As the name suggests the Checkerboard Cichlid belongs to the Cichlid family. They are one of the lesser known Cichlids,this partly because they are more difficult to keep then most other Cichlids. This is not a beginner’s fish.
This is one of smaller Cichlids available, growing to a maximum of around 3 inches Therefore you do not need a massive aquarium, around 20 gallons will be fine.
What makes these fish so difficult to keep is their need for really soft acidic water. The water they are kept in should ideally have a pH of between 4.5 and 6. For fish keepers living in hard water areas these conditions will be really difficult to achieve. They are very sensitive to any nitrate in the water, so lots of water changes will be necessary.
These are really shy fish, so to increase their confidence and make them feel safe you should plant lots of plants and create lots of possible hiding places. As for which plants to choose, they like floating plants and broad leaf plants such as Amazon Swords.
As I have already mentioned this fish is very shy and will not go well with other Cichlids. In the wild they share their environment with Cardinal Tetras, so these will be a good choice for the aquarium.
They will happily accept high quality flake food . However, if you are planning on breeding these fish, you should supplement their diet with live food or high quality frozen food. They will love daphnia, brine shrimp and bloodworms