Salvini Cichlid | Cichlasoma salvini | Nandopsis salvini for Sale: Size, Tank, Care, Types, Breeding

Salvini Cichlids

Salvini Cichlids - The Colorful Central American

Salvini cichlids are a popular freshwater species native to lakes and rivers in Central America. Scientifically known as Cichlasoma salvini, they are prized for their bright coloration, interesting behaviors, and medium size. Let's take a closer look at what makes this cichlid an aquarium favorite.

In the wild, Salvini cichlids inhabit turbid waters with plenty of vegetation and shelter. They are found from southern Mexico through Guatemala and Honduras. Males exhibit velvety black bodies accented with striking electric blue and red markings on the fins. Females retain more golden brown hues.

Salvini cichlids reach 6-8 inches in captivity and do well in a moderately planted 40 gallon aquarium. Though aggressive toward their own kind, they can be combined with similarly sized robust community fish like firemouths. Provide plenty of broken sight lines and hiding spots.

These feisty cichlids are prolific breeders, readily forming monogamous pairs. The parents diligently care for eggs and fry. Outside of spawning, Salvini cichlids are engaging pets with a bold attitude and vibrant tropical colors. With proper housing, they make excellent wet pets.

Up for sale are captive bred Salvini Cichlids. Salvini are a very aggressive Central American who should be housed with other fish of a similar temperament. The fish for sale are approximately 3". Amazing Cichlasoma salvini Males and Females from the Candelaria River in Mexico are beautifully colored, with intense and extended red belly coloration. Breeding coloration in both males and females show a diminishing of the blue intensity as well as the appearance of black markings from the upper lip to the caudal peduncle along the lateral line and on the dorsal area of the flanks. The yellow base coloration also intensifies during breeding.

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Common Names

Salvini cichlids, scientifically named Cichlasoma salvini, are often referred to by several common names, including the Yellowbelly Cichlid and the Tricolor Cichlid. These names reflect their distinctive coloration, which ranges from vibrant yellows to deep reds and dark blues, making them a visually striking addition to freshwater aquariums.


The species name "salvini" is derived from the Latin term "salvinius," possibly in honor of the Italian naturalist and explorer, Osbert Salvin, known for his contributions to the study of Central American biodiversity. This nomenclature pays homage to the significant role these cichlids play in their native habitat's ecological diversity.


Salvini cichlids belong to the Cichlasoma genus, a diverse group of cichlids known for their intricate color patterns and fascinating behaviors. They are further classified under the Cichlidae family, one of the largest families of freshwater fishes worldwide. Taxonomically, these cichlids have undergone several revisions and reclassifications over the years, reflecting their evolutionary complexity.


Salvini cichlids are native to Central America, primarily found in the freshwater rivers and streams of Guatemala, Belize, and parts of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. Their distribution encompasses various habitats, including slow-moving waters, lagoons, and densely vegetated areas, reflecting their adaptability to different environments.


In their natural habitat, Salvini cichlids inhabit regions with submerged vegetation, rocky formations, and sandy substrates. They are often encountered in areas with moderate water flow, where they establish territories among aquatic plants and rocky crevices.

Maximum Standard Length

Salvini cichlids can reach a maximum standard length of approximately 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 cm) in captivity, with males tending to grow larger than females. Their size, combined with their vibrant coloration, makes them an attractive choice for aquarists seeking eye-catching additions to their tanks.

Aquarium Size

Providing an adequately sized aquarium is essential for the well-being of Salvini cichlids. A tank with a minimum capacity of 50 gallons is recommended to accommodate their size and territorial behavior. Additionally, providing hiding spots and adequate swimming space is crucial to reduce aggression.


Maintaining a healthy environment for Salvini cichlids involves regular water changes, a well-filtered tank, and a balanced diet. These fish produce moderate waste, so diligent tank maintenance is essential to keep water parameters stable and maintain their overall health.

Water Conditions

Salvini cichlids thrive in water conditions that mimic their natural habitat. Maintain a temperature range between 75°F to 82°F (24°C to 28°C), a pH level of 6.5 to 7.5, and moderate water hardness (dH) of 5 to 20.


Salvini cichlids are omnivorous and readily accept a varied diet. They can be fed high-quality cichlid pellets, live or frozen foods such as brine shrimp, bloodworms, and small insects. A balanced diet ensures their optimal health and coloration.

Behaviour and Compatibility

Salvini cichlids are known for their territorial behavior, especially during breeding. They can be aggressive, especially towards smaller or more passive tankmates. It is advisable to house them with robust and similarly sized companions to minimize conflicts.

Sexual Dimorphism

Sexual dimorphism is evident in Salvini cichlids, with males typically growing larger than females. Additionally, males may display more intense coloration and develop elongated fin extensions, particularly during the breeding season.


Breeding Salvini cichlids can be a rewarding but challenging endeavor due to their territorial nature. Provide them with a suitable breeding environment, such as caves or flat surfaces, where they can lay their eggs. Both parents are active in guarding and caring for the fry, showcasing remarkable parenting behaviors.

Endangered List

Salvini cichlids are not currently listed as endangered. However, like many species of cichlids, they face threats in the wild due to habitat degradation and overcollection for the aquarium trade. Responsible and sustainable practices in the hobby can help ensure their continued presence in the aquarium community.

Cichlasoma salvini Video


Salvin's cichlid - Wikipedia
Trichromis salvini, Yellow belly cichlid
Yellowbelly Cichlid (Cichlasoma salvini) - Species Profile
ITIS - Report: Cichlasoma salvini - Integrated Taxonomic