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CICHLIDS

By Rhett Butler


OTHER LAKE MALAWI CICHLIDS
Included are fish of the genera Cheilochromis, Cyrtocara, Dimidiochromis, Nimbochromis, Placidochromis , and Sciaenochromis .


Big-lipped Cichlid, Euchilus
[
Cheilochromis euchilus
SYN : Cyrtocaraeuchila, Haplochromis euchilus
PD : An elongated cichlid, whose head is proportionally large when compared to the restof the body. The lips are very large, as are the eyes. The body color is light gold to beige. Thebelly is white. Two brown-black stripes mark the body. The first runs from the corner of the mouth,through the eye, and extends to the fork of the caudal fin. The second line runs from the top of the forehead,back to the base of the caudal fin. The fins are usually light brown with some light markings.
SIZE : Males to 13" (33 cm), female to 10" (25 cm)
SS : None
HAB : Eastern Africa; along the rocky coastline of Lake Malawi.
S : bottom, middle
TANK : 40" (101 cm) or 45-55 gallons (170-209 L) is sufficient for small fish under5" (13 cm) in length. Adult fish should be moved to an 72" (183 cm) or 100 gallon (378 L) tank. Uselarge, sturdy rocks structures to create caves and crevices. Anchor the structure well-as this fish may burrow. Large,broad-leafed plants can be used. Algae growth is welcomed.
WATER : 7.5-8.8 (8.2), 10-25 dH (18), 75-82F (24-28C)
SB : A large, but peaceful fish that likes to form schools. The Big-lipped Cichlid will set-up territoriesto defend. Combine several females per each male. Small fish (under 3" ) are likely to be mistaken for food.
SC : Lake Malawi Haplochromines, Synodontis , larger mbunas, Polypterus
FOOD : Algae; live; Tubifex , crustaceans, insect larvae ; large flakes;tablets; pellets
SEX : The male is larger with more intense colors.
B : Use a large tank with a pH from 8.0-8.5, a water hardness from 10-16 dH, and a watertemperature from 79-82F (26-28C). Keep one male with three or four females. The female will spawn 20-60 eggs (althoughbroods of 150 have been reported) on a rocky surface before taking them into her mouth. The eggs are then fertilized by wayof the dummy-egg method. The young released after 20-28 days. The female continues brood care, taking the fryinto her mouth when danger approaches and at night. Start feeding the young with Artemia , Cyclops , and powdered dry foods. Theyoung are sexually mature at four to five inches (10-13 cm).
BP : 8. A difficult fish to breed.
R : The large lips that this cichlid possesses are a result of feeding specialization. Theyare used for rasping algae and animal life that can be found on rocks.
DC : 6. The Big-lipped cichlid is moderately difficult in care because of the large size that itreaches and the tank that it eventually requires.

Moori, Blue Lump head, Blue Dolphin Cichlid [ SYN : Haplochromismoori
PD : An oval-shaped cichlid with a characteristic cranial bump on its forehead. Thebase of caudal fin is very slender. The body is bright blue to dark bright blue. Seven to eight faint vertical stripesare present, although they are often difficult to detect. The fins are the same color as the body.
SIZE : To 10" (25 cm)
SS : None
HAB : Eastern Africa; found above sandy areas in Lake Malawi.
S : bottom, middle
TANK : 40" (101 cm) or 45-55 gallons (170-209 L) is sufficient for young fish, thatare under 5" (13 cm) in length. For fish larger than 5" (13 cm), a tank of 56" (142 cm) or75 to 100 gallons (285-378 L) is recommended. The background should be large rock formations, while the foregroundshould be coral sand with a scattering of small stones. Large open swimming areas are very important for this fish. Sturdylive plants can be used.
WATER : 7.0-8.8 (8.0), 10-18 dH (16), 75-81F (24-27C)
SB : A peaceful and territorial fish that will form schools when kept in a large tank. Keepone male with several females. In Lake Malawi, the Moori is found in schools with Fossorochromis rostratus .
SC : Lake Malawi Haplochromines, Synodontis , larger mbunas, Polypterus, Afromastacembelus
FOOD : Live; crustaceans, insect larvae , aquatic insects, Tubifex ; beef heart; chopped meat; tablets;pellets
SEX : The male may be slightly larger with brighter colors.
B : Use a large breeding tank with one male and three or four females. The water chemistry should have a pHfrom 7.5-8.5, a water hardness from 10-16 dH, and a temperature of 79-82F (26-28C). Make frequent partial water changesto keep the parents in top condition. The female lays from 20-60, and occasionally as many as 100, on a rock. Thetakes the eggs into her mouth where they are incubated for 20-25 days. The female continues brood care afterthe young emerge from the mouth. Start feeding with small live foods. The young grow quickly when kept under a regimeof frequent partial water changes.
BP : 7. Breeding is moderately difficult as long as frequent partial water changes are made.
R : Almost all fish available to the hobby are wild caught.
DC : 4. A large, hardy fish that thrives in a properly maintained aquarium.

