Cryptoheros sp. Honduran Red Point

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The stunning Honduran Red Point has recently surfaced in specialist stores in the UK. Matt Clarke explains how to keep it.

Common name: Honduran Red Point, Honduran Red Point Convict, Blue Convict, HRP

Scientific name: Cryptoheros sp. "Honduran Red Point"

Origin: Collected from the Rio Patuca on the Mosquito Coast of Honduras by Rusty Wessels in the early 1990s.

Size: This is quite new to the hobby, so the adult size of the fish is not yet known. Most Cryptoheros reach about 12cm/5" for males, with females a bit smaller, but some fishkeepers claim the adult size of these is a bit smaller at around 8cm/3" tops.

Water: Not fussy. Found in moderately hard, alkaline water.

Sexing: Fairly easy when the fish are over about 6cm/2" in length. Females are mainly metallic blue with iridescent green flecks and a pale underlying melanin pattern. The dorsal of the female is often very blue with a dark mark in the middle, similar to that seen in female nigrofasciatus and nanoluteus.

Males are slightly larger when adult, have slighting longer fins and orange-red markings in the dorsal, anal and caudal. These are usually absent or less obvious in females.

Breeding: Most Cryptoheros are quite straightforward to breed. However, those who've bred this species say it seems to produce smaller broods than nigrofasciatus. Reader Brian Ramsbottom told us: "I was lucky enough to buy two F2 fish from this batch of fish at Wharf Aquatics. I was even luckier when they turned out to be a male and a female. They spawned in their tank but I was in the process of changing around my fish house so had to remove the fry from the tank and rear them myself. These fry are just under 1cm and are starting to colour up - showing the lovely blue of their parents.

"Not long after the move to the new tank they spawned again and are currently caring for their new brood which consists of approx 50-70 fry. This was considerably larger than their first brood of 30 fry. The parents are very protective of their young to the point of biting you when you put your hand in the tank."

Diet: Not known. Cryptoheros aren't famous for being fussy eaters, though, and most will happily accept flakes, pellets and frozen foods, such as bloodworms and brineshrimp.

Aquarium: I've not kept this species, so I can't comment specifically on its aggression, however, some are claiming that this is a more placid fish than nigrofasciatus. I'd recommend going for a species tank for these. If you can afford to, get a small group of them and ask your dealer if he'll be willing to trade-in the extra fish remaining after a pair has formed. I've kept some of the Cryptoheros with other smaller Central American cichlids without too many problems in larger tanks. Though, when breeding not much will be safe if the tank is not particularly large. An adult pair should be fine in a 90cm/36" tank. Include plenty of rocks and bogwood so the female and any other fish present have places to escape to if the dominant male becomes violent.

Notes: Also being sold as Cryptoheros nigrofasciatus "Honduran Red Point" and Cryptoheros cf. nigrofasciatus. There's some debate over the true identity of these fish. Some believe they are merely a geographic variety of the Convict, Cryptoheros (formerly Archocentrus) nigrofasciatus, but others think they are a distinct and undescribed species. My opinion falls with the latter. I reckon they might even have more in common with nanoluteus than nigrofasciatus. I'd certainly keep them away from other Cryptoheros species to prevent polluting the currently very pure gene pool.

Similar species: The colouration of these means that they are unlikely to be confused with other Cryptoheros species. If you can't find these but want to keep something similarly stunning, get your dealer to keep his eyes out for Cryptoheros nanoluteus. It basically looks like a yellow version of the HRP. Unfortunately, it's very hard to get hold of. I've only seen a couple for sale in years of searching.

Availability: These have been around in the US for some time, but supplies to the UK have been very limited. These ones were on sale at Wharf Aquatics in Nottingham. Should be a good seller when someone manages to establish these in the UK hobby.

Price: Expect to pay about 12 a pair.

Matt Clarke