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Cichlids / Africa / Zebra Haplochromis

Zebra Haplochromis
Haplochromis obliquidens

Synonyms: Chromis obliquidens, Clinodon bayoni, Ctenochromis obliquidens, Hemitilapia bayoni, Tilapia obliquidens
Physical description: 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/Length: To 5" (13 cm)
Similar species: Other "Haplochromis " species including Haplochromis brownae and forms of H. nyererei .
Habitat: 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
Aquarium: 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 chemistry: 7-8.2 (8.0), 10-25 dH (18), 75-81°F (24-27°C)
Social behavior: 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.
Suggested companions: 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.
Breeding techniques: 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.
Breeding potential: 7. This species moderately difficult to breed, in part due to the male's aggressive tendencies.
Remarks: 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.
Difficulty of care: 5. This hardy species thrives in well maintained water. Males are aggressive and territorial.


By Rhett Butler   Mongabay.com