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Cichlids / Africa / Lake Malawi / Deep-Water Haplo

Deep-Water Haplo
Placidochromis electra

Synonyms: Cyrtocara electra, Haplochromis electra, Haplochromis jahni
Physical description: An elongated fish with a body shape similar to that of Aulonocara species. The head is triangle-shaped and the mouth is located at the bottom. Males are silver to pale blue with a darker blue dorsal fin. Up to eight transverse bars are located on the body. The first is characteristic to the Deep-water Haplo because of its dark color. The others quickly lessen in intensity until the final one near the base of the caudal fin. It is so pale that it is often undetectable. The belly is black as are the anal and pelvic fins. The bottom rays on the caudal fin are also black. The anal fin often has a light blue edging. A black marking extends up from the underside and through the eye. The female is much less colorful. The body coloring is usually silver with a slight blue tint. The fins are all silver and the anal fin may have a yellow edge. Only one horizontal band, near the gill cover, can be seen. A black band extends through the iris of the eye and to the underside.
Size/Length: Males to 8" (20 cm), females to 6" (15 cm)
Similar species: None
Habitat: Eastern Africa; found in the sandy areas around Likoma Island, Lake Malawi
S: bottom, middle
Aquarium: 40" (101 cm) or 45-55 gallons (170-209 L) is sufficient for smaller fish (under 5"). Full-grown adults should be kept in a 48" (122 cm) or 55 gallon (209 L) tank. Use sturdy rock structures including caves and crevices for a background. Use coral sand for a substrate and leave large open swimming areas. Place plants along the sides and back of the tank.
Water chemistry: 7.5-9 (8.1), 10-20 dH (16), 75-81°F (24-27°C).
Social behavior: A placid fish which can be combined with its own and other species. This fish is only territorial at spawning times. Suggest keeping one male with several females.
Suggested companions: Lake Malawi Haplochromines, Synodontis, mbunas, Polypterus, Afromastacembelus.
FOOD: Live; crustaceans, aquatic insects, insect larvae, Tubifex; tablets; pellets.
Sexual differences: Males are more colorful and reach a larger size.
Breeding techniques: This fish breeds fairly easily in water with the properties mentioned above. The water temperature should be 79-82°F (26-28°C) As many as 50 eggs are laid and fertilized by the dummy-egg method. The eggs are incubated for 18-21 days. The fry emerge and can be fed on small live foods. Casual brood care continues for another week.
Breeding potential: 5. Breeding is easy for a Haplochromine.
Remarks: The male is ready to spawn at 4" (10 cm), while the female is mature at 3.3" (8.5 cm).
Difficulty of care: 4. Among the easiest in care of the Haplochromines. Recommended as a fine beginning fish for a hobbyist starting a Haplochromine tank. Live foods are particularly appreciated.


By Rhett Butler   Mongabay.com