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The Blockhead Cichlid, a rheophilic species native to the fast-flowing segments of the Lower Congo River Basin, thrives in turbulent, highly oxygenated waters. In a home aquarium, it's essential to replicate this habitat by employing additional powerheads to create a river-like effect, ensuring visible surface movement to maintain optimal oxygen levels. An extra air pump serves as a useful backup for oxygenation. Without such conditions, Blockhead Cichlids may struggle to thrive.

These cichlids are best introduced to mature aquariums with established algae growth on decor, providing essential micro-organisms for grazing. Bright lighting encourages algae growth, while a tank of at least 3 feet in length with ample hiding spots among rocks, cobbles, and bogwood is ideal.

Given their inclination to dig, a sand substrate is preferred, and securing decor ensures stability, especially when placing rocks directly on the aquarium base. Smooth rocks positioned in the flow path mimic their natural habitat, while quieter resting areas away from direct flow should also be provided. While not essential, plants such as Anubias species and Java fern can be included to enhance water quality and aesthetics.

Blockhead Cichlids are territorial and are best kept as a male-female pair, avoiding other cichlid species as tankmates. African tetras or Synodontis catfish are suitable companions. Notably, these cichlids exhibit unique behavior, often seen hopping about on the tank bottom, akin to gobies, owing to their modified swim bladder reducing buoyancy amidst strong currents.


Species: Steatocranus casuarius
Common Name: Humphead Cichlid, African Blockhead
Origin: Congo River
Diet: Omnivorous
pH Range: 6.0 – 7.8
Temperature: Tropical 25°C – 30°C
Breed Type: Egg layer
Max Size: Approximately 12cm
Sex: Un-sexed

African Blockhead -Humphead Cichlid

AU$40.00 Regular Price
AU$36.00Sale Price

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