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CICHLIDS



OTHER AFRICAN CICHLIDS
A great deal of cichlids live in the numerous other rivers and lakes of Africa. Among these bodies of water are the Zaire, Zambezi, Nile, Gambia, and Niger Rivers; the Okavango River Delta, the Sierra Leone regions; the rainforests of Central Africa; and lakes Albert, Volta, and Victoria. The water of these various bodies of water is often acidic, although some are known to be alkaline. Since these African species differ so much in behavior, feeding habits, biotopes, and size, no general suggestions covering most of the group, can be made.

African Butterfly Cichlid, Dwarf Jewel, Butterfly Cichlid [Pictures]
Anomalochromis thomasi
SYN: Haplochromis thomasi, Hemichromis thomasi, Paratilapia thomasi, Pelmatochromis thomasi
PD: An oval-bodied cichlid with a slightly arched back. The base coloration is yellow-brown to brown. The body is marked with five faint, black bars that extend from the back to the mid-section of the body. The body has many rows of iridescent spots ranging in color from purple to blue to green to yellow. These spots usually are light hues (yellow, green, turquoise) that develop into darker hues (blue, purple) and then back into lighter hues near the caudal peduncle. A black band extends from under the mouth, through the eye, where it stops near the forehead. The caudal fin is fan-shaped and the upper tip is red. Just below the red tip is a turquoise stripe. The dorsal fin has a red edge with a yellow line paralleling it. A dark spot is located on the gill cover. The iris of the eye may develop a red color.
SIZE: Males to 4" (10 cm), females to 2.8" (7 cm)
SS: None
HAB: Western Africa; found in small, wooded streams that are tributaries of the Moa River- a river that flows from the Loma Mountains in southern Guinea, southeastern Sierra Leone, and western Liberia.
S: bottom, middle
TANK: A tank measuring 30" (76 cm) with a capacity of 20-25 gallons (75-98 L) is sufficient. The tank should be arranged in dark colors with pebbly substrate. The tank should be heavily planted with roots, rocks, wood, and over-turned flowerpots to serve as hiding places. Use flat stones as resting places and potential spawning sites. Leave open swimming areas.
WATER: pH 6-7.8 (6.8), 4-15 dH (8), 75-81F (24-27C)
SB: A peaceful fish recommended for community tanks including even small fish. A. thomasi forms strong monogamous bonds and later nuclear families. Sometimes a pair may quarrel, and in this case one should be removed or replaced. This fish becomes territorial during spawning.
SC: Pelvicachromis, Synodontis, Barbs, Nanochromis, African Tetras, Butterfly fish, Mormyrids.
FOOD: Live; crustaceans, aquatic insects, Tubifex, insect larvae; flakes; pellets; tablets
SEX: Females are smaller with brighter colors. When ready to spawn, females have rounder bellies.
B: This fish can be easily bred in a tank measuring 24" (61 cm) with a capacity of 20 gallons (75 L). Water maintenance must be kept up in order for the fish to get in a spawning condition. The water should have a pH from 6.1-6.5, a water hardness of 4-8 dH, and a temperature from 79-82F (26-28C). The tank should be equipped with large, flat stones and broad-leafed plants. As many as 500 eggs are laid on a previously cleaned stone or plant leaf. These are carefully guarded by the parents. The eggs hatch in 3-5 days and the fry are moved to a previously-dug pit. The fry can be fed on Artemia nauplii and dry foods. The parents continue their brood care. Some aquariasts experience a loss of broods. This can usually be attributed to lack of room in a breeding tank or a lack of food.
BP: 5. Breeding is not difficult in a well-maintained tank.
R: A. thomasi is a monotypic species, meaning that it is the only fish belonging to its genus. Different color variants are available, although the Liberian population may be a separate species. Wild-caught fish are more colorful than the common tank-bred fish.
DC: 3. A hardy fish recommended for an African River community tank.

