The dwarf checkerboard cichlid, Dicrossus filamentosus, is a boldly colored dwarf cichlid from the Rio Negro with a fascinating personality and is one of Project Piaba’s featured fishes.

Dicrossus can be slightly more challenging to keep than your average Rio Negro fish and are more appropriate for experienced fish keepers. They do best in larger groups with plenty of space, 10-15 fish in a 30 to 55 gallon aquarium is appropriate, and adequate hiding spaces are necessary. They reach a size of approximately 2.5 inches, and love going in and out of little hiding spaces. Leaf litter, nut shells, broken plant pots driftwood, and plants all make for great little hideaways and when given enough of these, these fish will spend their waking hours checking out all of the nooks and crannies of your aquarium and inviting each other in and chasing each other out of their favorite spots. They will mostly stay on the bottom near the best hiding spaces but will be much more comfortable and active with smaller sized and peaceful fishes such as tetras and hatchetfish occupying the midwater space above their heads. They do great in blackwater tanks and readily accept flake food and will even pick apart algae wafers and will feed on biofilm growing on leaf litter. They benefit from the addition of live foods as well such as brine shrimp, blackworms and daphnia. These fish are a great addition to any Rio Negro biotope aquarium. 

Photo Credit: Tom Christoffersen