are usually not recognized as Midas cichlids. In fact, their common name is Golden Dwarf Cichlid due to their golden-colored scales. A closely related species that goes by Amphilophus citrinellus or Midas cichlid is Amphilophus Managuense.

Both of these fish have been used for thousands of years for both food and ornamental purposes. Both species reach about 13 inches long when mature with females growing slightly larger than males. They live a fairly long life when compared to other popular fish such as gouramis, reaching 10-15 years on average while proper care has been given throughout their lives.

Midas cichlid scientific name

The scientific name of the Midas cichlid is Amphilophus citrinellus

Amphilophus citrinellum  habitat

Known as Midas or Honey Bear cichlids, Amphilophus citrinellus are one of about 10 species in the cichlid family that are endemic to Lake Xochimilco, a freshwater lake within a valley southeast of Mexico City. The basin is approximately 7 miles long by 3 miles wide, with varying depths from 15 to 75 feet.

During ancient times, when it was part of an even larger body of water known as Lake Chalco, it connected to neighboring lakes via small canals. Today it is fed by only a few springs that replenish its waters annually; none flow directly into nearby bodies of water. This isolation means there’s no regular fish migration into or out of Xochimilco—fish populations evolve independently on each side of these borders.

Midas cichlid size

This species can grow up to 14 inches (35 cm) in length.

Midas cichlid tank size

The minimum recommended tank size for a pair is 100 gallons (379 Liters). Meanwhile, a single male can be housed in 75 gallons while a single female will perfectly be okay in a 55 gallons tank.

Tank set up

Amphilophus citrinellus are active fish that need a large tank with plenty of hiding places. While juveniles will do fine in tanks as small as 75 gallons, adults require aquariums of at least 100 gallons. Midas cichlids prefer soft, slightly acidic water with a pH of 7 to 8, though they can tolerate up to pH 9.5.

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If your tap water is very hard or very alkaline, use an appropriate RO/DI unit or double-reverse osmosis unit before adding it to your tank; you might be surprised by how many minerals exist naturally in your tap water! Ideally, treat your tap water with an appropriate de-chlorinator and make sure it’s highly oxygenated prior to adding it to your aquarium.

Provide lots of open space, rocks, and plants for them to explore; Midas cichlids like caves where they can hide out during feeding time. They have big mouths and should only be kept with species smaller than themselves. They should not be kept with small saltwater fish such as damselfish and butterflyfish because they may nip their fins due to territorial reasons.

Midas cichlid tank mates

Amphilophus citrinellus are very territorial, so tank mates need to be selected carefully. They should be no larger than 1/3 of their size, or they will become dinner. Good tank mates include convicts, firemouths, jaguars, dwarf puffers, and most tetras. Obviously, you should choose non-aggressive species as well. These fish are aggressive towards other Midas cichlids, so you should have only one male per tank unless your aquarium is very large.

Amphilophus citrinellus  breeding

Amphilophus citrinellus

Amphilophus citrinellus is a relatively easy fish to breed when given proper care. In order to successfully breed them, they must be kept in an aquarium large enough to house young Midas as well as parents once they become sexually mature.

Most female Midas cichlids are capable of laying up to 2000 eggs at a time, with that many eggs being laid on average two times per year. Eggs will incubate for 7 days and hatch after 24 hours. Parents may eat their young, so it’s important not to overcrowd your tank if you want some eggs to survive long enough for you to raise a few offspring.

If you decide that you do not want any offspring from your pair of Amphilophus citrinellus, it’s best to remove all but one egg during spawning before placing them back into their main tank. This allows for a single female or male to focus on caring for eggs rather than having multiple parents distracting from each other’s duties.

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Babies will become free-swimming after 24 hours. At this point, they are also ready to eat as they have been feeding off of yolk stored in their abdomens while inside their egg. Baby feedings should be done every 1-2 hours with infusoria initially until the free-swimming fry can consume baby brine shrimp.

Baby brine shrimp can be fed every 2–3 days when the water temperature is maintained between 74–82 degrees F. The fry grows fast so frequent partial water changes may be needed for smaller aquariums to maintain proper oxygen levels within aquarium water. Amphilophus citrinellus does well at an average temperature of 75 degrees F with an optimal range being 75–81 degrees F.

Are Midas cichlid aggressive or peaceful?

Amphilophus citrinellus are aggressive fish that grow to be large, measuring around 6 to 8 inches in length. They are known for eating their young if they aren’t given enough room or their tank is too small. However, a well-maintained aquarium with ample hiding places should be big enough to house your Amphilophus citrinellus comfortably without endangering its young. This fish should never be kept with smaller fish that look like food, such as neon tetras.

Midas cichlid care

Amphilophus citrinellus

Amphilophus citrinellus is a cichlid fish known commonly as the Midas cichlid. It is one of two species in its genus and is quite possibly one of the most colorful freshwater fish on earth. While still considered a rare find within aquariums, they are becoming more readily available as they are being captive-bred by hobbyists across North America.

Amphilophus citrinellum food

These omnivorous fish primarily feed on snails, worms, and crustaceans, but they’re also known to eat small shrimp and other types of algae. Keeping Amphilophus citrinellus in your aquarium offers you a chance to observe them hunt for food as well as interact with their tank mates.

Water parameters

Amphilophus citrinellus

Amphilophus citrinellus water should have a pH of 6.0-7.0 and a temperature of 76-80 degrees Fahrenheit (24-27 degrees Celsius) are acceptable ranges for fish in captivity, with pH below 6.0 being lethal to many species, especially those native to the Amazon Basin. During routine testing, tank water should be tested frequently in order to ensure that ammonia and nitrite levels remain at 0 ppm and nitrate levels do not exceed 20 ppm for more than a day or two at most.

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Midas cichlid lifespan

This species can live up to around 10 -12 years. However, they can live longer than that with good care and perfect water conditions.

Parasites and diseases

Like other cichlids, Amphilophus citrinellus are susceptible to a number of external parasites and diseases. If you want to keep your cichlid healthy and happy, it is important to perform regular parasite control measures. Be sure to research common diseases that may affect your fish prior to purchasing them. It’s also good practice for new aquarium owners to quarantine their new fish for a period of time before introducing them into their main tank.


Though a relatively small size, Amphilophus citrinellus should still be kept in a species tank for safety. Their bright colors and large size are warnings to other fish that they will not make a good meal. Some common predators are discus, red tail sharks, catfish, and larger characins like tiger barbs.

If you do have larger fish with your Midas cichlids, you should provide them with more caves to hide from these bigger threats.

Do Amphilophus citrinellus make good pets?

Yes. The Midas cichlid, also known as Amphilophus citrinellus, is a beautiful and active fish that can make a wonderful addition to any freshwater aquarium. With proper care and housing, these colorful South American fish can be both a fascinating display animal for your tank and relatively easy to care for.