African Blockhead Cichlid (Steatocranus casuarius)

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African Blockhead Cichlid

Casuarius 03.jpg
African Blockhead Cichlid

Steatocranus casuarius

114 Litres (30 US G.)

10-15 cm (3.9-5.9")




6 - 8

25 -28 °C (77-82.4°F)

5-19 °d

1:1 M:F

Pellet Foods
Flake Foods
Live Foods

5-8 years



This animal is available captive bred


Originates from fast flowing streams in the Congo river basin, which also explains their odd swimming style - they, like many riverine cichlids, have reduced swim bladders and are bad at staying buoyant.


Males are larger, at potentially 6 inches compared to the 4 inch females, and possess larger 'humps' on their heads. They also have longer fins.

Tank compatibility[edit]

Quite docile cichlids that mix well with virtually anything that is neither small enough to be eaten nor another bottom dweller. Note that they are NOT docile while breeding, so if tank mates are attempted with a breeding pair a four foot tank is advised.
These fish form monogamous pairs that mate for life, and if one fish in the pair dies, the other will often refuse to take another mate even when fish of the opposite sex are present. They need large tanks if more than one pair is to be kept. Pair bonds will be even stronger if there are other fish in the tank to direct their defense against.


Omnivores that will eat just about anything.

Feeding regime[edit]

A normal once or twice a day feeding regime will work with these fish.

Environment specifics[edit]

Since they come from riverine areas and like to dig, a high-current, or at least highly oxygenated tank with a sand substrate would be best for these fish. Any rocks present should be supported by the tank bottom so as not to collapse on digging fish!


Strictly pair bonding cichlids who mate for life and are devoted parents. When they breed, the fish will lay a small number (around 30) of unusually large eggs that they guard aggressively: the eggs take about 6 days to hatch at 78 degrees and the 1/2 inch(!) fry are free swimming in another 6 days. They can take bbs from the moment they are free swimming, and will be guarded by the parents for weeks afterwards, who will take over about 24" of a tank and evict all other occupants from that space.


Members of this genus are difficult to confuse with any other cichlids. The buffalo head cichlids are robust, enlongated cichlids with long fins and the namesake head hump, which varies in size depending on gender and the fish's mood (males and breeding fish have larger humps).

External links[edit]