Geophagus Winemilleri (Stripetail Geophagus Cichlid): Care Guide

Common Name(s)Stripetail Geophagus Cichlid
Scientific NameGeophagus Winemilleri
OriginAmazon River
Temperature76.0 and 84.0 degrees Fahrenheit
Size6-8 inches
Minimum Tank Size90 Gallons
Food & DietOmnivore
Lifespan5-6 years
Water pH4-7
Tank MatesNeon Tetras, Cardinal Tetras, Corydoras Catfish, Suckermouth Catfish, Guppies, Angelfish, and Plecos.
Breeding traditional substrate-spawning
Common DiseaseSwim Bladder Disease, Malawi Bloat
geophagus winemilleri
Geophagus Winemilleri (Stripetail Geophagus Cichlid)

Geophagus Winemilleri grows to magnificent coloring and is an amazing mid-sized “earth-eater” cichlid for the semi-aggressive and occasionally quiet community aquarium.

Also known as the Stripetail Geophagus Cichlid, Geophagus Winemilleri is a stunning and surprisingly quiet mid-sized cichlid native to Venezuela and possibly adjacent places. It is one of the most unusual and colorful “earth-eating” species. 

The Amazon River is the native home to Geophagus Winemilleri. Although the species’ presence in the Orinoco drainage has not been proven, official collections have come from the upper Ro Negro and Ro Siapa as well as the Casiquiare system of waterways, which allows water to be transferred between the Negro and Orinoco basins.

Geophagus Winemilleri Care

Despite being tough fish, they could be vulnerable to several bacterial and viral illnesses. One of the most tranquil species of cichlid that one can keep is Geophagus Winemilleri.


Generally speaking, the ideal temperature range for Geophagus Winemilleri is between 76.0 and 84.0 degrees Fahrenheit or around 24 and 29 degrees Celsius. Keeping them in those accustomed circumstances is also recommended because they have typically been found in waters between 76°F and 88°F (24 – 27°C).

Water pH

The pH of the aquarium water should be between 4 and 7 at most for housing Geophagus Winemilleri. The Geophagus Winemilleri loves water with a dGh ranging from 5 to 19. Although the Geophagus Winemilleri has a fair tolerance for pH and hardness, acclimating these fish to water quality that is similar to or close to the ones indicated above can save you time and money on chemical treatments.

Geophagus Winemilleri Size

The average adult size of an adult Geophagus Winemilleri is six to eight inches.  The size they are purchased at in an aquarium or pet store is 1.5 inches.

Food and Diet

Feeding is easy for the uncomplicated Geophagus Winemilleri. Dry, frozen, and high-quality live meaty dishes will be readily accepted. The elements of a diet that will keep this fish in good health and color are variety and quality. This fish requires smaller food than many other cichlids due to its peculiar feeding pattern. Even as it reaches adulthood, it should be fed things similar to bloodworms and small-grade dry foods.


The average lifespan of the Geophagus Winemilleri is estimated to be 5 – 6 years. However, with proper care, the Geophagus Winemilleri can live for up to 7 years and in rare cases, up to 10 years.

Tank Size

A minimum tank size of 90 gallons is required for a group of 5-8 specimens, while a larger tank is preferable for this active species.

Tank Setup

A soft, sand-filled substrate is the most important component of the decor since it allows the fish to browse organically.

The ingestion of coarser debris, including gravel or tiny stones, may cause internal damage or obstructions, impair eating, and harm gill filaments.

The choice of additional furnishings depends as much on personal preference as anything else, but the most popular arrangements typically include some driftwood pieces, a few scattered roots or branches, and dim lighting.

Because Geophagus Winemilleri ‘s feeding behavior tends to result in an abundance of partially-decomposed material in suspension, which looks unpleasant and can clog filter and pump mechanisms, leaf litter is a common element of the natural environment but isn’t particularly advised in aquariums.

You can add one or two flat, water-worn rocks to provide suitable spawning sites.

Since these cichlids are particularly sensitive to changes in chemical parameters and declining water quality, they should never be introduced to an aquarium that is still developing biologically. Water quality is, therefore, of the utmost significance.

The easiest technique to achieve the needed stability is to do minimum weekly water changes of 50–70% while over-filtering the tank with a mix of external canister filters and/or a sump system.

