Quantcast
Cichlids / Africa / Lake Malawi / Mbuna / Purple Mbuna

Purple Mbuna
Melanochromis vermivorus

Synonyms: None
Physical description: M. vermivorus has a similar body shape to M. auratus. The body color is dark blue. Along the crest of the back are white to turquoise splotches. The first is usually located near the upper lip, while successive ones runs along the top of the back. A similar colored stripe extends from the eye back through the caudal fin. Another white to turquoise, dotted stripe runs above. The dorsal fin is elongated and is colored much like the splotches on the back. The other fins match the base body color of dark blue.
Size/Length: Males to 6" (15 cm), females to 4.7" (12 cm)
Similar species: Color variants of M. auratus, M. chipokae and M. johannii may have similar coloring.
Habitat: Eastern Africa; Lake Malawi
S: Bottom, middle
Aquarium: 40" (101 cm) or 45-55 gallons (170-209 L). Large rock structures that reach the water surface are recommended. Provide caves and crevices for hiding and use a fine gravel or preferably, coral sand substrate. Leave large open swimming areas. Allow the growth of algae.
Water chemistry: pH 7.5-9 (8.0), 10-25 dH (18), 72-81°F (22-27°C)
Social behavior: M. vermivorus is more aggressive and intolerant of similar-looking species than other mbunas. Because of this highly aggressive behavior, especially with male fish, it is recommended to provide at least one retreat for each fish. Keep one male with several females. In a community tank, M. vermivorus is best combined with different looking mbunas. The male becomes even more pugnacious during the spawning season.
Suggested companions: Small Haplochromines, mbunas, Synodontis
FOOD: Algae; flake; live; snails, bloodworms, mosquito larvae, microorganisms, crustaceans, snails, Tubifex; pellets; tablets; plant matter; vegetables; peas, lettuce, spinach; fruit.
Sexual differences: Females are distinctly smaller and lack the egg-spots that males possess.
Breeding techniques: Breeding is similar to M. auratus.
Breeding potential: 7. Breeding is moderately difficult partly because of the male's aggressiveness during courtship.
Remarks: Coloring of the fish depends on the part of the lake in which they originally inhabited. This mbuna is not widely available to the hobby at this time.
Difficulty of care: 5. M. vermivorus is a hardy, but highly aggressive cichlid.

Aurora Cichlid [picture]
Pseudotropheus aurora
Synonyms: Pseudotropheus lucerna
Physical description: The Aurora Cichlid has a sloping forehead and characteristic, large eyes. The head appears smaller than that of other Mbunas. Males are far more colorful than females. Males are usually light blue to turquoise with six to eight darker, transverse stripes. The lower part of the head and the belly are bright yellow, as is the iris of the eye. The fins are all colored like the body, but have a yellow tinge. A large egg spot can be found on the anal fin. Females are much plainer in color. All the colors that the male possesses are considerably dulled, and the egg spot is fainter. Sometimes female may even be a solid, muddy-brown color.
Size/Length: Males to 4.3" (11 cm), females to 4" (10 cm)
Similar species: None
Habitat: Eastern Africa; found in the transitional zones between sandy and rocky areas of the Likoma Islands and Mdemba Bay. Lake Malawi.
S: bottom, middle
Aquarium: 40" (100 cm) or 45-55 gallons (170-209 L). The tank should have a rocky set-up with caves and crevices for hiding. A coral sand substrate is recommended and the few, robust plants can be used. Use a strong light to promote the growth of algae. Leave open swimming areas.
Water chemistry: pH 7.5-8.8 (8.0), 12-25 dH (16), 75-81°F (24-27°C)
Social behavior: A fish that is territorial and aggressive towards all species. Keep one male with several females.
Suggested companions: Small Haplochromines, mbunas, Synodontis
FOOD: Algae; flake; live; snails, bloodworms, mosquito larvae, microorganisms, crustaceans, snails, Tubifex; chopped meat; pellets; tablets; plant matter; vegetables; peas, lettuce, spinach; fruit.
Sexual differences: Males are more brightly colored and have larger egg-spots on their anal fin.
Breeding techniques: Use water with a pH around 8.0 with a water temperature from 81-82°F (27-28°C). In the breeding tank, keep one male with several females. As many as 70 eggs are incubated by the female for 18-21 days. When the fry emerge, they can be fed on Artemia and Cyclops .
Breeding potential: 6. Breeding is moderately difficult.
Remarks: Make frequent partial water changes.
Difficulty of care: 4. A hardy, but aggressive fish that can develop stunning colors in properly maintained water.


By Rhett Butler   Mongabay.com