Malawi Eye-biter [ SYN : Cyrtocaracompressiceps, Haplochromis compressiceps
PD :An elongated fish with triangle-shaped head. The mouth is large for catching prey. Bodycoloring ranges from silver to bright blue. After the edges of the scales are orange giving the fish a spottedappearance. The crest of the back is a rusty-orange color and the caudal fin is body colored. The anal fin may be dark blue to brightorange with some blue and white egg-spots (clearly marked on males). The dorsal fin is elongated and canbe blue and orange-spotted with a red edging.
SIZE : To 10" (25 cm)
SS : None
HAB : The Malawi Eye-biter inhabits thickets of Vallisneria that grow from a sandy substrate. EasternAfrica; Lake Malawi.
S : bottom, middle
TANK : 40" (100 cm) or 45-55 gallons (170-209 L) is sufficient for smaller fish. Adultfish need at least a 60" (152 cm) or 90-110 gallon (342-416 L) tank. Larger tanks are appreciated becausethis fish likes large open swimming areas. Use a coral sand substrate with large rock structures as a back-drop. Thesides and the corners of the tank should be heavily planted with Vallisneria . Use a filter that causes little or nocurrent.
WATER : 7.5-8.8 (8.2), 12-25 dH (18), 73-82F (23-28C)
SB : A large, peaceful, predator that will consume small fish. The Malawi Eye-biter can be easily combinedwith other cichlids and catfish that are over 5" (13 cm) in length. Keep one male with several females.
SC : Lake Malawi Haplochromines, Synodontis , larger mbunas, Polypterus, Afromastacembelus
FOOD : Live fish are the best food. The prey are taken tail-first, the only knownpredator that consumes its food in this manner. The Malawi Eye-biter will lurk in a head down position, among a thicketof Vallisneria , awaiting its prey. When the prey is sighted, the Malawi Eye-biter will dart out and grabit. Acclimated fish may take pellets, tablets, and large live foods.
SEX : Males are more brightly colored with obvious egg-spots of the anal fin.
B : Breeding can be accomplished in a large tank with an abundance of Vallisneria and rock structures. Placeone male with several females. Usually 40-50 eggs are laid and taken into the mouth of the female. The eggs are fertilized by the dummy-eggmethod. The fry are incubated for about three weeks, when they first emerge. Start feeding the young with Artemiaand dry foods.
BP : 7. Breeding is especially possible in a large tank with only the one male and several femalesbeing placed in it.
R : This species has a reputation for eating the eyes of other fish. This is a true feeding habit of wildfish. A number of theories have arisen from this behavior; some feel that the eye-eating is a result froman attempt to blind its prey, other think that the eyes are a delicacy for the fish, and still others believe thatthis behavior can be attributed to a lack of food. For whatever reason, the eyes are not taken often. This behavior has not been observedin aquaria.
DC : 5. A hardy fish that requires a large tank. Be aware that this species is piscivorous. Livefoods are required in the diet of this fish.

