Inhabits lakes and streams. Largely found solitarily or in pairs, rarely in groups of 6-8, often in association with poeciliids and the mugilid Agonostomus monticola. Occurs with introduced cichlids at numerous localities. Adults swim in open water, taking refuge in small crevices under debris or in rocks when pursued. Young fish are frequently found in aquatic vegetation. Feeds on algae, other aquatic plants and turret shells.