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Cichlids / Africa / Lake Malawi / Livingstoni

Livingstoni
Nimbochromis livingstonii

Synonyms: Cyrtocara livingstonii, Haplochromis livingstonii, Hemichromis livingstonii
Physical description: An elongated fish with a large, triangular head. The body is splotched with random brown and white markings. This coloration serves an important purpose (see "Remarks:"). The mouth is large and the fins retain the same coloration as the rest of the body.
Size/Length: To 12" (30 cm)
Similar species: N. fuscotaeniatus
Habitat: Eastern Africa; found above sandy areas in large thickets of aquatic reeds and grasses in Lake Malawi
S: bottom, middle
Aquarium: 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. The sides, corners, and back of the tank should be heavily planted with Vallisneria. Use large, sturdy rock structures, with caves, in the back of the tank.
Water chemistry: 7.5-8.5 (8.0), 10-22 dH (18), 75-82°F (24-28°C).
Social behavior: A territorial and predatory fish that should only be kept with other robust Haplochromines of a similar size. Keep one male with several females.
Suggested companions: Lake Malawi Haplochromines, Synodontis, Polypterus, Afromastacembelus
FOOD: Live; insect larvae, aquatic insects, fish, earthworms, Tubifex, crustaceans; vegetables; lettuce, spinach, peas; tablets; pellets.
Sexual differences: Males are more brightly colored with egg-spots on the anal fin.
Breeding techniques: Use a large breeding tank with one male and three or four females. Use water with the following propertieS: a pH from 8.0-8.5, a water hardness from 12-18 dH, and a temperature from 81-82°F (27-28°C). Up to 100 eggs are mouthbrooded by the female for a period of 21-24 days. The young can be raised on Artemia and crushed dry foods.
Breeding potential: 7. Breeding is moderately difficult.
Remarks: The Livingstoni is well-known for its habit of depicting a dead fish. Its coloring is much like a decaying fish, so when the Livingstoni plays dead by lying on the bottom on its side, other fish will come to pick at the carcass. The unsuspecting fish are quickly devoured. This behavior has been observed both in aquaria and in the wild. Many still regard this fish by its original name, the "sleeper fish."
Difficulty of care: 6. A hardy, predatory fish that has a very interesting feeding habit in nature.


By Rhett Butler   Mongabay.com