Sam Borstein's Cichlid Page

Cichlasoma portalegrensis
(Hensel, 1870)

Port Cichlid, Ports
Synonyms: Aequidens portalegrensis

Port cichlids
Above: A Port Cichlid. Photo by Sam Borstein.


Genus- Kichle= wrasse like (Greek), soma= body (Greek).
Species- portalegrensis= tpye was found in Porto Alegre.


The Port Cichlid is a classic when it comes to new world fishkeeping. This mildly aggressive, large fish has been in the aquarium trade for years and still has a lot of popularity. Although Port cichlids are brawn with very few colors, they are easy to breed and can be a great communtiy fish.

In 1983 Dr. Sven Kullander, one of the most well known authors on South American cichlids restricted the use of Cichlasoma to Port Cichlids and their relatives. This left many species without a proper placement, most notably the Central American cichlids.


Port Cichlids are native to Brazil.

Size, Maturity, and Sexual Dimorphism:

Size: Males- 10 inches, Females- 7 inches
Maturity: 2.5 inches
Sexual Dimorphism: Males are larger than females and develop longer fin extensions.


Ports are big messy fish, but are otherwise easy to keep. Aggression is not to big of an issue to deal with, but the fish do need swimming room. I recommend a 40 breeder minimum for a larger pair. Like said above, they are messy, so weekly water changes is a must. I've found this fish will do fine and spawn in hard alkaline water.


Ports are omnivorous, but I like feeding a meaty pellet to get them into spawning condition. My favorite foods were Tetra Cichlid Sticks and large sizes of Spectrum.


Breeding Ports is not overly difficult. The fish form good pairs and will defend a spawning site voraciously.

Ports lay anywhere from 150-500 eggs with larger spawns coming from larger and older fish.

The eggs hatch in 3-4 days and by 8 days are free swimming. The fry are small, but are able to eat newly hatched baby brine shrimp. They grow quickly and are not problematic to raise.


This fish is very nice to keep. If you are just getting into keeping larger fish, this fish is a great introduction as they are not overly aggressive. You can usually find this fish at pet shops for low prices.