Max Size: 10cm

Checkerboard Cichlid (Dicrossus filamentosus)

Checkerboard Cichlids, Dicrossus filamentosus, are peaceful and pleasant Dwarf Cichlids ideally suited to aquariums with soft water, plenty of planted areas and peaceful tankmates. These Cichlids make excellent community residents if kept with schools of small fish. However, housing them with other aggressive fish is not recommended; otherwise, they may struggle.

You will often see them moving around in large shoals just above the substrate. It is, therefore, best to keep a group of 8 or more individuals for their continued well-being.

These fish are sensitive to water conditions, so they are unsuitable for beginner aquarists. Even though these fish are amicable, females will protect spawning places and their eggs and fry. During this time, they can be pretty aggressive within a small territory.

Checkerboard Cichlids have copper-coloured bodies that are elongated and slender. Their noses are short, and their mouths are small. Similar to a checkerboard, their bodies display two rows of square black spots. These spots run along the centre of the flank and under the dorsal fin. The lower row of spots can expand, forming a line that runs from the upper portion of the nose to the base of the caudal fin, depending on the mood of the Cichlid.


Checkerboard cichlid
Checkerboard cichlid
Dicrossus filamentosus
Dicrossus filamentosus
Quick Facts
Scientific NameDicrossus filamentosus
Year Described1958
Other NamesChessboard Cichlid, Checkerboard Dwarf Cichlid
OriginsBrazil, Colombia, Venezuela
Aquarium LevelMiddle
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asGroups 8+
Lifespan3 - 5 years
Water Parameters
Water TypeFreshwater
PH4.5 - 6.5
GH1 - 8
81 - 86℉
27.2 - 30℃

Natural Habitat



In the home aquarium, the Checkerboard Cichlid will readily accept most good quality dried foods such as granules, flakes and sinking pellets. These modern food products have been developed to provide all adequate nutrition to maintain your fish's health and dietary requirements.

Providing additional foodstuffs such as live, frozen, and freeze-dried meals such as bloodworm, daphnia, and tubifex once or twice a week will provide additional benefits to your fish's health and well-being but is not a must for this fish.

It should be noted that bloodworms should only be given as an occasional treat and should not be used as the staple diet as they are difficult for fish to digest and can potentially cause blockages.

This fish is an omnivore in the wild, meaning it will consume some vegetable matter. Although most modern fish foods take this into account and include them in their products, you can still supplement your fish's diet with blanched vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, and zucchini. Ensure you do not overfeed your fish and remove any leftovers the following day.

Sexual Dimorphism

Identifying male and female Bolivian Ram Cichlids is relatively straightforward. Adult males grow larger and slimmer than females, possess a more pointed dorsal fin, have extended filaments on their tail fin, and are more intensely coloured.

When Checkerboard Cichlids spawn, the ventral fins of the males become blue and red striped, while the ventral fins of the females become a solid red color.

Other Cichlids of interest

African Butterfly Cichlid(Anomalochromis thomasi)
Banded Apistogramma(Apistogramma bitaeniata)
Blue Panda Apistogramma(Apistogramma panduro, Apistogramma pandurini)
Bolivian Ram Cichlid(Mikrogeophagus altispinosus)
Cockatoo Dwarf Cichlid(Apistogramma cacatuoides)
Convict Cichlid(Amatitlania nigrofasciata)
View all Cichlids
Date Added: 07/12/2020 - Updated: 23/08/2022 16:08:18