Parachromis managuensis (Jaguar Cichlid)

Parachromis managuensis

Last updated on September 14th, 2022 at 04:21 pm

The Parachromis managuensis, also known as the Jaguar Cichlid, is one of the most common types of cichlids found in the Amazon River basin. In this species profile, we’ll learn about where these fish are from, how to set up their habitat, what foods they should eat, and how to best keep them safe and healthy for the long term.

Parachromis managuensis (Jaguar Cichlid) is one of the biggest and best-looking freshwater fish in the world, but with their size also comes some special care requirements that you can’t always find with other fish species. If you’re prepared to provide this unique type of cichlid with the right tank, water conditions, and proper food, though, they can be one of the most enjoyable additions to your aquarium that you could ever hope to have!

When caring for the Parachromis managuensis, there are several factors to keep in mind, especially if you want your fish to live a long and healthy life. We’ll discuss these considerations below, as well as give you some tips on how to care for and breed this beautiful species of fish.

Origin and descriptions

Parachromis managuensis

There are several dozen species of cichlids native to Central and South America, but most hobbyists are familiar with just a handful of them. One such cichlid is Parachromis managuensis, or as it’s more commonly known, the Jaguar Cichlid. This fish can be distinguished by its blackish coloration and blue-green tints on its head and back.

It was first identified in 1939 but wasn’t available in pet stores until 1984. A relatively easy fish to care for, these tropical beauties make great additions to almost any community aquarium setup. Here’s everything you need to know about caring for your new Parachromis managuensis.

The jaguar cichlid is a species of cichlid native to Central America and South America. A large fish that can grow up to 16 inches in length, it can be difficult but rewarding to keep as a pet. In an aquarium with proper care and tank size, however, these fish can live for around 10 years!

Species profile

Parachromis managuensis

The Parachromis managuensis is a fish native to Central America. This species of cichlid can be found in southern Mexico and parts of Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica. There are many common names for these fish including but not limited to: Jaguar Cichlid, Managuense Cichlid, Tiger Oscar, e.t.c.

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These fish were first described by Hubbs in 1960; however, they were misidentified as Pelvicachromis spilurus for more than 10 years after their discovery. The name was changed to Parachromis managuensis once it was discovered that they were genetically distinct from other members of Pelvicachromis genus.

These fish will grow to an average size of 16 inches at maturity; however, there have been reports that some individuals may reach lengths up to 18 – 24 inches.

Parachromis managuensis habitat

The Jaguar cichlid is a mid-water dweller, and because of its large size, it requires a very large aquarium. It lives in Rio Negro and other clear, shallow blackwater rivers. The Jaguar cichlid needs to live in water that has a pH level between 5.0 and 7.2 as well as temperatures between 75–82°F (24–28°C).

Ideally, it should be kept with sand or gravel on the bottom of its tank with rocks jutting out; however, those rocks must not be sharp enough to scratch its scales. There should also be plenty of plants in the upper layer so that sunlight does not shine directly onto their tank. Additionally, multiple fish should only be put into an aquarium if there are lots of hiding places like caves or driftwood on which they can rest or sleep.

Jaguar cichlid size

This species can grow up to 16 inches (41 cm) in length. However, there have been reports of some individuals growing up to a maximum length of 24 inches (61 cm)

Jaguar cichlid tank size

The minimum recommended tank size for this species is 378 – 473 Liters (100 -125 gallons)

Tank set up

Parachromis managuensis is a large-bodied fish and will do best in a large aquarium. Provide an aquarium that holds at least 100 gallons of water. The tank should be dimly lit and decorated with rocks, wood, and plants that can provide cover. Plant thick, live plants along all four walls of your aquarium to help it feel more natural for your fish.

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The substrate should consist of sand or fine gravel which will allow your fish easy access to their food. Rocks placed around your aquarium will create caves and other hiding spots that your jaguar cichlids require. Try to imitate their natural habitat as closely as possible so they are comfortable in their new home. If you add too many decorations, however, your pet may have trouble swimming freely within its environment.

Jaguar cichlid tank mates

It is recommended that you keep your Jaguar cichlids with fish of a similar size and temperament. You can also combine them with other large cichlids, such as convicts, peacocks, julies, and lemon cichlids. Avoid combining them with more passive fish like angelfish, guppies, or neons as these species are smaller than Jaguar cichlids and may become a quick meal.

