compressiceps, Haplochromis compressiceps
An elongated fish with triangle-shaped head.
The mouth is large for catching prey.
coloring ranges from silver to bright blue.
After the edges of the scales are orange giving the fish a spotted
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 bright
orange with some blue and white egg-spots (clearly marked on males).
The dorsal fin is elongated and can
be blue and orange-spotted with a red edging.
Size/Length: To 10" (25 cm)
Similar species: None
Habitat: The Malawi Eye-biter inhabits thickets of
Vallisneria that grow from a sandy substrate.
Africa; Lake Malawi.
S: bottom, middle
Aquarium: 40" (100 cm) or 45-55 gallons (170-209 L) is sufficient for smaller fish.
fish need at least a 60" (152 cm) or 90-110 gallon (342-416 L) tank.
Larger tanks are appreciated because
this fish likes large open swimming areas.
Use a coral sand substrate with large rock structures as a back-drop.
sides and the corners of the tank should be heavily planted with
Use a filter that causes little or no
Water chemistry: 7.5-8.8 (8.2), 12-25 dH (18), 73-82°F (23-28°C)
Social behavior: A large, peaceful, predator that will consume small fish.
The Malawi Eye-biter can be easily combined
with other cichlids and catfish that are over 5" (13 cm) in length.
Keep one male with several females.
Suggested companions: Lake Malawi Haplochromines,
Synodontis, larger mbunas,
FOOD: Live fish are the best food.
The prey are taken tail-first, the only known
predator that consumes its food in this manner.
The Malawi Eye-biter will lurk in a head down position, among a thicket
, awaiting its prey.
When the prey is sighted, the Malawi Eye-biter will dart out and grab
Acclimated fish may take pellets, tablets, and large live foods.
Sexual differences: Males are more brightly colored with obvious egg-spots of the anal fin.
Breeding techniques: Breeding can be accomplished in a large tank with an abundance of
Vallisneria and rock structures.
one 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-egg
The fry are incubated for about three weeks, when they first emerge.
Start feeding the young with Artemia
and dry foods.
Breeding potential: 7.
Breeding is especially possible in a large tank with only the one male and several females
being placed in it.
Remarks: This species has a reputation for eating the eyes of other fish.
This is a true feeding habit of wild
A number of theories have arisen from this behavior; some feel that the eye-eating is a result from
an attempt to blind its prey, other think that the eyes are a delicacy for the fish, and still others believe that
this behavior can be attributed to a lack of food.
For whatever reason, the eyes are not taken often.
This behavior has not been observed
Difficulty of care: 5.
A hardy fish that requires a large tank.
Be aware that this species is piscivorous.
foods are required in the diet of this fish.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions generated from mongabay.com operations (server, data transfer, travel) are mitigated through an association with Anthrotect, an organization working with Afro-indigenous and Embera communities to protect forests in Colombia's Darien region. Anthrotect is protecting the habitat of mongabay's mascot: the scale-crested pygmy tyrant.
"Rainforest" is used interchangeably with "rain forest" on this site. "Jungle" is generally not used.