Geophagus Altifrons Care, Size, Tankmates & Types (2023)

Scientific nameGeophagus Altifrons
OriginSouth America
Temperature79°F – 82°F
water parameters4.8 – 6.6 pH
Size8.9 inches

Table of contents

Geophagus Altifrons Care, Size, Tankmates & Types (1)

Geophagus Altifron's Facts

  • The name geophagus means earth eater and altifrons means high tail. They were named for their properties.
  • Geophagus Altifrons likes to search the substrate for food. When searching, they pick up the substrate with their mouths.
  • There are many variations of Geophagus Altifrons.

Geophagus altifrons are one of the most popular native aquarium fish because of their beautiful iridescent coloration. Their bodies range from tan to grey, with iridescent bands and dots. The iridescence ranges from golden orange to blue-green. These markings are also visible on their transparent fins. Give them the glow look. They can grow quite large, up to 8.9 inches in captivity, with some owners reporting growing much larger.

Geophagus Altifrons don't really have a common name. They are sometimes referred to as Earth Eater Cichlids, but this refers to the translation of their scientific name. Geo means earth, phagus means eater. Altifrons means high tail. These descriptive words combine to give the scientific name Geophagus Altifrons. These fish were selectively bred to show different color variations within the species.

Geophagus Altifron's care

Geophagus Altifrons is considered a hardy fish and is easy to care for if you are a beginner in aquaristics. The most important thing you need to do to keep your Geophagus Altifrons is to make sure you have the right aquarium setup so they can live and thrive.

tank requirements

Geophagus Altifrons require a tank that is at least 55 gallons. They are hardy fish that do well in a mature tank. They require a temperature of 79F to 82F and a pH of 4.8 to 6.6. When setting up a tank for Geophagus Altifrons, you should carefully study their natural habitat and model your aquarium accordingly.

food and nutrition

Geophagus altifrons are called eartheaters because they pick up morsels of substrate to sift through in search of food. This is something you need to consider when setting up a tank for Geophagus Altifrons. They must choose fine sand or gravel so they don't hurt themselves trying this. Geophagus Altifrons thrive best on high-quality sinking pellets, but they also do well on a varied diet of spirulina and flake food.

(Video) The Ultimate Centerpiece Fish: Geophagus altifrons Care and Breeding

Geophagus Altifrons Care, Size, Tankmates & Types (2)

Geophagus altifrons size and lifespan

Adult Geophagus Altifrons can grow up to 8.9 inches in captivity, but in the wild they can get much larger at around 12 inches. Owners of Geophagus Altifrons have said their fish grew to over 8.9 inches in captivity, but their growth rate and longevity are directly related to how well they are cared for. Geophagus Altifrons can live up to 10 years or more with proper care.


When setting up a tank for Geophagus Altifrons, you should keep in mind that they are fish that spend most of their time at the bottom of the aquarium. They are

Called eartheaters because they scoop up morsels of substrate to sift through for food. When choosing the substrate, you should use fine gravel or sand. Make sure your aquarium offers plenty of spots for your Geophagus Altifrons to root through the substrate, so make sure a large chunk of the substrate is available for them. Because of this, Geophagus Altifrons prefer a shell that is longer than taller.

How to create the ideal tank setup for Geophagus Altifrons

Creating the ideal tank setup for Geophagus Altifrons simply means looking at their natural habitat and modeling their tank based on those conditions. You should make sure you choose a fine sand or gravel substrate so they can sift through it to find their food. Geophagus Altifrons are native to the Amazon Basin, spending their time among the slow-moving streams foraging through the substrate for food.

Can I keep Geophagus Altifrons in a planted tank?

Geophagus Altifrons like to sift through the substrate for food, which means they will sometimes uproot plants in your tank. It has been suggested by Geophagus Altifrons owners who have successfully kept Geophagus Altifrons with plants that you cover the base of the plants with large flat river rocks to keep them from getting too close to the roots of the plant.

Geophagus Altifrons breeding

When Geophagus Altifrons are ready to spawn, you can see the male digging and creating small craters in the substrate. Once finished, he will try to lure the female to the sites he has prepared. Once the female Geophagus Altifrons releases her eggs and the male fertilizes them, one of the parent fish takes her eggs in her mouth. The eggs hatch in about 3 days.

How Do Geophagus Altifrons Breed?

Geophagus altifrons are mouthbrooders. This means that one of the parent fish will put their fertilized eggs in their mouths to hold and protect them until they are ready to fend for themselves.

(Video) Geophagus Sveni | Care Guide & Species Profile

When males of Geophagus altifrons are ready to spawn, they dig small pits in their substrate. Here they will try to get the female Geophagus Altifrons to lay their eggs for fertilization.