Elephant-nose Cichlid, Linni [
Nimbochromis linni
SYN : Cyrtocaralinni, Haplochromis linni
PD : The coloration of the Elephant-nose Cichlid is virtually identical to that of the Polystigma. Themain difference between the two being that the Elephant-nose Cichlid possesses large lips, that when opened makethe mouth look like a small trunk. This cichlid also has a slightly duller body coloration.
SIZE : To 14" (35 cm)
SS : Polystigma ( N.polystigma )
HAB : Eastern Africa; found in rocky areas along the coast of Lake Malawi.
S : bottom, middle
TANK : 40" (100 cm) or 45-55 gallons (170-209 L) is sufficient for young fish. Largerfish need a tank of at least 60" (152 cm) or 90-110 gallons (342-378 L). See N. polystigma for detail of tank set-up.
WATER : pH 7.5-8.8 (8.1), 10-25 dH (18), 73-79F (23-26C)
SB : A predator that will eat small fish. Males are aggressive and territorial towardsfemales, although not overly aggressive towards other species. Keep one male with several females.
SC : Lake Malawi Haplochromines, Synodontis , larger mbunas, Polypterus, Afromastacembelus
FOOD : Live; small fish, worms, aquatic insects; chopped meat; tablets; pellets
SEX : The male is more brightly colored, has more distinct egg-spots, and has a more colorfuldorsal edge.
B : Follow recommendations for N. polystigma .
BP : 7. Breeding is moderately difficult.
R : N.linni may be a color morph of N. polystigma and not a separate species. Thetwo are known to be very closely related.
DC : 5. Like the Polystigma, care is fairly easy.

Livingstoni [ picture ]
Nimbochromis livingstonii
SYN : Cyrtocaralivingstonii, Haplochromis livingstonii, Hemichromis livingstonii
PD : An elongated fish with a large, triangular head. The body is splotched with random brownand white markings. This coloration serves an important purpose (see " R :"). The mouth is large and the fins retainthe same coloration as the rest of the body.
SIZE : To 12" (30 cm)
SS : N.fuscotaeniatus
HAB : Eastern Africa; found above sandy areas in large thickets of aquatic reeds and grassesin Lake Malawi
S : bottom, middle
TANK : 40" (100 cm) or 45-55 gallons (170-209 L) is sufficient for smaller fish. A 60"(152 cm) 90-110 gallon (342-378 L) tank will eventually be needed as large open swimming areas are preferred. Thesides, corners, and back of the tank should be heavily planted with Vallisneria . Use large, sturdy rock structures, withcaves, in the back of the tank.
WATER : 7.5-8.5 (8.0), 10-22 dH (18), 75-82F (24-28C).
SB : A territorial and predatory fish that should only be kept with other robust Haplochrominesof a similar size. Keep one male with several females.
SC : Lake Malawi Haplochromines, Synodontis , Polypterus, Afromastacembelus
FOOD : Live; insect larvae , aquatic insects, fish, earthworms, Tubifex , crustaceans; vegetables; lettuce,spinach, peas; tablets; pellets.
SEX : Males are more brightly colored with egg-spots on the anal fin.
B : Use a large breeding tank with one male and three or four females. Use water with the following propertie S :a pH from 8.0-8.5, a water hardness from 12-18 dH, and a temperature from 81-82F (27-28C). Upto 100 eggs are mouthbrooded by the female for a period of 21-24 days. The young can be raised on Artemia andcrushed dry foods.
BP : 7. Breeding is moderately difficult.
R : The Livingstoni is well-known for its habit of depicting a dead fish. Its coloring is much like a decayingfish, so when the Livingstoni plays dead by lying on the bottom on its side, other fish will come to pick at thecarcass. The unsuspecting fish are quickly devoured. This behavior has been observed both in aquariaand in the wild. Many still regard this fish by its original name, the "sleeper fish."
DC : 6. A hardy, predatory fish that has a very interesting feeding habit in nature.

