A couple of years ago we brought in a dwarf cichlid that I had never seen before, Nannacara anomala also known as the Golden Eye Cichlid. They were still pretty small and colorless, but when I looked them up I saw the stunning coloration that they got,. Their small max size prompted me to buy a few. I took home two females and a male to go into my 40 gallon community tank. They quickly became my favorite of all the dwarf cichlids. Not only do they get fantastic coloration; they stay relatively small, and are one of the most peaceful cichlids.
Nannacara anomala are native to Guyana and Suriname (most in the aquarium trade are bred in Europe) so they do best in softer, acidic water, but can handle a slightly alkaline environment. A minimum tank size of 20 gallons with ample plants and driftwood will help create a suitable home for these little guys. They are very peaceful, unless they are spawning, so they can be kept with other peaceful community fish. Top dwelling dither fish such as White Clouds, Danio choprae, and Marble Hatchets are best due to the potential for aggression when spawning, but be sure to have a tight fitting lid.
Nannacara anomala are pretty easy to sexually distinguish. As Golden Eye Cichlids mature the males develop a bright blue coloration that rivals even the Electric Blue Acara. The females get a deep orange-red similar to that of some Apistogramma species, and are equally as stunning as the males. On a darker substrate the males will have a darker gray-black body, while on a lighter substrate they will have a tan body. I kept mine on black sand, which really made the blue pop on the darker body.
Breeding Nannacara anomalas can be done with relative ease. Just having a male and female together in a set-up as described above will most likely lead to them breeding. When I had mine in my 40 gallon community tank, it was a matter of waiting for the fish to grow and mature and they were breeding. The females get aggressive when spawning, especially with one another if you have multiple in a tank. A harem of females with one male will have the best results, but should be done in a much larger tank with at least 48”x12” of footprint.
A proper diet is extremely important for fish. Nannacara anomalas naturally are micropredators, where they forage for worms, bugs, and small crustaceans. In home aquaria their diet should consist mainly of a meaty cichlid pellet, arctic pods, bloodworms, and some vegetable matter to supplement such as spirulina kelp flakes.As Patrick always says “stronger fish leads to a healthier aquarium”, so a food soak is always recommended for pellets and freeze dried foods to help boost their immune system.
If you have any questions regarding Nannacara anomala, please email or call and ask for Brishen!