Geophagus altifrons male or female

There is no way to tell the difference between juvenile male and female Geophagus Altifrons. The only definite way to tell if you have a male or female is to look at their bodies as they spawn. During spawning you can see the female Geophagus altifrons ovipositor. This is the organ she uses to lay her eggs. The best way to get a breeding pair is to get a small group of them as hatchlings and let them mature together.

Geophagus Altifrons Disease

Geophagus altifrons are susceptible to many of the same diseases as all freshwater fish. You can get parasitic, bacterial, and fungal infections. Their health and happiness, as well as their size and longevity, depend heavily on the conditions in which they are kept. It is better to prevent diseases from occurring than to try to fix them once they appear. You can avoid potential problems by doing regular water changes and water parameter checks to ensure they are being kept in the right conditions.

Some diseases, like Ich, can be cured if caught early enough, but remember that diseases in fish are highly contagious and affected fish should be quarantined. It is also good practice to quarantine new fish before adding them to your aquarium to ensure they are healthy and free from disease or parasites.

Are Geophagus Altifrons Aggressive?

Geophagus altifrons are not typically aggressive. They are considered a peaceful species and make excellent community tanks as long as they are kept in the right arrangement. They do not do well in crowded situations and it is better to keep them in a longer aquarium than larger ones. Geophagus prefer to live in small groups of at least 6 fish, creating their own hierarchy and displaying their unique grouping behavior.

Tankmates of Geophagus Altifrons

Geophagus Altifrons make a great addition to a community aquarium due to their peaceful nature and fondness for bottom dwellings. As a bottom dweller, it clears the middle and upper water columns for other fish. They thrive best with other Geophagus species, but can be kept with other fish that are roughly the same size and temperament. Great tankmates for Geophagus Altifrons include tetras, parrot cichlids, other South American cichlids, small catfish, and Apistogramma.


It's not a good idea to house Geophagus Altifrons with fish that are aggressive, territorial, or could potentially see them as a meal. For example, while they can tolerate similar water requirements, you don't want to house your Geophagus Altifrons with Oscar fish.

Compatible and incompatible tankmates for Geophagus Altifrons

Compatible aquarium mates for Geophagus Altifrons are other peaceful fish of about the same size and temperament. They do best when kept in a group of at least 5 Geophagus Altifrons, where they can form their own natural hierarchy among themselves. Because Geophagus Altifrons occupy the bottom of the water column, they make a great addition to a community aquarium. You will want to place them in a tank with other fish of roughly the same temperament and needs. Tetras are good choices, as are some African cichlids.

You should avoid placing your Geophagus Altifrons with other territorial species, and aggression could crowd them out for food or mistake them for a meal. Although Geophagus Altifrons and Oscars can tolerate similar water conditions, they still don't mix well.

Geophagus altifrons and discus

Geophagus Altifrons can co-exist safely and peacefully in a community aquarium as long as they have enough space. You need a long tank that is at least 6 feet long. This gives the two species plenty of room to get away from each other. Giving them a longer tank instead of a taller one will give them more room to spread away from each other.

Geophagus Altifrons-Typen

There are many different species of Geophagus Altifrons. These variants within the same species have distinct characteristics that are striking and recognizable.

Geophagus Altifrons Rio Araguari

Geophagus Altifrons Rio Araguari is a color variation of Geophagus Altifrons, presenting as a white body with iridescent orange-red markings across its body and fins.

Geophagus Altifrons Sao Felix

Geophagus Altifrons Sao Felix have golden colored heads with a lustrous golden yellow iridescent reflection on their bodies and fins.

(Video) Geophagus Tapajos | Care Guide & Species Profile

Geophagus Altifrons Rio Negro

Geophagus Altifrons Rio Negro have golden coloring on their bodies, with iridescent reddish coloring on their bodies and fins.

Geophagus Altifrons Rio Xingu

Geophagus Altifrons Rio Xingu also have a yellow-gold coloration on the body and fins with a lighter iridescent reddish coloration on the scales and fins, but they also have a distinctive black spot on their side.

Geophagus Altifrons Rio Tocantins

Geophagus Altifron's Rio Tocantins has a distinctive feature that makes them a little easier to spot. They have a downward-sloping face and a mouth.

Geophagus Altifrons Rio Trombetas

Geophagus Altifrons Rio Trombetas have a much larger looking head shape compared to other species of Geophagus Altifrons.

Where can I find Geophagus Altifrons for sale?

If you want to buy Geophagus Altifrons for your home aquarium, you can find them from breeders online for around $25 per fish. Make sure you do your research to ensure you're buying from a reputable source to ensure you're getting healthy fish.

