Nannacara anomala comes from Western Guyana, South America, where they are found in still or slow moving waters. They are commonly known as the Golden Eyed Dwarf Cichlid.
Their natural habitat is soft and slightly acidic water, they often populate the savannahs of the flooded forest floor.
Ideal conditions are a temperature of around 26 °C with a pH around 6.5 and a general hardness of around 5dH.
The tank set up should attempt to resemble their natural habitat, which is basically a fine substrate with some bogwood to replicate the branches and roots in the water, with large leaved plants for shelter and places to hide.
Clay pots are ideal to serve as caves or as a flat surface for spawning. Sexing the adult fish is fairly easy when in breeding condition. Colour variation is vast depending on which region they come from. The adult males tend to be larger than the female reaching an overall length of 3 inches, with elongated dorsal and anal fins. The female will only reach around half the size of the male at 1.5 inches.
In non breeding condition both male and female may display two dark lateral stripes with faint vertical markings. Above the lateral line is light brown and below is lighter in colour. The cheeks are iridescent blue / green and the dorsal fin has a white edge fringed with red.
When in breeding colours the male is a spectacular metallic blue, which really shows off his golden eyes.
The female displays a stunning lattice or checkerboard pattern on her upper body.
Once the pair have spawned, the female takes on the role of guarding the eggs and raising the fry, she will chase away the male aggressively or even kill him if he has nowhere to hide.
After around three days the fry hatch and are free swimming after another six days or so.
The female will move the fry around to pre dug pits in the substrate on a regular basis. Once free swimming, the fry will take newly hatched brine shrimp as their first food.
After about two weeks the female may allow the male to help her care for the fry.
© Vincent Balman, Strood and District Aquarist Society 2006.