Salvini Cichlid (Trichromis Salvini): Ultimate Care Guide


Common NameSalvini Cichlid, Yellow Belly Cichlid, Tricolor Cichlid
Scientific NameTrichromis Salvini
OriginMexico, Belize, Guatemala
Water pH7.0 – 8.0
Temperature72°F – 79°F
Adult Sizeup to 8.7 inches
DietOmnivorous with preference towards a carnivorous diet

Salvini Cichlid Facts

  • Salvini Cichlid is a Central American Cichlid that originates from Mexico, Belize, and Guatemala.
  • Although the Salvini Cichlid prefers a primarily carnivorous diet, in the wild it will also consume algae and other plant matter.
  • Salvini Cichlid males and females are similarly colored with only minor differences. Males and females both get more colorful when they are ready to spawn.
  • Salvini Cichlids are good parent fish, and will provide their fry with protection for up to 4 weeks.
  • Salvini Cichlids are considered a moderately aggressive fish that’s success in keeping it with other fish of roughly the same size and temperament will largely depend on the personality of the fish itself.
  • Salvini Cichlids will see any smaller fish as food and may hunt and eat them.
Salvini Cichlid
Salvini Cichlid (Trichromis Salvini)

Salvini Cichlid (Trichromis Salvini)

Like many Cichlid species, the Salvini Cichlid is also colored beautifully. Salvani Cichlids have vibrant yellow colored bodies, and two black lines that run along the length of their bodies to their caudal fin. Salvani Cichlids also have shiny blue spots that are called spangles. Spangles refer to the brightly colored spots on their bodies as if they were shiny discs. These spangles are scattered on their bodies. You should be able to see the bright red on their fins, and count 4 black stripes that run across their forehead.

Male vs Female Salvini Cichlids

The male Salvini Cichlid is usually larger than the female. The males are duller in color, and have more pointed fins. The female Salvini Cichlid will have a black spot that is near her gills. Both male and female Salvini Cichlids appear to get brighter in color the closer they are to spawning.

Size & Lifespan

At full maturity, Salvini Cichlids can grow up to 8.7 inches long. However, in captivity, Salvini Cichlids do not usually reach their maximum length. If properly cared for, Salvini Cichlids can live up to 10 years.

Food & Diet

In the wild, the Salvini Cichlid is omnivorous, but it prefers a carnivorous diet. It feeds on small insects that fall into the water, small aquatic organisms, and hunts along the river beds for prey. If you are wanting to place them into an aquarium with other fish, you will want to keep in mind that Salvini Cichlids see smaller fish as prey and may try to hunt and eat them.

In captivity, Salvini Cichlids will readily accept a varied diet of food, flakes, or pellets. It is not recommended that you feed your Salvini Cichlids tubifex as they are typically sourced from polluted streams. The chances of the tubifex carrying pathogens to your Salvini Cichlids is high. Instead, you will want to give them spirulina, bloodworms, brine shrimp, ocean plankton, and small crustaceans.

Tank Setup

Salvini Cichlids are an aggressive and territorial fish that require a lot of space if you are planning on keeping more than one. They are not recommended to be kept together as a single species tank, or with other species. Salvini Cichlids get increasingly aggressive the closer they get to spawning time. It is best to separate even the breeding pair.

It requires a tank of at least 50 gallons to house a single Salvini Cichlid, and a tank of more than 100 gallons if you are planning on trying to keep more than one together. Make sure that you create lots of spaces for your Salvini Cichlid to hide and explore. Driftwood and rocks are a good addition to a Salvini Cichlid tank setup.

Salvini Cichlids are more sensitive to water parameter changes and should be kept at 7.0 to 8.0 pH. It is always a good idea to monitor your aquarium regularly so that you can check for changes in the water parameters. They should also be kept at a steady temperature of around 72F to 79F.