Zebra Haplochromis [Pictures]
Haplochromis obliquidens
SYN: Chromis obliquidens, Clinodon bayoni, Ctenochromis obliquidens, Hemitilapia bayoni, Tilapia obliquidens
PD: An elongated fish with lateral compression. The coloration is highly variable depending on sex, mood, dominance, spawning season, and population. Dominant males in spawning dress are most colorful. The back is orange-red, while the flanks are bright yellow-green. The throat and underparts are light turquoise. The body is marked with 8-9 transverse bars. The fins are multicolored. Females are gray-yellow in color, while non-dominant males assume similar coloration of the female.
SIZE: To 5" (13 cm)
SS: Other "Haplochromis " species including Haplochromis brownae and forms of H. nyererei .
HAB: East Africa; endemic to the coastal regions in rocky and planted biotopes of Lake Victoria. This species, like most other Lake Malawi cichlids, is threatened to the brink of distinction in the lake as a result of the introduction of foreign species (Nile Perch) into the lake.
S: bottom, middle
TANK: 36" (91 cm) or 45 gallons (170 L) is sufficient, although a 48" (122 cm) tank is preferable. The substrate should be fine gravel or sand. Provide hiding places among rocks and caves. Plant sections of the tank heavily with robust, well-rooted species suck as Anubias and Vallisneria. Leave open swimming areas. The filter should be strong, but create little current.
WATER: 7-8.2 (8.0), 10-25 dH (18), 75-81F (24-27C)
SB: Males are territorial, requiring a large territory that they guard aggressively. Keep one male with two or more females. This species can be combined with other robust, similar-sized species. This species will not usually damage plants, other than uproot them, when given vegetable-based foods.
SC: Other Lake Victoria Haplochromines; Lake Malawi mbunas, Haplochromines, and Aulonocara; Hemichromis ; Cichlasomines; Synodontis .
FOOD: Live; insects, insect larvae, crustaceans, worms; flakes; pellets; tablets; vegetables; algae.
SEX: Males are larger and far more colorful than the yellow-gray females.
B: Males are agamic and should be raised with several females. When attempted to spawn this species, remove all sub-dominant males and leave only the one dominant male. Males are aggressive towards their mates, so several retreats must be provided. A small group of eggs is laid on a rock which are collected. The eggs are fertilized by the "dummy-egg" method. The female mouthbroods the eggs for about three weeks, and does not eat during this period. The fry should be removed when they are released and fed on Artemia, Daphnia, and crushed flakes.
BP: 7. This species moderately difficult to breed, in part due to the male's aggressive tendencies.
R: There are numerous undescribed Haplochromis species that are available in the hobby, which are known by their common name. There are several variations of this species including the "Fire Belly Zebra" form.
DC: 5. This hardy species thrives in well maintained water. Males are aggressive and territorial.

