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.
(152 cm) 90-110 gallon (342-378 L) tank will eventually be needed as large open swimming areas are preferred.
sides, corners, and back of the tank should be heavily planted with
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,
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).
to 100 eggs are mouthbrooded by the female for a period of 21-24 days.
The young can be raised on
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
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.
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