Actinopteri (ray-finned fishes) > Cichliformes
(Cichlids, convict blennies) > Cichlidae
(Cichlids) > Cichlasomatinae
Etymology: Pterophyllum: Greek, pteron, = fin, sail + Greek, phyllon = leaf; apparently in reference to the tall wide and triangular dorsal fin (Ref. 45335).
Environment: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range
Freshwater; benthopelagic; pH range: 6.0 - 8.0; dH range: 5 - 13. Tropical; 24°C - 30°C (Ref. 40602); 6°N - 10°S, 78°W - 51°W
South America: Amazon River basin, in Peru, Colombia, and Brazil, along the Ucayali, Solimões and Amazon rivers; rivers of Amapá (Brazil), Rio Oyapock in French Guiana; Essequibo River in Guyana.
Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm ?  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 7.5 cm SL male/unsexed; (Ref. 36377)
Body compressed and disc-shaped; dorsal and anal spiny rays increasing in length from anterior to posterior part of the fin; first branched rays also very long; body height at anal fin level 1.07 to 1.29 times in SL; body color silvery with dark vertical bars (7 in juveniles, 4 in adults) (Ref. 35237).
Inhabit swamps or flooded grounds where the aquatic and riverine vegetation are dense and the water is either clear or silty. Its color is deeper in clear water (Ref. 35237). One of the most popular of all the tropical aquarium fish. Maximum length 15 cm TL (Ref. 7020). Aquarium keeping: in groups of 5 or more individuals; keep pairs in small tanks for breeding; minimum aquarium size 100 cm (Ref. 51539).
Life cycle and mating behavior
Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae
Males court females during the breeding season. Both male and female guard the eggs which are attached to the surface of aquatic vegetation in a nest area (Ref. 46591). During the entire brooding cycle, bonding of the original pair of parents is maintained complete with defence of each partner against aggression or potential rivals (Ref. 46591).
Kullander, S.O., 2003. Cichlidae (Cichlids). p. 605-654. In R.E. Reis, S.O. Kullander and C.J. Ferraris, Jr. (eds.) Checklist of the Freshwater Fishes of South and Central America. Porto Alegre: EDIPUCRS, Brasil. (Ref. 36377)
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 123251)
CITES (Ref. 123416)
Threat to humans
Aquarium: highly commercial
Estimates based on models
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 0.6250 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.03715 (0.01993 - 0.06926), b=2.99 (2.82 - 3.16), in cm total length, based on LWR estimates for this species & (Sub)family-body (Ref. 93245
Trophic level (Ref. 69278
): 3.6 ±0.59 se; based on food items.
Resilience (Ref. 120179
): High, minimum population doubling time less than 15 months (tm<1).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): Low vulnerability (11 of 100) .