White Cichlid (Paraneetroplus argenteus): Ultimate Care Guide

Common Name(s)White Cichlid
Scientific NameParaneetroplus argenteus, Maskaheros argenteus
OriginUsumacinta River in western Mexico
Temperatureseventy eight to eighty six degrees Fahrenheit
SizeUp to 12 inches
Minimum Tank Size75 gallons for single fish
Food & DietHerbavore
Lifespan10 years
Water pH7.0
Tank MatesOscar (Astronotus ocellatus),  Chisel-toothed cichlid (Cincelichthys bocourti),  Chocolate Cichlid (Hypselecara temporalis) Firemouth Cichlid (Thorichthys meeki).
BreedingSpawning in a substrate or flat rock
Common DiseaseIch, Malawi Bloat
White Cichlid
White Cichlid (Paraneetroplus argenteus). Edited. Citron / CC-BY-SA-3.0

The White Cichlid, also known as Makaheros argenteus or Vieja argentea, is a sizable Central American Cichlid that is distinguished by its white coloring. It’s a gorgeous fish that adds a unique pop of color to any tank. Their pearly scales appear to glow especially against a dark substrate. The fins and tail of White Cichlid look like they’re fiberoptic and transparent. The body shape of this majestic fish is oblong with the head being slightly larger.

The drainage basins of the Usumacinta River in western Mexico are where white cichlid is known to exist. The White Cichlid, like many of its relatives in Central America, is under serious threat from habitat degradation and competition from non-native species in its natural habitat.

White Cichlid Care

The White Cichlid is recommended for more experienced hobbyists with larger aquariums due to its large adult size and aggressive and territorial behavior.


The optimum temperature for White Cichlids is seventy eight to eighty six degrees Fahrenheit.

Water pH

The best water pH for White Cichlid is 7.0

White Cichlid Size

Adult White Cichlid grow to be twelve inches long.  They are typically between one and two inches long when they are offered in stores, and they mature sexually in around three years.

Compared to some of their larger relatives, White Cichlids grow at a pretty modest rate. For those who don’t have the room to house a huge fish, this could be excellent news.

Like all Cichlids, their lifetime and rate of growth are influenced by the kind of care they receive. Their growth rates will be substantially impacted by frequent water changes.

Food & Diet

Although this species is mostly an herbivore in nature, it is not picky when kept in captivity. Use cichlid pellets of good quality as the main food source. Add meaty dishes like prawns, mussels, and white fish to this. Spirulina or algae wafers, which are forms of vegetable matter, should play a significant role in the diet.

Slow-sinking pellets and wafers, frozen foods like mosquito larvae, Mysis shrimp, Spirulina/vitamin-enriched brine shrimp, krill, chopped cockle, and chopped mussel meat will all be well-received. Make sure the diet includes vegetables like spinach, kale, lettuce, and cucumber.

White Cichlid Lifespan

These fish have a lifespan of up to 10 years on average, but you may extend it by giving them the best care possible.

White Cichlid Tank Size

The aquarium should be large enough to offer both open swimming areas and rocky structures where these fish can retreat for shelter due to their full-grown sizes.

A single adult White Cichlid needs a tank that is 75 gallons in size (48 inches by 18 inches by 21 inches). A tank that is at least 125 gallons in size (72 inches by 18 inches by 21 inches) should be purchased if you intend to keep breeding pairs. You could want more than 200 gallons for community fish aquariums with multiple fish.

As always, bigger tanks with various territorial regions are best because they can accommodate more tank mates while also reducing antagonism.

Tank Setup

The tank should be designed with a sandy substrate and sheltered regions made of stones, driftwood, and roots. Due to the White Cichlids’ propensity for rearrangement, make sure the stones and driftwood are firmly secured.

It can be challenging to cultivate live plants because these fish will eat and uproot plants in their native habitat. However, you can utilize aquarium-ready fake plants that have strong roots.

Because White Cichlids are messy eaters and can quickly dirty the water, strong filtration is essential. The use of a canister filter with carbon filtration material is something that is advised. Investing in a high-quality surface aquarium skimmer is wise if you want your aquarium to be clear and clean.

White Cichlid Breeding

Getting the pair of White Cichlid to live together in the same tank is the greatest obstacle to breeding this species. The fish should spawn easily if this can be done.

The pair will prepare a spawning location, which is typically a sizable stone or occasionally within a cave. The area will be cleared of debris and other impediments. Then, on the prepared spot, spawning will start. During spawning, the male may act aggressively against the female. This is typical, but if the violence escalates, the female should be removed.

Eggs hatch in two to three days, and fry are free to swim after around four days.

A bonded pair will consistently and in huge numbers reproduce. As a result, it’s crucial to have a homing strategy in place for the (perhaps) hundreds or even thousands of young fish, as they can easily overrun an aquarium. For 4-6 weeks, parenting is still provided.

The adults are great parents, but if they are ready to reproduce once more, they may start to become hostile toward their young. At this point, the fry should be taken out.

White Cichlid Male or Female

Male White Cichlids differ from females in appearance due to their nuchal hump, impressively enlarged anal finnage, and larger overall size.

Its body and fins have a lot of little black dots. On the sides, forehead, and base of the tail, there are additional black patches.

White Cichlid Disease

Some disease that White Cichlid are susceptible to are white spot ich and Malawi bloat.

White Spot Ich

White spot Ich, or Ich for short, is the sickness that is brought on by the protozoan parasite Ichthyophthirius multifiliis. Ich can be recognized rather easily since it appears as tiny white spots on the fins, gills, and bodies of affected fish. The sickness may also manifest as clamped fins, hard breathing, lethargy, loss of appetite, and rubbing against tank objects in addition to these patches, which are the most evident indicator. Ich is a highly contagious disease, thus it is likely that the other fish in the tank have already been infected if you notice white patches on one of the fish. Due to this, treating the entire tank is usually preferable to isolating the diseased fish.

Salt baths, higher tank temperatures, potassium permanganate, malachite green, and acriflavine are some of the treatments for ich.

Malawi Bloat

White Cichlids are most frequently affected by the aquarium fish sickness known as “Malawi bloat.” This illness shows symptoms including abdominal swelling, fast breathing, appetite loss, colored feces, and lounging near the bottom of the tank. If left untreated, Malawi bloat can result in liver and renal damage in addition to these symptoms. Once the condition reaches this stage, death usually occurs three days later. Unfortunately, there is substantial disagreement on the disease’s origin; some claim that a protozoan that resides in cichlids’ intestines is to blame. The protozoans multiply and start to cause issues when the fish become agitated and the tank’s water quality deteriorates.

The tank must undergo a significant water change and be dosed with Metronidazole as the initial step in the treatment of this illness. You must take the activated carbon out of the tank filter before administering any medication to the tank.

White Cichlid Tanks Mates

White Cichlid is a hostile species, especially to its own kind. If enough rock and bogwood are provided to create enough territories for all the fish, it might be able to effectively maintain this species in a community of robust Central American cichlids. If you do this, success is not guaranteed. A bonded couple will frequently coexist peacefully, but caution should be exercised to prevent harassment of the female.

They should only be kept with other huge, semi-aggressive, aggressive species that can defend themselves because they are not the best fish for community tanks.

Here are some possible tank companions for White Cichlids:

Where can I Find White Cichlid for sale?

White Cichlid can be found on buy and sell sites as well as online aquarium shops.  You may be able to contact your local pet store to see if they have them or can bring them in.

The price range for White Cichlid is 15 USD to 20 USD.

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