How to Breed Green Severum Fish

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Use ample aquarium decorations to encourage breeding in green severums.
Use ample aquarium decorations to encourage breeding in green severums. (Image: Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images)

A type of cichlid native to the Amazon, green severums, or Heros severus, can grow up to a foot long. These freshwater fish prefer a temperature around 75 degrees Fahrenheit and a pH of 6 to 7 in the home aquarium. However, when breeding they require a change from the norm; softer, more acidic water combined with a higher temperature will encourage breeding behavior.

Things You'll Need

  • 55 to 75 gallon tank
  • Plants
  • Slate or rock
  • Aquarium decorations

Purchase six healthy, juvenile green severums from a reputable fish dealer or pet store. The males will have numerous clearly defined marks on their heads.

Separate one pair of the severums into a 55 to 75 gallon breeding tank with hiding places, plants and an area for free swimming. Make sure the tank has a flat piece of slate or other rock with a horizontal surface on which the fish can spawn. Choose a pair of severums that rub their sides against each other, display a "kissing" behavior, and stage mock fights as these are mating behaviors. The female will take on orange tones on its belly and anal fins.

Raise the water temperature to 85 degrees Fahrenheit, making the change very gradually as you would any change in an aquarium. Place peat in the filter to make the water softer and slightly more acidic than normal conditions, or add driftwood to the tank to accomplish the same effect. Perform large, daily water changes by siphoning out the old water and replacing it with clean, non-chlorinated water to encourage spawning.

Watch for light brown eggs to appear on the horizontal rock surface. The eggs will hatch in three to five days. The parents may eat the eggs or hatched fry for some time, but they will eventually take care of their young and raise them to adulthood.

Tips & Warnings

  • Remove the eggs and raise the fry separately to ensure their safety if you wish, feeding them live food such as baby brine shrimp or microworms -- but you might gain more satisfaction watching the parents care for their fry.
  • Severums become aggressive during mating and should be separated from their tank mates.

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