Parachromis motaguensis of the Río Dulce National Park, Guatemala

Río Dulce National ParkDeep into Izabal Guatemala’s cattle farms, I found this jewel. A beautiful river in part of the Río Dulce National Park.  This is a natural reserve although it runs through private cattle farms mostly.

People don’t usually fish in this river which is reflected in the size of the fish found in it.  The presence of big predatory fish is a sign of how healthy the river is.

The pictures don’t show how clear the water is, nor how cold it is either.  At eleven in the morning, the temperature was at 18° Celsius (64° Fahrenheit) at the shallows which is very low for one of the hottest areas of Guatemala.


This time I came across a good population of Parachromis motaguensis, a big favorite in the cichlid hobby and internationallyy known as RTM (Red Tiger Motaguensis).

There was Thorichthys aureus.

Also, a big characid that is locally known as Machaca, which I suspect to be Brycon dentex.

Other smaller fish netted were Carlhubbsia stuarti, Cynodonichthys tenuis, Poecilia sp., Astyanax sp., Vieja maculicauda, tilapia, and Parachromis managuensis.  As always all fish were safely released back into the water.

It may not seem like it but the water is very clear and some parts are very deep, locals warned us that sometimes there are small alligators in the river.

by Rodrigo Aldana
Images by Rodrigo Aldana

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