Geophagus Altifrons versus Geophagus Surinamensis

Geophagus Altifrons and Geophagus Surinamensis are very similar and are often confused with each other. There are forums online to help determine if a fish keeper has received the correct species of Geophagus that they ordered. Geophagus altifrons are the main geophagus fish sold in stores and online. Geophagus Surinamensis is a rare fish that is not that easy to find or get your hands on. Make sure you buy your fish from a reputable source to ensure you are actually getting the fish you are paying for.

Geophagus Altifrons and Geophagus Surinamensis can be distinguished primarily by the shape of their heads. Geophagus Altifrons have a much steeper, more sloped appearance to their head shape. In Geophagus Altifrons, the first two lateral bands bisect, and they have spots and stripes on their tails. Both species live and thrive in similar conditions, with roughly the same tank requirements and dietary needs.



What fish can live with Geophagus? ›

Tankmates. Red Head Tapajos get along well with most Cichlids that have their origins in South America, including larger tetras and catfish. They love living in large groups, including community tanks. However, they are commonly bred in biotope or species-specific aquariums.

What can go with Geophagus? ›

Dwarf shrimp and other small, delicate invertebrates should not be kept with the Red/Orange Head Tapajos Eartheater, but more durable, larger shrimp and snails could possibly make good tankmates in a large enough aquarium Schooling fish such as tetras, pencilfish, and Corydoras catfish are good tankmates, as are ...

How many Geophagus should be kept together? ›

Unless a pair of Red Tapajos geophagus are breeding, they are a rather peaceful cichlid and will not predate on even very small fish. Red Tapajos geoghagus are social, preferring to be kept in groups of 5 to 8 individuals but even more are encouraged.

Can I keep Geophagus with cichlids? ›

Compatibility Level – High. Geophagus and Keyhole cichlid make for ideal tank partners. They are both peaceful and easy-going and will only become aggressive during spawning or when lacking sufficient space or food.

Is Geophagus a community fish? ›

Tank Mates

The best way to ensure geophagus surinamensis compatibility is to keep both small and large aggressive species out of the aquarium. As they are bottom feeders, tank mates are generally not considered food fish. Redstripe Eartheaters are peaceful fish and will not bother large or small tankmates.

What type of algae eater is best with cichlids? ›

The best algae eater for the African cichlid tank is without a doubt, the ancistrus sp. Even though they are originally from south America, it is one of the only algae eaters that can adapt to the African cichlid's water parameters as well as their behavior.

Is Geophagus a schooling fish? ›

For this reason, they do best in sand bottom aquariums. There are several species of Geos, ranging from 5-9 inches long. They are a peaceful schooling fish suited for aquariums 55-75 gallons or larger.

What is the smallest Geophagus? ›

Geophagus parnaibae is one of the smallest in the genus with the largest type specimen measuring just 7.5cm/3" and the maximum size from aquarium specimens believed to be around 16cm/6".

Is a 75 gallon tank big enough for cichlids? ›

A 75-gallon aquarium is big enough to house a decent assortment of fish. It is capable of holding corals, catfish, and cichlids. A smaller fish tank costs much less to run and needs less equipment than a larger tank. This is one of its best qualities.

How many Geophagus altifrons are there? ›

altifrons is generally peaceful, and in the wild is found in loose aggregations. In the aquarium, this species is best maintained in groups of 6 or more so that a natural hierarchy can form.

Can I keep one Geophagus? ›

Keeping Geophagus sveni in groups can help avoid some aggression between each other, and I've found that you'll have the best luck keeping them solo, in pairs, or in groups of 5 or more. It can be hard to manage them if you have 2 males and 1 female for example, as the males will likely fight.

What temperature do Geophagus like? ›

They live in water with a temperature of 26° to 30°C (79° to 86°F), soft or moderate hardness, and pH of 6 to 7. They grow to a maximum of 25 cm (10 inches).

Are Geophagus carnivores? ›

Omnivorous, with a tendency towards herbivory, searches for food by digging into the substrate with its protractile mouth.

What are the best keyhole cichlid tank mates? ›

Tankmates should be peaceful and of small-medium size (large enough not to be eaten, yet small enough not to harass these peaceable cichlids). Ideal companions could include Corydoras catfish, hatchetfish, pencilfish, tetras, and suckermouth catfish.

Are Geophagus bottom dwellers? ›

Bottom dwellers

Many cichlids are bottom-dwelling like Geophagus which sift the sand through their gills, and many substrate spawning cichlids use sunken materials to lay their eggs and hide their fry.

Is Geophagus hardy? ›

The "Altifronos" Eartheater Cichlid can grow up to 8.5 inches in length, which means it will need a large aquarium to be housed in. They can become a hardy fish as long as hobbyists meet some of this cichlid's caring requirements .