Jewel Cichlid, Two-spotted Jewel Cichlid [Pictures]
Hemichromis bimaculatus
SYN: Hemichromis fugax
PD: An elongated cichlid with a sloping forehead. The upper part of the body is light olive green while the lower part is red or orange. The lips are usually bright red as are the cheeks and lower jaw. In this area are small iridescent spots that are yellow to turquoise in coloration. A large black spot marks the fill cover. The body has two black spots; one located around the mid-section and the other on the caudal peduncle. The fins are olive to red with a bright red edge. During the spawning season the body becomes darker red with the small iridescent spots covering the entire body.
SIZE: To 6" (15 cm)
SS: Other Hemichromis species.
HAB: Western Africa; found in forested streams in the Niger River Watershed in Guinea, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, and Sierra Leone.
S: bottom, middle
TANK: A tank of 30" (76 cm) with a capacity of 20-25 gallons (75-98 L) is sufficient for fish to 4" (10 cm). Larger fish become even more territorial and should be moved a tank measuring at least 48" (122 cm) with a volume of 50 gallons (190 L). The tank should be heavily planted with tough, well-rooted plants such as Vallisneria and Anubias. These plants must be well-planted or be weighted, as the Jewel Cichlid is a digger and tends to uproot most any plant. Provide hiding places with large roots, caves, rocks, and wood. Use strong filtration.
WATER: pH 6-7.8 (7.2), 4-18 dH (10), 72-82F (22-28C)
SB: A territorial species that becomes very aggressive and intolerant with the arrival of spawning. The Jewel Cichlid is relatively peaceful towards other species outside of the spawning time. Best kept in pairs, although if the pair is incompatible, the weaker fish will likely be killed. Pairs form monogamous bonds and make fine parents who care for the young in a nuclear family.
SC: Hemichromis, Steatocranus, Tilapia, Synodontis, Polypterus, Distichodus, "Cichlasoma," Pimelodids, Loricarids (Plecos).
FOOD: Live; small fish, Tubifex, aquatic insects, crustaceans, insect larvae; pellets; flakes; tablets.
SEX: It is difficult to distinguish between the sexes. Males are darker with less color and slightly larger.
B: The most difficult part in breeding the Jewel Cichlid is finding a compatible pair. This is easiest done by obtaining a group of youngsters and waiting until they pair up. Often this is a slow and arduous process. Once a pair is established, they should be moved to their own tank with a similar set-up to the one mentioned above. Be sure to provide plenty of hiding places for the female. The tank should have properties of a pH from 6.5-7.2, a water hardness from 4-12 dH, and a temperature from 75-82F (24-28C). The pair selects a rock and cleans it just prior to spawning. Up to 500 eggs are laid and carefully guarded. The eggs hatch after 3-5 days and the fry are moved to a shallow pit. The fry may be moved to different pits as they develop. The parents carefully guard the fry until they reach 0.4" (1 cm). Start feeding with small live and dry foods. Jewel Cichlids can be bred in a community tank, although it is not recommended because of their highly aggressive brood care. Occasionally a male may get to aggressive towards the female. In this case, he should be removed.
BP: 6. Breeding is moderately difficult because of the problems with pairing.
R: The Jewel Cichlid's colors become much enhanced during spawning. Most fish available in the hobby are captive-bred.
DC: 5. An potentially aggressive fish that is especially intolerant during spawning. Otherwise it is a hardy fish.

Lifalili Jewel Cichlid, Blood-red Jewel Cichlid [Pictures]
Hemichromis lifalili
SYN: None
PD: An elongated cichlid whose body coloration is bright blood-red. The body is spotted with iridescent dots that range in color from yellow to turquoise. The eye has a stripe through it and there is a black spot on the gill cover. A dark spot also marks the mid-section of the fish. A fins are red and covered with many turquoise markings. The dorsal and caudal fins are marked with a red and turquoise edge. These colors describe the coloration in spawning colors. At other times the fish is lighter in red and has an olive back.
SIZE: To 5" (13 cm)
SS: Crown Jewel Cichlid ( Hemichromis cristatus)
HAB: Central Africa; found tributaries of the Zaire (Congo) and Ubanghi Rivers.
S: bottom, middle
TANK: A tank of 30" (76 cm) with a capacity of 20-25 gallons (75-98 L) is sufficient. The tank must be well-aerated. See suggestions for H. bimaculatus.
WATER: pH 6-7.8 (7.2), 4-15 dH (8), 73-79 F (23-26 C).
SB: A combative fish that is very similar in behavior to H. bimaculatus.
SC: See H. bimaculatus.
FOOD: Live; Tubifex , aquatic insects, crustaceans, insect larvae; pellets; flakes; tablets.
SEX: Females have brighter colors while males are distinctly darker.
B: As for H. bimaculatus.
BP: 7. Breeding is difficult.
R: H. cristatus is sometimes sold as this fish.
DC: 5. A hardy, but territorial fish that must have a good oxygen supply to survive.