Polystigma [
Nibochromis polystigma
SYN : Cyrtocara polystigma, Haplochromis polystigma
PD :An elongated fish. The coloration between the male and the female is very different. Thefemale has a whitish-beige body color with overlaying brown markings. Large brown spots and small brown speckledmarkings make up this overlaying pattern. The fins have the same coloration. The male had a bluish-green head anda golden yellow to green body. Darker green to brown splotches cover both the body and the head. The fins are yellow and the dorsal finhas a bright yellow edging.
SIZE : To 10" (25 cm)
SS : Elephant-nose Cichlid ( N. linni )
HAB : Eastern Africa; found along the rocky coast of Lake Malawi.
S : bottom, middle
TANK : 48" (122 cm) or 55 gallons (209 L) is sufficient for young fish. Adultfish require large open swimming areas in order to prosper. A tank of 60" (152 cm) or 90-110 gallons(342-378 L) is usually adequate. Use large, sturdy rock structures, including caves, in the back of the tank. Theedges and the back part of the tank should be heavily planted with Vallisneria .
WATER : pH 7.5-8.5 (8.0), 10-22 dH (16), 73-79F (23-26C)
SB : A territorial predator that will consume small fish. Combine only with other large, robustfish. This species is also aggressive towards other species. Keep one male with several females.
SC : Lake Malawi Haplochromines, Synodontis, mbunas, Polypterus, Afromastacembelus .
FOOD : Live; fish, Tubifex , aquatic insects, insect larvae , earthworms; large flakes; tablets; chopped meat; pellets.
SEX : Male shave egg spots and are more brightly colored (See " PD :").
B : Use water with a pH from 7.8-8.5, a water hardness from 10-18 dH, and a temperatureof 79-82 F (26-28 C). Conflicting numbers to the amount of eggs that are laid are given (20-200?), but usually20-30 are mouthbrooded by the female. The eggs are fertilized by the dummy-egg method. Remove the other fish for best results. The eggs are incubated for 21-25 days. The young can be raised on Artemia and dry foods. The female continues her care for theyoung, taking them into her mouth at times of danger and at night.
BP : 7. Breeding is fairly difficult.
R : Both captive-bred and wild-caught fish are available in the hobby.
DC : 6. An aggressive fish that thrives when frequent partial water changes are made. ThePolystigma must be kept in a large tank.

Venustus [ picture ]
Nimbochromis venustus
SYN : Cyrtocaravenusta , Cyrtocara venustus, Haplochromis venustus
PD : A large, oval-shaped fish. The coloring of the male is much more intense than the female. Thehead is pale blue, while the body is light golden-yellow. The cheeks and the lower jaw is dark blue. Severalirregular dark blue splotches can be found cover the body. The upper part of the dorsal fin is bright yellowwhile the lower half is dark blue. The caudal fin is also yellow and blue. The other fins are dark blue.
SIZE : To 10" (25 cm) in aquaria, to 12" (30 cm) in nature.
SS :Rostratus ( Fossorochromisrostratus)
HAB : Eastern Africa; sandy parts of Lake Malawi.
S : bottom, middle
TANK : 48" (122 cm) or 55 gallons (209 L) is sufficient for fish to 6" (15 cm). Userock formations as a back-drop with a coral sand substrate in the foreground. Leave a large open swimming area inthe middle of the tank and place plants along the sides and back of the tank.
WATER : pH 7.5-8.8 (8.1), 12-30 dH (20), 77-84F (25-29C)
SB : A territorial fish that is aggressive and intolerant of its own species. Keep one malewith several females. Towards other species it is usually non-aggressive. A predatory fish that will eat smallfish.
SC : Lake Malawi Haplochromines, Synodontis, mbunas, Polypterus, Afromastacembelus .
FOOD : Live; small fish, Tubifex , aquatic insects, earthworms, insect larvae ,crustaceans; chopped meat; large flakes; pellets; tablets; vegetables; spinach, peas, spinach.
SEX : The male is larger and more colorful.
B : This fish forms a matriarchal family and the mother performs mouth brooding responsibilities. Thewater should be between 81-84F (27-29C). Up to 120 eggs are laid. The eggs are incubated in the mouthfor a period of three weeks. The mother looks after her young for 10 days, with the young spending nights in her mouth. Whenthe mother is gravid, she is easily frightened and may prematurely expel the eggs.
BP : 7. A difficult fish to breed.
R : Now most available to the hobby are bred in Germany. Sexually mature at 6" (15 cm).
DC : 5. A hardy fish that needs to be kept in a large tank. Live foods should be included in thisfish's diet.