Do Geophagus eat snails? ›

Behaviour and Compatibility: Generally peaceful can get territorial however. Will bury in soft substrate, can be kept with other fish like silver dollars and catfish. Again may eat snails. Maintenance: This fish is a burrower so soft sandy substrate or fine gravel is a must.

Are Geophagus peaceful? ›

The Sven's Eartheater Cichlid (Geophagus sveni) is a very beautiful and surprisingly peaceful cichlid that is native to Brazil.

What fish should not be mixed? ›

Cichlids, certain species of sharks, loaches, knife fish, mormyrids and other territorial fish do not share space well with members of their own kind or closely related species.

Which fish is the luckiest fish? ›

Arowana or the " Dragon Fish" is considered the most luckiest Fish among the Vastu Fishes. The far east versions often vouch for the Koi Fish, but it is seen as the symbol of fortune for those who persist in their goals and are highly ambitious.

What is the coolest fish to own? ›

10 Amazing Fish You Can Keep as Pets
  • Bettas. ...
  • Plecostomus. ...
  • Discus. ...
  • Swordtail. ...
  • Pearl Gourami. ...
  • Zebra Danios. ...
  • Neon Tetras. ...
  • Guppies. Guppies, like danios, are a hugely popular aquarium fish thanks to their wide variety of colours and patterns, as well as their easy-going temperament.
Oct 29, 2020

What Bottom Feeder goes well with cichlids? ›

Siamese Algae Eater

Generally, Siamese algae eaters are peaceful fish. They usually rank on top as good tank mates for several fish, including African cichlid species. Since they are also bottom dwellers like the African cichlids, they can peacefully share the same space, provided there's plenty of room to swim around.

Do cichlids prefer rocks or plants? ›

Aquarium rocks are ideal for Cichlid tanks. Most types will use rocks to mark out their territory, as shelter and as a handy place to lay their eggs. It's vital to get your rocks from a safe source. Sure, free rocks can be tempting, but understand that you risk losing fish.

What is the difference between shoaling and schooling fish? ›

To be called a school, a group of fish must demonstrate all of these rather complex behavioral patterns. The word shoal, on the other hand, is the term for any simple social grouping of fish. In short, any group of fish is a shoal, but not all shoals demonstrate the properties of a school.

What is the hardiest schooling fish? ›

Rummy Nose Tetras

This very popular species is known as one of the tightest schooling fish in the aquarium hobby because the fish tend to all face the same direction while swimming together.

Are Geophagus Tapajos Hardy? ›

The Geophagus Redhead Tapajos is a truely stunning fish when fully matured. They are a large cichlid that requires plenty of space. They are a hardy fish and relatively easy to care for however they can be fiercely territorial and will eat small fish.

What fish can live with red crayfish? ›

Fish That Can Be Kept With Crayfish

With the bigger crayfish (like Cherax destructor), you can keep small fish as well as bigger fish like Aulonocar and Pseudotropheus (Malawi and Tanganyika cichlid fish ), catfish like Ancistrus, Gibbiceps, South American cichlid fish, barbs, goldfish and labyrinth fish.

Are Geophagus cichlids aggressive? ›

It can be hard to manage them if you have 2 males and 1 female for example, as the males will likely fight. Sveni are usually one of the more peaceful Geophagus, but like any cichlid, there could always be an outlier where you one that is aggressive.

How big do Geophagus cichlids get? ›

Members of the genus Geophagus occupy a large portion of the Amazon Basin (including Guyana and the Orinoco region), where they can occur in all types of water. The species most commonly found in the trade are those that grow to about 12 cm (4¾ inches), such as Geophagus sp.

Do crayfish help clean tanks? ›

They are well known for keeping tanks clean and free of waste, and are especially useful in large aquariums of 30 gallons or more. Due to their maximum potential size, they should not be kept in aquariums any smaller than 20 gallons.

Can crayfish and Cory catfish live together? ›

Cory Cats should not be kept with cichlids or aquarium crayfish. Roughens like Oscars, Texas Cichlids and Jack Dempsey can injure Cory Catfish, or may even eat them outright. Some hobbyists really enjoy keeping this small peaceful fish.

What is the most beautiful cichlid fish? ›

I'll start with a list of the 19 most beautiful and popular Cichlid species in the trade.
Let's take a list on how makes our list!
  • Angelfish. Scientific Name: Pterophyllum scalare. ...
  • Discus Fish. ...
  • Blue Ram. ...
  • Yellow Lab. ...
  • Frontosa. ...
  • Oscar. ...
  • Flowerhorn. ...
  • Convict.


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