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Cichlids / Africa / Lake Malawi / Mbuna / Shell-dwelling Mbuna

Snail Shell Mbuna, Shell-dwelling Mbuna
Pseudotropheus lanisticola

Synonyms: None
Physical description: This species has a "typical" mbuna shape, though its mouth is smaller and head has a smooth slope. The body coloration is variable. The upperparts may be rusty brown while scales of the flanks are light blue and edged with copper. The body is marked with several vertical bands that may be apparent or inconspicuous. Female fish may be yellowish. The fins match the body color, except for the yellow anal fin. The caudal fin has a base coloration of rusty-orange with blue stripes.
Size/Length: To 2.7" (7 cm)
Similar species: P. livingstonii is another shell-dwelling mbuna.
Habitat: Eastern Africa; inhabits empty snail shells ( Lanistes) of sandy regions of Lake Malawi
S: bottom, middle
Aquarium: 30" (76 cm) or 20-30 gallons (75-114 L). The tank should have a rocky set-up with caves and overhangs. Provide several large snails shells for each fish. Leave open swimming areas and use coral sand substrate. Use a strong light to promote the growth of algae.
Water chemistry: pH 7.5-8.8 (8.2), 12-22 dH (16), 73-79°F (23-26°C)
Social behavior: A territorial species that will guard its snail shell against intruders. This species will not usually harm plants and is unaggressive towards other species.
Suggested companions: Lake Tanganyika Rainbowfish, mbunas, Synodontis
FOOD: Algae; flake; live; snails, bloodworms, mosquito larvae, microorganisms, crustaceans, snails, Tubifex ; pellets; tablets; vegetables; peas, lettuce, spinach; fruit.
Sexual differences: Males have brighter egg-spots on their anal fin.
Breeding techniques: Use water with a pH around 8.2 with a water temperature from 79-82°F (26-28°C). Keep at least three females with the male. The female is an ovophile mouth brooder who lays as many as 60 eggs, which she incubates for three weeks. She continues to guard the fry for a week after they emerge from the mouth. Start feeding with Artemia and crushed flake foods.
Breeding potential: 5. An easily bred species.
Remarks: Will seek shelter in snail shells when danger is present.
Difficulty of care: 4. This relatively peaceful mbuna is an excellent choice for a mbuna community tank.


By Rhett Butler   Mongabay.com