Cichla ocellaris, often referred to as the "original" Peacock Bass, can be found in various regions of the Amazon basin, including Brazil, Guyana, and Peru. However, wild specimens of this species are rarely exported. Due to their popularity as both food and sport fish, they are extensively farmed in South America and Asia. Additionally, they have been intentionally or accidentally introduced into many tropical and subtropical waters. It's important to note that most of the Peacock Bass available in the aquarium hobby have been hybridized at some point, typically through crosses between C. ocellaris and C. monoculus.
Here are key points about Cichla ocellaris:
Natural Range: Cichla ocellaris can be found in various parts of the Amazon basin, specifically in Brazil, Guyana, and Peru. However, it is uncommon to find wild specimens being exported.
Farming and Introduction: Due to their popularity, Cichla ocellaris is extensively farmed in certain regions of South America and Asia. They are valued both as a food source and for sport fishing. Additionally, intentional or accidental introductions have resulted in their presence in many tropical and subtropical waters.
Hybridization: In the aquarium hobby, most available Peacock Bass have been subjected to hybridization. Commonly, hybridization occurs between C. ocellaris and C. monoculus, resulting in individuals with mixed lineage.
Size and Predatory Nature: Like other Cichla species, Cichla ocellaris is known for its large size, powerful swimming abilities, and predatory nature. These fish require substantial space to accommodate their growth and activity levels. Experienced aquarists are recommended to house them in suitably large aquariums or, ideally, indoor ponds as they reach adult size.
It's important to consider the specific needs and requirements of Cichla ocellaris, particularly due to their size, predatory behavior, and potential hybridization. Expertise in managing large, powerful fish and providing appropriate housing conditions is crucial for their successful care.