Parachromis managuensis breeding

Parachromis managuensis

The parachromis managuensis is an egg-scatterer and is best spawned in a species tank. The female will scatter her eggs over flat rock, where they are aggressively guarded by both parents. Once hatched, the fry should be fed infusoria or liquid fry food immediately and be closely monitored to ensure that they are consuming enough food each day; initially, try not to handle them too much as they can be quite sensitive to stress.

It’s also important to remember that cichlids tend to grow very fast, so it’s crucial to make sure your aquarium has plenty of room for your fish once they reach adulthood. In terms of growth rate, if you plan on keeping these fish past about 2 years old (which you definitely should), it’s important to have at least a 240-gallon aquarium available from birth.

And finally—make sure your fish have clean water! While cichlids may naturally inhabit waters with high concentrations of dissolved minerals, our aquaria simply don’t have similar chemistry, meaning that mineral deposits build up quickly if we aren’t diligent about performing regular water changes (with de-chlorinator).

In some cases, we might even need to add a small amount of salt directly into our fishes’ tanks to help stabilize pH levels.

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Are parachromis managuensis aggressive or peaceful?

Parachromis managuensis are considered mid-level cichlids and can be fairly aggressive, especially in smaller tanks. However, if well cared for, they are generally peaceful with tank mates of similar size and temperament

Parachromis managuensis care

Parachromis managuensis

If you’re looking to properly care for a Jaguar cichlid, there are some fundamental things you need to keep in mind. For example, they’re very sensitive and delicate fish. They don’t respond well to sudden changes in water temperature or chemistry and as such must be introduced into an aquarium one at a time with plenty of room.

When caring for these guys, focus on their basic needs first and foremost. Ensure your tank is well-maintained and doesn’t contain too many nitrates/phosphates from overfeeding. Finally, make sure that your lighting schedule is sufficient and consistent so that they develop their best coloration possible.

Oh yeah—don’t forget to feed them! They will eat most food pellets available but also love live foods like bloodworms or mosquito larvae when available.

Parachromis managuensis food

Parachromis managuensis is a carnivore, which means it eats meat. You should feed your fish with live or fresh food, such as bloodworms and brine shrimp. You can also feed them with small catfish or even snails. Do not overfeed them, it’s bad for their health and can lead to death. The aquarium should contain live plants that will allow algae to grow on them – these are a natural source of nutrition for your fish.

Water parameters

Parachromis managuensis

The ideal water should have a pH of 6.0 – 7.5, a temperature of 75 – 80 degrees F, and dH of 10. The jaguar cichlid is a hardy fish that will do well in a community tank as long as they have plenty of hiding places and only males are kept in each tank. This fish is highly sensitive to ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate toxicity.

Parachromis managuensis lifespan

This cichlid species can live for around 15 years on average.

Parasites and diseases

Many cichlids from Central and South America are susceptible to flukes and other parasites, especially if they’re stressed. If you notice symptoms such as small white spots on your fish’s body or eyes, reddish skin around their genital area, or small brown spots on their gills, it could be a sign of parasites.

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Poor water quality is one common cause of stress in cichlids; look into ways you can improve your tank’s conditions. In addition, parasite medications like Praziquantel will help rid your fish of these little hitchhikers. Only give medications as directed by an expert, though! Praziquantel overdosing can kill your fish very quickly.


Their large size and impressive colors give jaguar cichlids plenty of natural defenses against predators, but they’re also fierce fighters. If you keep your jaguars in a tank with smaller fish, be prepared to remove them from the tank if a predator shows up! It’s almost impossible to save a smaller fish once your jaguar has it in its jaws.

Some common predators of parachromis managuensis are wolf eels, conger eels, lionfish, scorpionfish, and triggerfish. Many octopus species will also eat them. The only way to get rid of such a predator in your tank is by finding a way to keep it from getting into your tank. For example, you could use a glass lid on your aquarium or find one with lots of hideouts that make it impossible for a predator like an octopus to find it.

Do parachromis managuensis make good pets?

Even though parachromis managuensis is one of the most popular aquarium fish, it is not very easy to care for and should only be kept by hobbyists with a lot of time and patience. They are aggressive and can eat smaller fish; however, they can learn to live in a community tank with other large cichlids such as yellow lab cichlids or convicts if introduced into their new environment slowly, carefully, and while still young.