Geophagus are not easy fish to keep. They have very specific needs, so it is important to be well-informed before buying one. That being said, many people have enjoyed keeping Geophagines at home in their community tank for over 20 years!
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Geophagines are found in the Amazon and Orinoco basins and countless smaller river systems. They are primarily benthic (bottom-dwelling) fish that favor slow-moving waters, mud or sand substrates, and areas of high water turbulence.
In the wild, they consume various foods, including aquatic insects, crustaceans, mollusks, and small fish. At home, Geophagus can feed them a diet of live and frozen food items such as bloodworms, brine shrimp, earthworms, and krill.
Geophagus Sveni is one of about six genera of Geophagus that are not endemic to the Amazon. This species is almost exclusively found in the coastal rivers of Suriname and French Guiana, with a small range extending into Guyana.
Geophagines have a brood care system where the male protects a large group of fry for up to two months. The fry is then released into the open water to fend for themselves.
Geophagus Sveni can grow up to 12 inches (30 cm) in length and typically has a dark body with light markings. They are active and peaceful fish that are popular in the hobby.
Geophagus Sveni can be found in brown, black, and marbled color variants. Juveniles have a dark brown body with a large orange-red marking on the dorsal fin. The red patch is typically bordered by several thin white lines and a pair of stripes on either side of the centerline. In larger fish, this marking becomes less distinct.
Geophagus Sveni has not been bred in captivity, so information on breeding is limited. They spawn over a muddy substrate in areas with high water turbulence in the wild. The male guards the eggs until they hatch, and the fry is released into open water to fend for themselves.
Geophagines are very peaceful fish that should be kept in groups of five or more individuals. They are not generally aggressive, but males can become territorial when spawning. The aquarist should provide multiple hiding places where the female can escape while the male guards the eggs.
Tank Size and Capacity
Geophagus Sveni typically inhabits areas of high water turbulence, making it a perfect addition to the community tank. They are not known to eat plants, but small fish may be at risk of being swallowed by larger specimens.
Geophagines prefer tanks with gentle filtration that provide some areas of low-flow current where they like to rest. A fine gravel or sand substrate with plenty of hiding places should be provided, and you can also use driftwood and rockwork to create plenty of nooks and crannies for the fish to explore.
Geophagus Sveni can be housed with various tankmates but should not be added to an aquarium smaller than 55 gallons. They are generally peaceful towards their kind and larger species when kept in groups of at least five or more individuals. However, males may become territorial when spawning.
Though Geophagines are not known to eat plants, they may do so if there is a lack of live food items in the tank. Small fish should be kept out of the reach of larger specimens, as these fish have been known to swallow them whole.
Aquarium filters should be gentle and provide some areas of low-flow current where the fish can rest. A fine gravel or sand substrate with plenty of hiding places should be provided, along with driftwood and rockwork to create plenty of nooks and crannies for the fish to explore.
Feeding Geophagus Sveni can be fed a diet of live and frozen food items such as bloodworms, brine shrimp, earthworms, and krill. You can also feed them a diet of pellets, flake food, and tablet food at home.