How to Breed Salvini Cichlids

The best way to get a breeding pair of Salvini Cichlids is to raise a group of juveniles together. As they grow to maturity, you will notice the females and males begin to pair off. The pairing off usually begins to happen when the males reach around 6 inches in length, and the females reach around 4.5 inches. It can take up to 12 months for Salvini Cichlids to become mature enough to pair off.

Once Salvini Cichlids pair off to mate, the female then will lay her eggs on a relatively flat surface area of the aquarium or hidden in a cave area. It is during this time that Salvini Cichlids are at their most aggressive.

If you are planning on breeding Salvini Cichlids, you will want to set up a dedicated breeding tank for them so that they are able to spawn without the worry of them being aggressive towards other fish.

The eggs will normally hatch within 48 – 72 hours, and the fry will become free swimming in around 5 to 7 days after. Salvini Cichlids are good parent fish, and will provide protection to their offspring for up to 4 weeks. Once your fry are free swimming, you will be able to feed them small amounts of food that is high in protein, provided that it is small enough to fit in their mouths.

Salvini Cichlid Disease

Salvini Cichlids are susceptible to many of the same ailments as all freshwater fish. The risk of your Salvini Cichlids getting ill goes up exponentially if they are not maintained in a clean setup with high quality oxygenation.

A common problem for Salvini Cichlids is a condition called Ich. Ich causes white spots to appear on the body of the fish, and can take over fairly quickly. Ich is not a difficult ailment to treat, but it needs to be caught and treated quickly.

Another condition that can affect Salvini Cichlids are skin flukes, parasitic infections, bacterial infections, and fungal infections.

It is important to note that diseases and infections can be introduced into your aquarium through other fish, decor, or even plants. It is a good idea to quarantine new items for a few weeks to make sure that they are not contaminated before placing them in your tank.

Salvini Cichlid Tank Mates

Salvini Cichlids are territorial fish that get increasingly more aggressive the closer it gets to their spawning time. It is not a good idea to keep them with other similar species, or even their own species unless you can provide them with adequate space. This can be a difficult task considering that a single Salvini Cichlid needs to be housed in a minimum of a 50 gallon tank.

If you put Salvini Cichlids in a community tank, they would pair well with other cichlids of roughly the same size and temperament. When paired with fish that are smaller, Salvini Cichlids may try to hunt and eat them.

Are Salvini Cichlids Aggressive?

Salvini Cichlids are not a good choice if you are planning on setting up a community aquarium with other species of the same or different types. In the wild, Salvini Cichlids are predator fish, and in the home aquarium they will go after and eat any fish that are smaller than they are.

In addition to Salvini Cichlids being predatory towards other fish, they become increasingly aggressive during spawning time.

Salvini Cichlids and Oscar fish

Some keepers of both Salvini Cichlids and Oscar fish have had some success in keeping the two species together. It seems to largely depend on the personalities of the two fish. You will want to be sure to monitor any new fish you place together for any issues that may arise.

Salvini Cichlids and Green Terrors

Salvini Cichlids and Green Terrors can be kept together if they are similar in size and temperament. It is a good idea to make sure that the Green Terrors you place with your Salvini Cichlids are smaller opposed to bigger. Green Terrors are aptly named, and tend to be more aggressive.

Salvini Cichlids and Firemouth Cichlids

Firemouth Cichlids and Salvini Cichlids are the most compatible with one another. There could still be potential issues due to size of fish, size of tank, and temperament of some fish when placed together. You will have a better chance of cohabitating Salvini Cichlids with Firemouth Cichlids with the more space you provide them.

Where Can I Find Salvini Cichlids for Sale?

If you are wanting to purchase Salvini Cichlids for your home aquarium, you will be able to find them online or locally in some pet stores. You will want to make sure that you are purchasing your fish from a reputable seller or breeder to ensure the health and quality of the fish you buy. You can expect to pay around 30 to 35 dollars for one Salvini Cichlid.

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With decades of collective fishkeeping experience, we are happy to share the fish care tips that we've picked up along the way. Our goal at Fish Laboratory is to keep publishing accurate content to help fishkeepers keep their fish and aquarium healthy.

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