Deep-Water Haplo [ SYN : Cyrtocaraelectra, Haplochromis electra, Haplochromis jahni
PD : An elongated fish with a body shape similar to that of Aulonocara species. The head is triangle-shaped and themouth is located at the bottom. Males are silver to pale blue with a darker blue dorsal fin. Up to eight transverse bars are locatedon the body. The first is characteristic to the Deep-water Haplo because of its dark color. The others quickly lessen in intensityuntil the final one near the base of the caudal fin. It is so pale that it is often undetectable. The belly is black as are the anal andpelvic fins. The bottom rays on the caudal fin are also black. The anal fin often has a light blue edging. A blackmarking extends up from the underside and through the eye. The female is much less colorful. The body coloring is usually silver with a slight blue tint. The fins are all silver and the anal fin mayhave a yellow edge. Only one horizontal band, near the gill cover, can be seen. A black band extends through the irisof the eye and to the underside.
SIZE : Males to 8" (20 cm), females to 6" (15 cm)
SS : None
HAB : Eastern Africa; found in the sandy areas around Likoma Island, Lake Malawi
S : bottom, middle
TANK : 40" (101 cm) or 45-55 gallons (170-209 L) is sufficient for smaller fish (under5"). Full-grown adults should be kept in a 48" (122 cm) or 55 gallon (209 L) tank. Use sturdy rock structures includingcaves and crevices for a background. Use coral sand for a substrate and leave large open swimming areas. Placeplants along the sides and back of the tank.
WATER : 7.5-9 (8.1), 10-20 dH (16), 75-81F (24-27C).
SB : A placid fish which can be combined with its own and other species. This fish is only territorial at spawningtimes. Suggest keeping one male with several females.
SC : Lake Malawi Haplochromines, Synodontis, mbunas, Polypterus, Afromastacembelus .
FOOD : Live; crustaceans, aquatic insects, insect larvae , Tubifex ; tablets; pellets.
SEX : Males are more colorful and reach a larger size.
B : This fish breeds fairly easily in water with the properties mentioned above. The watertemperature should be 79-82F (26-28C)As many as 50 eggs are laid and fertilized by the dummy-egg method. The eggs are incubated for 18-21 days. The fry emerge and can be fed on small live foods. Casual brood care continues for anotherweek.
BP : 5. Breeding is easy for a Haplochromine.
R : The male is ready to spawn at 4" (10 cm), while the female is mature at 3.3"(8.5 cm).
DC : 4. Among the easiest in care of the Haplochromines. Recommended as a fine beginning fishfor a hobbyist starting a Haplochromine tank. Live foods are particularly appreciated.


Electric Blue Haplo [ SYN : Cyrtocaraahli, Haplochromis ahli, Haplochromis jacksoni
PD :An elongated fish with a large mouth. The head forms a 60 degree angle from the mouth. Maleshave a stunning blue color which is comparable to the hues of saltwater fish. Six faint bars are sometimes apparent. Thefins are the same color as the rest of the body. The females are usually brown-gray with a few blue-tipped scales aroundthe mid-section. Six bars are sometimes visible. The fins are also brown-gray in color.
SIZE : Males to 6.3" (16 cm), females to 4.3" (11 cm)
SS : Red-top Aristochromis or Gold-stripe Haplo ( Otopharynx lithobates ), Yellow Nape Haplo( Copadichromis chrysonotus )
HAB : Eastern Africa; found in between rocky and sandy zones, Lake Malawi.
S : bottom, middle
TANK : 56" (142 cm) or 75-100 gallons (285-378 L). These fish need a large open swimmingarea. Use sturdy, rock structures with large passages and caves. A sand substrate with a scattering ofrocks is recommended.
WATER : 7.8-8.5 (8.1), 12-20 dH (16), 75-82F (24-28C)
SB : A predatory species that will eat small fish. Otherwise the Electric Blue Haplo isa peaceful, but territorial fish. Males are polygamous, so they should be kept with a number of females.
SC : Lake Malawi Haplochromines, Synodontis, mbunas, Polypterus, Afromastacembelus .
FOOD : Live; crustaceans, small fish, aquatic insects, insect larvae ; tablets; pellets.
SEX : Males have the deep "electric blue" color for which this species is named. Thefemales are considerably smaller with a dull gray-brown body coloration.
B : Place a male with three or four females in a large tank. Use water with a pH between 8.0-8.5,a water hardness from 15-18 dH, and a temperature of 81-84F (27-29C). The male will attract the female byshaking his brilliant blue body. The eggs are incubated by the female for a period of 18-22 days. Remove the other fish from the tank. Themother will continue her care of the fry for another week. The young can be raised on Artemia and Daphnia .
BP : 8. Breeding is difficult.
R : Another color morph is known; it has an obvious white spot on its head. Frequentpartial water changes are necessary to keep the fish in good health and to bring out the male's stunning colors. Thisspecies is especially sensitive to water pollutants.
DC : 6. The Electric Blue Haplo is a beautiful, but sensitive fish. Many feel that it is worth the extracare for its stunning color.

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