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Cichlids / Africa / Lake Malawi / Venustus

Venustus
Nimbochromis venustus

Synonyms: Cyrtocara venusta, Cyrtocara venustus, Haplochromis venustus
Physical description: A large, oval-shaped fish. The coloring of the male is much more intense than the female. The head is pale blue, while the body is light golden-yellow. The cheeks and the lower jaw is dark blue. Several irregular dark blue splotches can be found cover the body. The upper part of the dorsal fin is bright yellow while the lower half is dark blue. The caudal fin is also yellow and blue. The other fins are dark blue.
Size/Length: To 10" (25 cm) in captivity, to 12" (30 cm) in nature.
Similar species: Rostratus (Fossorochromis rostratus)
Habitat: Eastern Africa; sandy parts of Lake Malawi.
S: bottom, middle
Aquarium: 48" (122 cm) or 55 gallons (209 L) is sufficient for fish to 6" (15 cm). Use rock formations as a back-drop with a coral sand substrate in the foreground. Leave a large open swimming area in the middle of the tank and place plants along the sides and back of the tank.
Water chemistry: pH 7.5-8.8 (8.1), 12-30 dH (20), 77-84°F (25-29°C)
Social behavior: A territorial fish that is aggressive and intolerant of its own species. Keep one male with several females. Towards other species it is usually non-aggressive. A predatory fish that will eat small fish.
Suggested companions: 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.
Sexual differences: The male is larger and more colorful.
Breeding techniques: This fish forms a matriarchal family and the mother performs mouth brooding responsibilities. The water should be between 81-84°F (27-29°C). Up to 120 eggs are laid. The eggs are incubated in the mouth for a period of three weeks. The mother looks after her young for 10 days, with the young spending nights in her mouth. When the mother is gravid, she is easily frightened and may prematurely expel the eggs.
Breeding potential: 7. A difficult fish to breed.
Remarks: Now most available to the hobby are bred in Germany. Sexually mature at 6" (15 cm).
Difficulty of care: 5. A hardy fish that needs to be kept in a large tank. Live foods should be included in this fish's diet.


By Rhett Butler   Mongabay.com