Mozambique Mouth Brooder [Pictures]
Oreochromis mossambicus
SYN: Chromis dumerili, C. mossambicus, Tilapia dumerili, T. mossambica, Sarotherodon mossambicus
PD: An elongated, oval-shaped fish with lateral compression. The mouth is wide. The general body coloration is olive to blue-gray with a silvery iridescence. The belly is lighter and may have reddish overtones. The fins are edged with red and and pectoral fins are red. At spawning times, the throat of the male is silver-white, while the rest of the body darkens.
SIZE: To 20" (50 cm)
SS: None
HAB: Originally from standing fresh, brackish, and marine waters of Eastern Africa. Now this species has been introduced throughout Africa, Indonesia, and the Southern United States as a food fish.
S: middle
TANK: A 48" (122 cm) or 55 gallon (209 L) tank is only sufficient for fish to 6" (15 cm). Eventually adult fish will out grow most home aquaria, by requiring a tank exceeding 80" (203 cm). The tank should be furnished with a thick, fine gravel or sand substrate with scattered rocks and wood. This species will eat plants. Use a large filtration system to deal with this species' copious amounts of waste.
WATER: pH 6.3-8.5 (7.8), 12-30 dH (22), 70-81F (21-27C)
SB: A belligerent species that is generally peaceful towards other species. At spawning times this fish becomes highly territorial and more combative. This species can be kept with other large fish. Mature males for spawning colonies for agamous pairing. The female participates in brood care.
SC: Haplochromines, Tilapia, Synodontis, Polypterus, Cichlasomines
FOOD: Live; fish, insects, crustaceans, frogs, worms, insect larvae; algae, chopped meat; plant matter; vegetables; tablets; flakes; pellets; oatmeal. A messy feeder.
SEX: Males are brightly colored at spawning times.
B: In nature this species spawns during the summer months. The male constructs a spawning pit in which 200-350 eggs are placed. The male abandons the female, who guards the eggs and cares for the fry. The female mouth broods the eggs and fry until the fry are able to fend for them self. Even then, the fry may retreat into the mouth of the female at times when danger threatens. The fry can be raised on Artemia nauplii and crushed flake foods.
BP: 6. The major obstacle in breeding this species is the large tank requirement.
R: This species has proven to be very durable. In nature it tolerates a wide range of temperatures, from 59-108F (15-42C); and water conditions: from pure freshwater to pure saltwater. This species has even been bred in salt water. Due to the isolated populations throughout the world, the coloration is variable. An albino form has been developed. This species requires water changes to remove the large amounts of waste that it produces. This is a popular angling species.
DC: 6. This species is extremely robust, but is not an aquarium fish due to its large size and aggressive behavior.

Kribensis, Purple Cichlid, Common Krib [Pictures]
Pelvicachromis pulcher
SYN: Pelmatochromis kribensis, P. pulcher
PD: An elongated cichlid with a long dorsal fin. The male has elongated tips on the dorsal, caudal, and anal fins. The females are stockier with less elongated fins. The body is marked with two lateral, brown stripes; the first passing from the snout, through the eye, and to the tip of the caudal fins, and the other passing from the forehead to the end of the base of the dorsal fin. The main body color is beige to off-white, as is the abdomen. The abdomen becomes a deep magenta to purple color, surrounded by dark blue-gray areas. The pelvic fins are red, purple, and blue while the anal fins is deep blue and magenta. The caudal fin is yellow with the upper edge being orange or red. On males, obvious eye-spots are also located on the upper part of the caudal fin. The dorsal fin is black with a red and yellow edge. The lips often have blue and magenta coloring.
SIZE: Males to 4" (10 cm), females to 2.8" (7 cm)
SS: Striped Dwarf Cichlid ( P. taeniatus)
HAB: Central Africa; found in shallow areas of slow-moving, vegetation choked rivers in the Niger River Delta and other small rivers in South Nigeria. The Krib is found in both brackish and freshwater rivers.
S: bottom, middle
TANK: A tank measuring 24" (61 cm) with a capacity of 15 gallons (57 L) is sufficient for adult fish. The tank should be heavily planted and have hiding places of wood, rocks, roots, and caves. Use a cover of floating plants to diffuse the lighting and use a dark colored substrate of sand and fine gravel. Leave open swimming areas.
WATER: pH 4.8-7.5 (6.7), 0-12 dH (4), 75-82F (24-28C)
SB: A peaceful fish that is recommended for a community tank. Pairs form tight monogamous bonds and later patriarch/matriarch families. During the spawning the pair will become territorial, but not aggressive.
SC: Pelvicachromis, Synodontis, Barbs, Nanochromis, African Tetras, Butterfly fish, Mormyrids, Angelfish, Corydoras, Loricarids, Danios, Gouramis.
FOOD: Live; crustaceans, insect larvae, aquatic insects, Tubifex, flying insects; flakes; pellets.
SEX: Males are larger with pointed anal, dorsal, and caudal fins. The female is brighter in color and during the spawning season, will develop a deep pink-red to purple belly coloration.
B: The Krib can be bred in a tank like that mentioned above. Use water with a pH from 6-6.8, a water hardness from 0-6 dH, and a temperature from 79-82F (26-28C). Be sure that the tank has well-anchored structures, as this fish will burrow around them in spawning preparation. After an active courtship, in which the female takes a more active role, 50-300 eggs are deposited on the ceiling of a cave or over-turned flowerpot. The eggs are attached by short little threads. The female cares for the eggs-fanning and sucking at them, while the male guards the territory. The eggs hatch in 2-3 days and the fry are free-swimming 4-5 days later. Both parents guard the fry who can be fed on small live and dry foods. The fry like to school. Keep the fry with the parents until the parents are ready to spawn again.
BP: 5. A fine fish for beginning aquariasts to breed.
R: These are different color variations of this fish. Wild-caught fish have better colors than the widely available captive-bred fish, although they are harder to care for. Most fish available are bred in Hong Kong and Southeast Asia. An albino form is frequently available.
DC: 3. The Kribensis is an all-time favorite which is easily cared for and easy to breed.

