HomeAquarium FishAstatheros Rostratus for Your Tank: What You Need to Know

Astatheros Rostratus for Your Tank: What You Need to Know

Astatheros Rostratus can be a great addition to any freshwater aquarium. They are docile river fish from Central America with unique personality traits and varying color schemes. But as with any fish, knowledge of the species and proper research are required before buying and adding them to your aquarium.

Astatheros Rostratus are freshwater fish that originate from the rivers and lakes in Central America. They are relatively peaceful fish that prefer to live in groups. 

They interact well with most other non-aggressive species. When fully grown, they are medium to large fish, and since they thrive best in a group, proper tank size will be necessary.


Astatheros Rostratus is a medium-sized fish, averaging at about 10 inches when fully grown. Their coloring is best described as a golden brown hue with darker stripes. 

This stays true throughout their growing stage but changes as they mature. Depending on environment and sex, various colorful dots can adorn the fish as they age, making them an aesthetically pleasing addition to any freshwater aquarium.


The lifespan of the Astatheros Rostratus can vary, as with any fish, due to multiple factors: original genetics, environmental factors, and overall care if kept as a pet as opposed to one wild fish. 

They are slow to grow, taking years to get to their maximum size and maturity. Under normal aquarium conditions, one should expect the average Astatheros Rostratus to live at least a few years, if not longer. 

Some in perfect conditions have been known to live for over ten years. When properly cared for, a very strong and healthy fish, a healthy group of Astatheros Rostratus should be expected to be a significant fixture in your aquarium for long periods.

Habitat and Tank Requirements

The natural habitat of the Astatheros is both lakes and medium to fast-moving rivers, so a freshwater tank of decent size is required to recreate their natural living conditions while in captivity. 

Juveniles can be held in a tinier tank while still relatively small in size but will need more room as they grow. Since they need to be kept as a group, a large tank will be required when the group matures. 

It is essential to recreate the Central American waterways they originate from as much as possible. This will consist of both sand and small gravel. 

Adding river-worn rocks and boulders will help recreate the natural rivers they originate from and provide natural shelter, though they are inclined to stay out in the open.


As with any other fish, proper care is paramount to keep Astatheros Rostratus alive and thriving. As discussed, the tank must be large enough to hold a group of fish comfortably properly. 

The proper aquarium is also essential; cleaningmaintenance, and maintaining suitable water conditions are necessary steps for any fish, and the Rostratus is no exception. 

They thrive best in certain water conditions, like other species of fish from Central America, with both hard water and high pH levels. Knowledge of water testing and adjusting the water to the conditions can be vital to their overall health. 

Water temperature is also a factor; the water that Astatheros Rostratus naturally thrive in is cooler than some people are used to maintaining. Remember that these levels can differ from other species, so when intermingling different types of aquatic life with Astatheros Rostratus, ensure that the water conditions are beneficial to all species in the tank. 

Always remember to consider every species in the tank when making any adjustments or habitat decisions. 

Also Read: Imagitarium Parasite Remedy – A Natural Cure


Like many of the species of fish that live in the rivers and lakes of Central America, Astatheros Rostratus eat a variety of plant matter, detritus (dead particulate organic matter), and insects. 

They sift through the rich waterbed of small lakes and rivers for most of their food in natural conditions. This also includes algae and small animals that live in sand and gravel. 

Many high-quality foods replicate their raw diet. There are pellets and even prepared foods available at most fish stores, and a variety works best. 

It is recommended to include pellets that sink to the bottom to search through the sand and gravel as it would happen in the rivers where they naturally populate. 

Sinking Cichlid Gold pellets and Omega One Cichlid pellets are two popular foods that work well in conjunction. Not only do they promote overall health with necessary vitamins and minerals, but they also promote the enhancement of their natural color.

Naturally occurring algae can also be added to the tank to provide an additional food source. While it is essential to keep a tank relatively clean, keep in mind that some algae are a great food source for numerous species. 

Remember that not all species benefit from algae, so always consider that.


Breeding any fish, in general, is generally more complex than just buying either juvenile or full-grown fish and keeping them. And Astatheros Rostratus can pose specific challenges; they are not always prone to breed in captivity. 

Even though naturally peaceful in groups, they can become agitated and even aggressive when separated or put into mating pairs.

Most successful attempts of breeding these species seem to come when they are in a much larger habitat than a tank. Well-maintained fish ponds or even small natural ponds improve successful mating chances. 

If both are available, keeping them in a pond for the spring and summer seasons for mating is beneficial while also transferring them into large community tanks when the weather turns colder. 

The Astatheros Rostratus will lay their eggs in shallow water and in the open with very little natural camouflage. When they hatch, the baby fish (also called fry) will stay close together and usually be closer to the bottom. 

The spawning couple will aggressively defend their fry, and it is a full-time job. Not until the fry grow large enough to venture out on their own will their behavior change; being social fish, they will continue to stay together for the duration of their lifespan.


Buying Astatheros Rostratus can be a challenge due to availability. The best option would be to find a large fish-specific store in your area or a large city. Even if they do not sell that particular species, they may know another dealer that has them. 

Some large online aquariums have them, but it is a seasonal fish to have in stock. There are also large aquatic message boards and online communities where you may be able to find breeders that are willing to sell. 

Prices can vary from availability and age; for juveniles, you should expect between $10 and $20, while adults can go for considerably more.

Fish Selection

Hopefully, you can find a reputable source for purchasing Astatheros Rostratus with a wide variety of healthy fish. Once you have found one, then you must select the right fish for you and your tank. 

You must decide if you want to begin with juveniles and have them grow in your tank for years or if full-grown adults are best for you. You will hopefully be buying multiple unless you have them already. 

Sex will also be an essential factor as you want to have a mixture of males and females. This is also especially important if one of your goals is breeding at a later date. 

If you can pick them out from a store in person, always do your best to choose the healthiest and heartiest fish for your aquarium. Help from the dealer in this decision is usually advised.

So Are Astatheros Rostratus The Right Fish For Your Aquarium?

Astatheros Rostratus is a known Central American cichlid species for larger freshwater aquariums. Thanks to their docile nature, they are welcome to add to environments that need multiple medium to large fish that are non-aggressive. 

They can exhibit a variety of distinct colors and can live comfortably for years if their environment is similar to their natural habitat and is appropriately maintained. 

Providing a typical diet is not difficult once you find the right foods. Breeding this species can be done with the proper environments and be a rewarding endeavor to observe their growth from egg to fry to fish.

However, these fish may not be a suitable species for everyone to attempt to care for. As with some other species, certain care factors must be considered before combining them with your ecosystem. 

Habitatsize, and water conditions must all be factored into any decision. But if you decide that Astatheros Rostratus is the suitable species for your tank, they will be a welcome and prominent addition to any aquarium.

Fishkeeping Expert
Fishkeeping Expert
With years of collective fishkeeping knowledge, we are pleased to share the tank maintenance tips and fish care advice we've picked up along the way. Fishkeeping Expert is home to all fishkeeping tutorials and guides that will help you keep your fish healthy.


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