The Inca Stone Cichlid is a little fish with a big name. Just try to pronounce this one… Tahuantinsuyoa macantzatza. The tricky nomenclature derives from the Quechua Indians of Peru. The genus name is their word for the Inca empire, while the species name translates as “stone fish”, in reference to the rocky bottom of the streams where this cichlid occurs.
The habitat is described as a clearwater stream running over sand and gravel, with a pH that varies from weakly acidic to weakly alkaline. Specifically, T. macantzatza comes to us from tributaries of the Rio Aguaytia, not far from the Andes, and was only described scientifically in 1986. Since then, only one other species (T. chipi) has been added to its genus, and it’s also from Peru. Their closest relatives can be found in a couple other primarily South American groups, Bujurquina and Andinoacara, the latter of which is home to the familiar Blue Acara (A. pulcher) and Green Terror (A. rivulatus).
Like many of those cichlids, T. macantzatza is a smaller species, growing to little more than four inches when fully grown. Both sexes are adorned with a variety of iridescent markings on the face and scales, as well as having a thick, dark line which runs along the midbody. The face and fins of males develop an especially lovely shade of orange, giving this fish a sublime beauty.
Aquarists report the Inca Stone Cichlid to be fairly peaceful, though you may wish to avoid mixing it with especially small tetras and barbs. There are numerous New World Cichlids which would work well as potential tankmates, including the geophagine eartheaters, the smaller Crenicichla pike cichlids, or even some of its closer relatives, like the Blue Acara. Corydoras and loricariid catfishes and larger tetras would also fit in well and create a reasonably accurate biotope.
As biparental mouthbrooders, its relatively simple to breed this fish in the home aquarium. As with most cichlids, males are a bit more colorful and with slightly longer fins. Eggs are laid on a suitably solid surface, preferably a piece of stone, and the juveniles will be taken into the mouth of either parent once they hatch. The pair may become increasingly aggressive at this time towards their tankmates and each other.