African Blockhead, Buffalohead, Lionhead, Lumphead [Pictures]
Steatocranus casuarius
SYN: Steatocranus elongatus
PD: An elongated fish with a cranial lump that is characteristic to the fish included in the genus. The dorsal fin is very much elongated; running from just behind the hump, back to the beginning of the caudal peduncle. The face is "chubby" and the large, lips barely protrude from the rest of the face. Depending on the mood and water conditions, the body coloring changes from a dark, slate gray to a light gray. On the second color "mood," the body is marked with about five, transverse muddy-yellow stripes. The eyes, in well-maintained water, develop a turquoise colored iris.
SIZE: Males to 4.7" (12 cm), females to 3" (8 cm)
SS: A dwarf species, Steatocranus sp. aff. ubanguiensis, has similar coloration, although it grows no larger than 2.8" (7 cm). This species comes from the rapid sections of the Ubanghi River.
HAB: Central Africa; in rocky areas of the rapid areas of the lower Zaire (Congo) River.
S: bottom
TANK: A tank measuring 30" (76 cm) with a capacity of 20-25 gallons (75-98 L) is sufficient. Use a tank having many sturdy rock formations including caves, overhangs, and crevices. The filter used should create strong current to recreate the environment from which this fish comes. Only robust, potted or weighted plants can be used as either the current or this fish burrowing with uproot them. If possible, the ideal set up would have an area of strong current and an area with little or no current. Use good aeration.
WATER: pH 6-7.5 (6.8), 2-15 dH (6), 75-82F (24-28C)
SB: A territorial and pugnacious fish. The Blockhead can be combined with a great range of larger fish. Small fish of the upper swimming levels can be kept in a large tank over 40 gallons). Pairs form monogamous bonds for life. If a mate dies, the remaining one will likely live out its life singly. The Blockhead is easiest kept in pairs. During spawning this fish becomes even more aggressive and territorial.
SC: Tilapia, "Haplochromis," Hemichromis, Synodontis, Polypterus, Distichodus, "Cichlasoma," Pimelodids, Loricarids (Plecos), Eutropius, Butterfly fish, Barbs.
FOOD: Live; insect larvae, crustaceans, aquatic insects, Tubifex; flakes; tablets; plant matter. A greedy eater.
SEX: Males are larger with a larger cranial hump on their forehead. The hump is present on the female, although it is not as conspicuous.
B: Use water with a pH from 6.5-6.9, a water hardness from 4-12 dH, and a temperature from 81-84F (27-29C). The pair can be bred in a 24" (61 cm) tank with caves or over-turned flowerpots to serve as spawning sites. As many as 150, but more likely 30-60 eggs are laid in a cave or flowerpot. These are carefully guarded by the female, while the male guards the territory (patriarch/matriarch family). The fry hatch and can be fed on Artemia nauplii and dry foods. The parents continue their care for one or two weeks with the female feeding the young.
BP: 6. Breeding is not especially difficult.
R: An undemanding and amusing fish. Because of its small swim-bladder, the fish moves in a jerky-hops around the tank.
DC: 5. a fish with a strong personality that grows on the keeper. Although it is a bit on the aggressive side, the Blockhead is still recommended for many community tanks. Keep up tank maintenance and perform frequent partial water changes.

