This stunningly patterned fish has been popular within the aquarium hobby for nearly 70 years. This is, perhaps, a little surprising given that its strong territorial instincts make it somewhat aggressive toward many of its tankmates. However, the pleasure of keeping a well-matched pair housed in a sufficiently spacious, well-designed aquarium, stocked with robust species, more than makes up for the disadvantages in the behavioral aspects of the species. An albino variety is occasionally available.
This group comprises several genera closely related to the South American genus Cichlasoma, and assigned to it until recently. The earlier name, and also Heros, is still commonly used. Their distribution encompasses lakes, rivers, and streams in not only Central America but also the southern United States and some Caribbean islands. The water in these regions is normally hard and alkaline (pH 7.5-8.0), and still or with a slow to moderate flow. The maintenance/breeding temperature is 24-27°C (75-80°F).