Heros notatus (Spotted Severum)

Heros notatus

Last updated on August 6th, 2022 at 07:55 am

Heros notatus (or Spotted Severum) are freshwater tropical fish native to South America, and popular freshwater aquarium species, thanks to their bright colors and peaceful dispositions. They require slightly different care than your average goldfish or betta, though with the right setup, these fish can thrive in your home just as well as they do in nature!

The Spotted Severum, also known as the Red Severum, is one of the more colorful fish varieties that you can find in the aquarium hobby. It’s fairly easy to care for, as long as you give it an environment where it feels safe and has plenty of things to do.

Heros notatus is also known as the Purple spotted severum or the red-spotted rainbow fish, and it is native to Amazon basin of South America. The Severum has become one of the most popular freshwater aquarium fish of all time and is among the easiest to care for.

Here are some tips on how to keep your Severum healthy and happy!

Origin and description

Heros notatus

The Heros notatus is one of my favorite fish. They are very active little fish that seem to be constantly on patrol looking for food or any possible threat to their territory. They are native to South America but have been introduced and are doing very well in many other parts of the world. They can be found in Costa Rica, Belize, Columbia, and several states within Mexico as well as Brazil, Peru, and Venezuela.

If you get a chance to see these fish in person they will surely impress you with their vibrant color and energetic nature. In an aquarium setting, they will remain not quite small, typically reaching less than ten inches when fully grown. In addition to being colorful, they are very active schooling fishes that really draw attention from visitors due to their activity level and overall curiosity about what’s going on around them.

They are a schooling species, so keep at least six if you want to keep them happy in your tank. Their diet should consist primarily of frozen foods such as brine shrimp or bloodworms. While live foods such as Daphnia may also be accepted if presented correctly into their environment.

These fish will likely also accept flake and pellet-type foods although live foods should always be offered first whenever possible because it’s usually healthier for most tropical fish.

Species profile

Heros notatus

A fish from South America that can grow up to 8 inches in length, the Heros notatus is an active, colorful, and peaceful fish with an adult lifespan of 8 to 10 years. It requires a minimum aquarium size of 10 gallons with many hiding places, smooth driftwood for them to chew on, plenty of live plants, and moderate water movement.

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This fish feeds on algae and will accept most aquarium foods including flake food, frozen brine shrimp, bloodworms, and tubifex worms. They are carnivores and require much smaller tank mates such as tetras, danios, or rasboras. Because they prefer cooler water, keep their temperature around 68 degrees Farenheit and do not house them with larger aggressive species. Clean your filter regularly because it may cloud your tank if left uncleaned for more than two weeks.

Heros notatus habitat

The Heros notatus originates from South America, specifically Brazil and Paraguay. To create your own habitat for these fish, you need to mimic their natural environment by creating a planted tank. This can be done by placing live plants in your aquarium as well as utilizing artificial plants.

It is important to note that aquatic plants are a necessity when creating an environment similar to their natural habitat. These fish will benefit greatly from having additional hiding spots such as driftwood or rock caves; they use these areas to hide when frightened or stressed.

In addition, it is best to create a large school of at least 10 individuals so there will always be someone around if food is present. There will also be less of a chance of losing one individual due to predation since there will always be someone around.

Heros notatus size

Male spotted severums can reach up to 8 inches, while females remain a little smaller at 6.5 inches, the maximum average length of this fish is 30 cm (12 inches). Because of their small size, you may need to house your severums in a tank that is 20 gallons or larger. It’s important to match your fish’s environment as closely as possible because they are very sensitive creatures.

Heros notatus tank size

A 20-gallon tank is big enough for one spotted severum. These fish don’t need a lot of swimming room. Maintain water quality by ensuring your tank filters are strong enough to maintain clean water. A mature severum might be able to survive in a smaller tank, but you’ll want to keep an eye on your fish if you keep it in a smaller space.

Tank set up

Setting up a tank for a spotted severum is relatively simple; it’s a great fish for beginners. The biggest things to consider are size and water quality. It will do fine in a tank of at least 20 gallons, with good filtration and water flow. It also needs plenty of open swimming space, so avoid overcrowding.

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And when setting up your tank, make sure you keep an eye on your pH balance: these fish prefer slightly acidic water (around 6.5 to 7.0). You can add plants or driftwood if you like, but they won’t be as necessary as with some other species. Just remember that adding extra decorations can lower oxygen levels in your tank, which may stress out or even kill your severum!

The aquarium should have an aquarium heater which maintains water temperature around 22°C – 26°C (72°F – 79°F) and provides enough room for both large plants and bottom feeders such as larger catfish to thrive together comfortably.

Heros notatus tank mates

Although Heros notatus can be kept alone in a 20-gallon tank, having some tank mates will make your fish feel safer, and he or she will be much happier. If you want to keep them with other severums, choose fish of a similar size that won’t bully your Hero.