Zebra Tilapia, Buttikoferi, Hornet Tilapia [Pictures]
Tilapia buttikoferi
SYN: Chromis buttikoferi
PD: An oval shaped fish with a black body coloring. Seven to nine yellow, transverse bands mark the body. The head is yellow and the throat is black. The fins have the striping pattern of the body, except for the anal and pelvic fins which are black.
SIZE: To 10" (25 cm)
SS: Tilapia joka, T. mariae
HAB: Western Africa; found in rivers from Guinea to Liberia.
S: bottom, middle
TANK: A 48" (122 cm) tank with a capacity of 55 gallons (209 L) is sufficient for fish to 8" (15 cm). Larger tanks are required for full grown fish. See for Tilapia joka more details.
WATER: pH 6-7.5 (6.7), 4-15 dH (7), 73-77F (23-25C)
SB: A belligerent species that preys on smaller fish. Territorial towards other fish. This species will dig up and eat soft-leafed plants. Combine with other tough fish.
SC: Hemichromis, "Haplochromis," Synodontis, Cichlasomines.
FOOD: Live; fish, crustaceans, insect larvae, aquatic insects, Tubifex; vegetables; lettuce, spinach; flakes; tablets; chopped meat. Be sure to include roughage in this species's diet.
SEX: Males are larger.
B: See Tilapia joka.
BP: 7. Breeding is moderately difficult.
R: Requires frequent partial water changes to prosper.
DC: 6. A hardy and pugnacious species.

Clown Tilapia [Pictures]
Tilapia joka
SYN: None
PD: An oval shaped fish with a black body coloring. Eight to nine yellow, transverse stripes mark the body. The head has small irregular yellow lines that extend from the eye to the snout, forehead, and mouth.
SIZE: To 8" (20 cm) in nature, not usually larger than 4.7" (12 cm) in aquaria.
SS: Tilapia buttikoferi, T. mariae
HAB: Western Africa; found near the banks of clear rivers and tributaries of the lower parts of the Moa and Moro Rivers, southern Sierra Leone and northern Liberia.
S: bottom, middle
TANK: A tank with the dimensions of 48" (122 cm) with a capacity of 55 gallons (209 L) is sufficient. The tank should have hiding places created by caves, rock structures, roots, and wood. Use robust plants along the back and sides of the aquarium. Use a fine gravel or sand substrate. The water should be clear and well-aerated. Use an effective filtration system to keep the water clean.
WATER: pH 6-7.5 (6.7), 4-15 dH (7), 73-77F (23-25C)
SB: A peaceful, calm species that does well when combined with fish that have a similar temperament. Although it is territorial it will not harm other fishes. Pairs form monogamous bonds and later patriarch/matriarch families.
SC: Hemichromis, Synodontis, Anomalochromis, Pelvicachromis, Loricarids, Cichlasomines.
FOOD: Live; crustaceans, insect larvae, aquatic insects, Tubifex; vegetables; lettuce, spinach; flakes; tablets; chopped meat. It is important to include high-fiber foods in this fish's diet.
SEX: Males have an elongated anal and dorsal fins and, with age, have white tips on their fins.
B: Use a separate breeding tank with a pH from 6.2-6.7, a water hardness from 2-4 dH, and a temperature from 77-81F (25-27C). Up to 200 muddy-yellow eggs are deposited on the ceiling of a large cave. The female cares for the eggs, while the male guards the territory. The eggs hatch after four to five days. The young are moved to a pit where they are free-swimming four to six days further. The parents continue their care for another week. Start feeding with Artemia nauplii, Cyclops nauplii, and crushed dry foods. The young are difficult to rear.
BP: 7. Breeding is fairly difficult to initiate.
R: Requires frequent partial water changes to prosper.
DC: 5. A pleasant fish that requires a varied diet that includes high-fiber foods. Better suited to aquaria than T. buttikoferi.

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