Pearl Horseface, Pearlscale Eartheater, Pearl Eartheater
Quite an easy species to identify, shape is typical of the brasiliensis complex. Irridescent pearl/blue colour to the centre of the scales. Old males may develop a nuchal hump.
Brasiliensis are currently being sold as all sorts of things around Australia. At a small size these can be mistaken for most of the Gymnogeophagus strains so be careful if you are chasing Gymno. rhabdotus or meriodonalis, as you may be paying a lot of money for a brasiliensis. The name brasiliensis is used to describe up to 30 different fish from different locations in South America. I have no idea which location the Australian brasiliensis came from but we currently have a few varieties doing the rounds here.
This fish has been in Australia for as long as I have been in the hobby (25 years) and is an ideal introduction to the keeping of Geophagus. It is very forgiving in its requirements and is in reality, pretty hard to kill. Not too fussy with water parameters, it is easy to spawn and is normally a very reliable parent.
One characteristic which can be a bit of a problem is that they can grow to be fairly large at well over 30cm. At that size they require a large tank and can be very boisterous when spawning. They also have upwards of 300/400 fry when fully grown, so the young can be a bit hard to get rid of. Donít look to make money out of breeding this species, they are too common for that but are a really wonderful fish to keep.
This species is evidently swimming free and spawning in the Swan River in Perth and also the upper Tweed River around the NSW/QLD border. Their distribution in South America is around 25 degrees south, so unlike other Geophagus, they can survive quite well in areas of similar latitude such as Southern QLD and Northern NSW.