Scientifically known as Geophagus steindachneri, the Red Hump Eartheater originates from the river drainages of northwestern Venezuela and western and northern Colombia in South America. This peaceful fish species grows to a maximum size of 6 inches and has a unique habit of eating earth, requiring a sandy substrate in the aquarium for sifting food. They get lots of sand in their gills to sieve out food for eating, making gravel unsuitable as it may cause choking or refusal to eat.
Red Hump Geos are sociable and prefer living in schools of at least four fish, except when breeding, for which a pair is sufficient. They are small in size, hardy, and easily adapt to new habitats. Unlike their delicate Geophagus cousins, the Red Humps readily accept homemade foods and do not necessarily require a fine sandy substrate for sifting.
These fish can be found as wild-caught or captive-bred specimens. They thrive in soft water with a pH range of 5.0 to 8.0 and a temperature range of 70°F to 82°F.
When it comes to tankmates, Red Hump Eartheaters get along well with most South American Cichlids, larger tetras, and catfish due to their large size. They are compatible with species like the Red Shoulder Severum, Chocolate Cichlid, and Rhino Plecos.
As omnivores, Red Hump Eartheaters have a preference for insects but can also be fed with prepared diets, frozen foods, pellets, flakes, or live food. Fluval bug bites are an ideal food option for them and can be mixed with regular fish food for added benefits.