Home | Aquarium Livestock | Vieja hartwegi – Cichlid Species Profile

Vieja hartwegi – Cichlid Species Profile

Tailbar cichlidAlso known as the Tailbar Cichlid, this particular species hails from the rivers of Central America. It frequents areas of still or slow moving waters , hiding amongst root tangles.  An uncommon fish in the hobby, we have been carrying 2″ juveniles for a little while now, along with a beautiful 6″ male in a separate aquarium that also arrived.

An omnivore, Hartwegi feeds on anything from plants to small fish and shrimp. In the home aquarium, I would recommend feeding a varied diet with the staple being greens as it will help to brighten and maintain their coloration.  Males and females both grow to close to 12″, particularly in the wild.  The males are more robust in build, and develop a much denser spangling of red throughout the body than females have.

As for aquarium size, I would recommend a 55 gallon (minimum) for growing out a group, and at least a 65 gallon for a pair of adults.  In regards to temperament, they are mildly aggressive towards other fish, but when it comes to their own they are very aggressive, and it gets worse when they are defending a spawning site.   Have a divider ready if you suspect you have a pair ready to spawn, or there will be a strong possibility you’ll end up with battered or dead fish. Broods can number from 100 to 1000 eggs, and water conditions should be kept stable, with temperature being 76 to 78 degrees, ph 7.5 to 7.8 and moderate to hard water. Provide hiding places for others in the tank to help in minimizing the brunt of the abuse that a dominant male can and will exert on tankmates.

I have read that they are very intelligent fish, and can “play games” with their owner. With the male we have here I can see some truth to that statement, as he is very anxious for interaction. I would highly recommend this species for someone looking to keep a very personable first cichlid.

Until next time,



  1. avatar

    great one.
    in the past i had a pair of Vieja hartwegi. amazing and interesting cichlid.

  2. avatar

    Are there any haitam cichlids under 7 inches.

  3. avatar

    Hello John, I’m afraid I don’t understand what type of fish you are looking for. You can visit our website at http://www.thatpetplace.com and view the adult sizes of every fish under the Specifications tab on the items website and also narrow down search results based on adult size.

  4. avatar

    My name is john too but I’m gonna say john.c and I have a secret cichlid he’s a male I’m getting a female soon they grow 26 or 27 at the most I’m gonna keep some of the babies so I can pair them off and also looking for a male vieja cichlid that grows only 10inches.

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About Jose Mendes

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That Fish Place’s resident “Cichlid Pro.” In addition to working at TFP for 13 years, Jose’s been breeding Cichlids for over 14 years and has produced over 200 different species. Jose is the man to question for everything cichlid. Check out Jose’s work in the article: Keeping and Breeding African Cichlids in Small Aquariums, and his many other contributions on cichlid husbandry, behavior, and his personal experiences with keeping cichlids from across the globe.