The Word of the Day is Vieja!

Today’s word of the day is “vieja”. It is a Spanish word. It is the feminine case of the word meaning “old”, with “viejo” being the masculine. Now, this may be obvious in places where Spanish is the primary or secondary language spoken, but in eclectic, multicultural Toronto that is this wonderful melting pot of ethnicity, where there is no clear majority of anything, pronunciations have been known to get a little bit wonky. FYI – to pronounce it correctly, say the letter V, the letter A and then laugh out loud – the correct pronunciation is vee-eh-ha…

NOT vee-jay…
NOT vee-jee…
NOT vee-yah-ha…
NOT vee-jah…
NOT vay-ha…


(IPA: vi-e-hə)

(If you don’t believe me, check out 😛

Names in green are photographed below.

Vieja is a superbly-awesome genus of about seventeen fourteen über-large fish (most ranging from 25-35 cm) that originate from Central America.  This includes V. argentea (white cichlids or silver Viejas), V. bifasciata (two-band cichlids), V. breidohri (angostura cichlids), V. fenestrata (black stripe or window cichlids), V. godmanni (southern check mark cichlids), V. guttulata (Amatitlan cichlids), V. hartwegi (Hartweg’s or tailbar cichlids), V. heterospila (Montecristo cichlids), V. intermedia (northern check mark cichlids), V. maculicauda (blackbelt cichlids), V. melanura (pitch cichlids or black-tail Viejas), V. microphthalma (mesh cichlids), V. regani (Regan’s or Almoloya cichlids), V. synspila (redhead or quetzal cichlids), V. tuyrensis (Tuyra or firebrand cichlid), V. ufermanni (Usumacinta cichlids) and V. zonata (Oaxaca cichlids).

In late 2010, a review of the Vieja genus was suggested, which would break apart the above family into three groups, putting the three smallest species into Theraps, including: V. godmanni, V. intermedia and V. microphthalmus. Two species were stuck back in “Cichlasoma”, which include: V. heterospila and V. tuyrensis, for future re-classification. The remaining bulk of the species (including all my favourites) were put into Paraneetroplus or Herichthys, including: V. argentea, V. bifasciata, V. breidohri, V. fenestrata, V. guttulata, V. hartwegi, V. maculicauda, V. melanura, V. regani, V. synspila and V. zonata), while V. heterospila was absent from the list. Of course, none of this is official until TPTB figure it all out and the dust settles, but still interesting nonetheless!

Referencing, the Cichlid Room Companion, it looks like the following groupings have been determined as of October, 2010:

  • Chuco:
    1. Ch. godmanni
    2. Ch. intermedia
    3. Ch. microphthalmus
  • “Cichlasoma”:
    1. “C.” tuyrense
      Aside: I also came across a neat Vieja-like fish called the Chisel-Toothed cichlid (“Cichlasoma” bocourti), which is worth googling for some images.
  • Paratheraps:
    A number of species were listed here, however, the last update of Paratheraps happened in 2008, so I’m unsure of how up-to-date this particular grouping is. I will assume these all to be Vieja species and include them below.
  • Vieja:
    1. V. argentea
    2. V. bifasciata
    3. V. breidohri
    4. V. fenestrata
    5. V. guttulata
    6. V. hartwegi
    7. V. heterospila
    8. V. maculicauda
    9. V. melanura
    10. V. regani
    11. V. synspila
    12. V. ufermanni
    13. V. zonata

The exact grouping depends which source you reference. Regardless, they’re still beautiful fishes!

The start of my collection…

That’s all for now!


Revised: 2012-02-21
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6 Responses to The Word of the Day is Vieja!

  1. Daniel says:

    sorry to comment so much, but we have very similar fishrooms in terms of stock.
    what do you feed your fenes? or if thats not a fene its a guttulata, but whatever it is
    what do you feed it?
    I have a large fene that is a very picky eater, I’m always looking for the right food for him but he dosen’t like many of the foods i can find.

    and great site.

    • No worries, Daniel. I welcome the feedback!

      Yup, it’s a fenestratum, all right. She doesn’t really care what she’s fed, gobbling pretty much anything from Hikari pellets to Tetra Color bits to live earthworms to frozen bloodworms to flake food. I try to switch it up a bit so the smaller fish get their share without making too much of a mess, but I’d say anything round and pellet-like is a definite favourite. Maybe try spiking the food with Entice, garlic or some other kind of scent enhancer? I’m not completely convinced these things work, but can’t hurt to try.

      • Daniel says:

        cool thanks.

        I think the main problem is my fene was already very large when I got him (7-8 in). Because of this he has a number of strange idiosyncracies that I hardly understand, the most frustrating of which is that he absoluteley refuses to eat while there are people in the room.

        Because of this I’m never sure what he’s eating, or what he likes.
        Do you ever give yours vegetables?
        Ive heard fene are more vegetarian than carnivorous, though mine has only eaten vegetables once, and out of all the different kinds I tried, it was broccoli. He ate one peice then never ate it again.


      • Nope, never tried veggies. Perhaps I shall! 🙂

  2. Hendra Kho says:

    wow, beautiful fishes!
    i’ve been looking for v.breidohri juvenile, do you sell any?

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