The Severum

severum cichlid

The Severum is arguably one of the nicest additions to any large aquarium. Its Latin name is Heros severus, it is native to the northern Brazil Basin and is also found in Guyana where it prefers deeper and calmer waters that often contain submerged trees, plenty of vegetation and rocky outcrops. The Serverum make an absolutely fantastic tank mate for the Oscar fish.

Severum Care

Serverum can reach 12 inches and therefore need to be kept in large aquariums. 55 gallons is the minimum requirement for one fish, whereas two can be kept in 75 gallons minimum. However, as we always say, this is just a rule of thumb and it's always best to go as large as you possibly can. They can be fairly messy fish so good filtration is important. Severum prefers similar water conditions to Oscars. The pH should be on the acidic side, ideally no higher than 7, although captive bred fish will be okay between 7 and 8. Severum will eat the same food as you feed your Oscars, so pellets, frozen and freeze-dried foods will be readily taken. They do however like vegetables such as peas which are good for the digestive system. Severum like rocks and prefer places to hide so if you can create a cave please do so for them to retreat.

Tank Mates

The Severum is more than capable of sticking up for itself and can be territorial so makes a great tank mate for larger semi-aggressive cichlids. They can also thrive really well with less aggressive fish such as silver dollars, Plecos, Juripari and Leporinus. Being cichlids means that they will become aggressive during their breeding period so keeping them with other fish will require a larger tank.

Sexing Severum

The male Serverum tends to be bigger and broader around the chest. The female will lack some of the facial markings that the male has and are often pale in colour. The male may also have a more prominent dorsal and anal fin in comparison to the female.

Breeding Severum

Serverum prefer to lay their eggs on a flat surface such as a rock. They will clean the surface before laying eggs. Both parents will tend the eggs and protect the fry once they hatch. Breeding behaviour such as lip locking and tail slapping will often precede spawning. Fertilised eggs are light brown in colour and should hatch in around 3 to 5 days. Any eggs that are not fertilised will turn white.

You can artificially hatch fry by removing the eggs and hatching them in a tank on their own in much the same way as you would Oscar eggs. However, parents will look after the fry after they have hatched. You can feed fry on baby brine shrimp and micro worms.