Breeding Geophagus Winemilleri

There does not appear to be a specific trigger for the spawning process, with the key needs being a healthy diet and a strict maintenance regimen that includes rather substantial weekly water changes.

Because correct sexing is difficult, it is better to start with a bunch of juvenile fish and let pairings form organically.

Patience is also essential because it can take up to a year for them to become sexually mature.

Courtship is subtle, consisting of fin flaring, circling, gaping, and head-jerking displays, and when a pair is ready to spawn, they choose a suitable place.

This is usually a piece of décor like a flat rock or a part of driftwood. However, it’s very uncommon for the aquarium’s base to be used, and once chosen, the region is cleaned and defended against intruders.

Spawning takes place in the traditional substrate-spawning manner, with the female laying one or more rows of eggs before the male moves in to fertilize them, a procedure repeated several times over several hours.

Following spawning, the female stays near the eggs, tending to and defending them against intruders, while the male defends the surrounding territory.

After about 72 hours, the eggs hatch, and the fry are promptly placed into the female’s mouth. However, in rare cases, both parents may be involved from the start.

Brood care/defense is shared once the fry are free swimming, though this varies depending on the male, with some people becoming involved earlier and others not at all.

As a result, some females continue to carry all of the fry or may even be forced away by the male to care for them alone.

In other cases, both parents hold fry at the same time or trade the entire brood regularly, with such transfers typically taking place in a sheltered site, such as a dip in the substrate.

At 8-11 days of age, the fry begins to swim freely, and the parents begin to let them eat, initially cautiously but gradually, for extended periods of time.

If danger is detected, the fry are herded back into the mouths of the adults, with the fast movement of the ventral fins acting as a signal.

As time passes and the fry develops, they may only return to their parents’ mouths at night while the territory grows in proportion.


Some diseases Geophagus Winemilleri are susceptible to include swim bladder disease and Malawi bloat.

Swim Bladder Disease

Swim bladder disease, as the name implies, affects the part of the cichlid known as the swim bladder. The swim bladder is an abdominal sac lined with epithelium that aids in the fish’s ability to stay afloat. Swim bladder disease causes cichlids to have trouble staying underwater. There are several probable causes for this disease, including external trauma, such as physical damage, and secondary disorders, such as cancer and tuberculosis. Diet is another prevalent cause of this disorder; fish that are malnourished or constipated are more likely to acquire swim bladder disease. To cure this illness, it is critical to address the underlying source of the problem.

Malawi Bloat

Malawi bloat is a form of aquarium fish sickness that can affect  Geophagus Winemilleri.  This disease causes symptoms such as abdominal swelling, fast breathing, loss of appetite, colored feces, and lolling at the bottom of the tank. Malawi bloat, in addition to these symptoms, can cause liver and kidney damage if left untreated.

When the sickness reaches this stage, it is usually fatal within three days. Unfortunately, the exact etiology of this sickness is unknown; some believe it is caused by a protozoan that resides in the intestines of cichlids. When the tank’s water quality deteriorates, and the fish become stressed, the protozoans reproduce and cause issues.

The initial step in treating this disease is to perform a large water change in the tank, followed by a Metronidazole dose. When you treat the tank with medication, you must remove the activated carbon from the tank filter.

Geophagus Winemilleri Tank Mates

While Geophagus Winemilleri are rather peaceful Cichlids that have thrived in a community setting and love to dwell in huge groups, they are more frequently kept in species- or biotope-specific aquariums (or housed with other Cichlids). Tank mates should be carefully chosen and should be fish native to the Amazon or other Geophagus species of equivalent size.

Some good tankmates are Neon Tetras, Cardinal Tetras, Corydoras Catfish, Suckermouth Catfish, Guppies, Angelfish, and Plecos.

Where can I find Geophagus Winemilleri for sale?

Geophagus Winemilleri can be purchased from online or brick-and-mortar aquarium shops.

The cost of buying a Geophagus Winemilleri is around $60 USD.

Geophagus Winemilleri vs. Geophagus Altrifrons

Both are peaceful fish.  The Geophagus Altrifrons has a longer lifespan of 10 years and gets a bit bigger.  Around 9 inches compared to Geophagus Winemilleri 6 to 8 inches.

Geophagus Winemilleri vs. Geophagus Sveni

Like Geophagus Altrifrons, Geophagus Svenis has a longer lifespan than Geophagus Winemilleri.  Reaching up to 10 years of age.  They can also grow to 10 inches.


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