Synonyms: Aplocheilus playfairi, Haplochilus playfairi, Panchax playfairi
Physical description: An elongated fish with a flattened head and rounded fins. The dorsal fin is located far back on the body. Males are more colorful than females. The back is brownish-gold and the belly is yellowish. The flanks are yellow with a greenish-yellow iridescence in reflected light. The flanks are also marked with rows of red spots. The fins have similar coloring, although the anal and caudal fins have a black edging. Females are dull brown in color with a black spot by the base of the dorsal fin..
Size/Length: To 4" (10 cm)
Similar species: None
Habitat: This species is found in standings waters, occasionally brackish. Inhabits the islands along the eastern coast of Africa; Madagascar, Seychelles, Zanzibar
S: bottom, middle
Aquarium: A tank measuring 24" (60 cm) with a capacity of 10-15 gallons (38-56 L) is sufficient. The tank should be arranged in dark colors with some floating plants to serve as a refuge for fry. Plant the tank heavily and provide some hiding places among wood or rocks. Cover the tank well.
Water chemistry: pH 6.5-7.0 (6.7), 5-15 dH (9), 73-77°F (23-25°C)
Social behavior: A mild-tempered fish that will eat smaller fish. This species is frequently quarrelsome among others of its own species. Males are often territorial.
Suggested companions: Small catfish, similarly-sized Panchax species, West African Dwarf Cichlids, hatchetfish.
FOOD: Live; fry, Tubifex , insect larvae, crustaceans; flakes
Sexual differences: Males are more colorful with black ridges along the anal and dorsal fins.
Breeding techniques: A 5 gallons tank is adequate for breeding, although this species may frequently spawn in a densely-planted, lowly populated tank. The breeding tank should include dense vegetation. Use slightly warmer water-75 to 79°F (24-26°C). Place one male with two females. Spawning takes place among plants, and lasts for a period of 8-14 days. As many as 200 eggs are produced. The parents are notorious egg-eaters, so the eggs should be separated. The eggs hatch after 10-12 days and can be raised on Artemia nauplii and powdered foods.
Breeding potential: 5. Spawning is fairly easy.
Remarks: Around spawning times, the scales of male fish may stand out from the body as if the fish is suffering from dropsy. Sometimes the scales are even shed from the body.
Difficulty of care: 3. A hardy species that should not be kept with small fish.