You should also choose bottom-dwelling fish instead of mid-to-top-level swimmers that might nip at his fins. Other peaceful catfish species work well as companions, such as Aspidoras sp., Corydoras sp., Ctenopoma sp., Heckel discus, Peckoltia sp., Pterygoplichthys sp., Scoloplax sp. and Trichogaster spp.

Heros notatus breeding

Heros notatus

For breeding purposes, it is preferable to set up a separate tank for them. A 30 gallon tank would be sufficient for a single male and three females. Severums prefer soft water and planted tanks are also preferred by males as they can be quite territorial. Filtration should also be strong enough to remove any leftover food or fish feces that may pollute their water.

Tanks should have an abundance of caves and hiding spots, since severums are known to spawn in them. All new acquisitions should be quarantined before being introduced into your main display tank. Males will show off with intense displays if there is only one female present, but if there are more than one he will show much less frequently. Once courtship begins she will move into his cave where he will continually wash her with his caudal fin until spawning occurs.

Spawning usually lasts about ten minutes and can include anywhere from 100 to 600 eggs. The parents will clean up after their young once hatched and should be left alone unless you plan on removing all uneaten food so they don’t eat their fry later on. Males tend to take care of fry better than females do, although both parents seem relatively good at caring for them.

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Fry can be fed live brine shrimp, microworms, daphnia, and finely ground flakes until large enough to accept crushed flake foods and frozen foods. Both species reach sexual maturity around six months old but when kept in warmer temperatures, they are ready earlier than that while colder temperatures will prolong maturation time. They should grow to 6 inches long within a year, depending on what foods are available.

Feed 2 to 3 times per day whatever best suits your specific diet; diets change depending on habitat availability such as omnivores versus herbivores based on what types of plants are growing nearby.

Are they aggressive or peaceful?

Heros Severums can be very territorial and should be kept in tanks of at least 20 gallons. The aggressive behavior is especially pronounced when breeding. These fish are very combative and shouldn’t be placed in communities with timid or smaller tank mates, especially since they have a reputation for being fin nippers. In fact, they should never be kept with long-finned or slow-moving fish like bettas or gouramis.

Heros notatus care

Heros notatus

These fish can thrive in tropical aquariums that have a pH between 6.5 and 7.5, and water temperatures ranging from 73 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit. These fish can survive in freshwater or saltwater tanks; they are primarily herbivores, though they do feed on algae occasionally. Heros will eat flakes, wafers, and pellets, but you should also supplement their diet with plant matter like algae wafers or fresh vegetables once or twice a week to ensure optimum health and growth.

What they eat

The Spotted Severum is omnivorous. They have a very wide diet. Try to give them a variety of food, such as live and frozen foods, cichlid pellets and flakes, and tubifex worms. Do not feed your fish dead food because they are unable to digest it properly. If you buy one that is underfed, do not overfeed it at first because they have delicate stomachs and can easily become ill if they eat too much at once.

Water parameters

The ideal water parameters for Heros notatus are a pH of 6.5 to 7.5, Water temperature between 70 and 75 degrees F, they tolerate high or low levels but prefer moderate conditions. Use a filter in your tank as they have very small mouths and may be sucked up by filters like corydoras, plecos, etc… If you want them to grow bigger, feeding pellets is preferable over flakes and freeze-dried food is better than live worms in your water for them to eat. Avoid water plants because of their small mouths.

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Heros notatus lifespan

The Spotted Severum, a member of the family Cichlidae, can live for 8 to 12 years with proper care. They reach maturity at approximately 1 inch in length. These fish have a long lifespan because they are adaptable and tolerate a wide range of conditions.

Parasites and diseases

This little fish is prone to diseases and parasites like any other community tank fish. It is a robust fish that can tolerate high nitrates but it still needs good water quality. The only disease I have heard of happening with Severums is ich, which can be avoided with good water quality and quarantine from your local aquatic store. It’s important to treat for ich at all times, even if you don’t think it has been introduced into your tank.


As with all fish, stay away from any fish that may be a threat to these fish such as large cichlids or piranhas. Any other schooling fish will most likely be fine to keep together with your severums.

Any aggressive tank mates can make their lives very difficult and stressful. Before adding any new species of fish to your aquarium, consider researching their diet, temperament, and whether they will thrive in a community tank or need a species-only aquarium. It is always recommended that you research before purchasing any pet to make sure it is going to work well for you and your home. It may save you heartache and money in the long run!

Do they make great pets?

Yes, they do! Severums are very nice fish that are quite easy to take care of, and they make great starter fish for new aquarists. They tend to do well in a variety of water conditions, so you don’t have to worry about setting up a highly-specific environment for them to live in like you would with some other fancy or aquarium fish. All severums need is clean water and regular feeding; that’s it!