Sam Borstein's Cichlid Page

Archocentrus chetumalensis
(Schmitter-Soto, 2007)

Red Fin Spilurus
Synonyms: Cryptoheros chetumalensis

Archocentrus chetumalensis
Above: A female Archocentrus chetumalensis "Rio Blanco, Guatemala-Honduras border" guarding fry. Photo by Sam Borstein.


Genus- Arch= anus (Greek), kentron= sting (Greek), Referring to the anal fin spines.
Species- chetumalensis= Named after the city Chetumal, near the type locality


Archocentrus chetumalensis is a rather new fish to the hobby as well as science. This species was described by Schmitter-Soto in his 2007 revision of the Archocentrus. Archocentrus chetumalensis is rather docile as far as convict types go and grows to a very manageable size of around 4 inches. . Originally, this species was considered a Northern color morph of Archocentrus spilurus. This species displays some wonderful reddish coloration. This red coloration as well as the similarities with Archocentrus spilurus give this fish its common name Red Fin Spilurus. It is debated by some taxonomists if the genus Cryptoheros is valid or not. Because the description is done poorly and doesn't clearly define the genus, I don't view it as valid and therefore leave it in Archocentrus.


Archocentrus chetumalensis occurs from Quintana Roo, Mexico south towards Guatemalan Peten. This species is found in rivers spanning through their range.

Size, Maturity, and Sexual Dimorphism:

Size: Males- 4 inches, Females- 3 inches
Maturity: 1 inch
Sexual Dimorphism: Males are larger than females and attain trailers to the anal and dorsal fin. Females tend to have a more strong red color in the cheeks and around the throat than males do. The females also get a noticable red dorsal fin.

Archocentrus chetumalensis
Above: A male Archocentrus chetumalensis "Rio Blanco, Guatemala-Honduras border". Photo by Sam Borstein.


Archocentrus chetumalensis is an easy fish to keep. They are not overly aggressive outside of spawning and would make great tank mates for other similarly sized Central American cichlids.

I keep two pairs in a 40 breeder with few issues. Although the pairs will squabble from time to time they don't cause serious harm to each other. The key is providing lots of territories in the tank via flowerpots, terra cotta caves, and plants. A well bonded pair could easily be kept 20 long


Archocentrus chetumalensis is an omnivore and will accept almost any food offered. A mix of flakes, pellets, and live food will keep the fish in good health.


Archocentrus chetumalensis was easy to breed. This species is a cave spawner, so you will need to add some caves to the tank in order to spawn them. During courting the red color intensifies on both male and females.

Once spawning commences, the female will darken considerably. The ventral area turns jet black and the brown-gray base color of the fish changes to a white color with black bars, almost tiger like. Archocentrus chetumalensis form good pair bonds and will defend their eggs rigorously. I've not had issues with this species not raising their fry to free swimming. The fry, which can range in numbers from 50-200, are quite small. I've had good success raising them on baby brine shrimp.


Archocentrus chetumalensis is a great fish to keep and is fairly popular in the hobby at the moment. Although you won't find this species in a pet store, it is widely available from hobbyists. Its splash of color as well as docile manner makes it a welcome addition to the hobby.