Quick Care Facts
• Care Level: Easy • Temperament: Semi-aggressive • Maximum Size: 6"
• Minimum Tank Size: 75 gallons • Water Conditions: 76-82° F, pH 7.5-8.5, KH 15-25
• Diet: Omnivore • Origin: Lake Malawi • Family: Cichlidae
• Species: African Cichlid • Aquarium Type: African Cichlid, Rift Lake
Astatotilapia calliptera native habitat, distribution, behavior & aquarium compatibility.
Astatotilapia calliptera is found in Lake Malawi and various other nearby waterways; its native name directly translates to "Eastern Happy" and although the species doesn't have a common nickname, many hobbyists and retailers tend to call them Eastern Happy or Calliptera. They are colorful and have similar markings to those normally seen on cichlids from Lake Victoria (angled black markings through the eye and on the operculum) and are often confused as such. Astatotilapia calliptera tends to become highly aggressive towards the same species when they do not have sufficient space, but are otherwise considered to be fairly peaceful (their idea of sufficient space seems to be a lot larger than the average Malawi cichlid).
Astatotilapia calliptera males will often have a greenish to yellow hue with red and blue highlights, while the females remain a fairly subdued green-gray. Overall Astatotilapia calliptera is a popular species and definitely worth a chance for beginners and advanced hobbyists alike. They are generally easy to find at local and online retailers and sell for very reasonable prices.
How to successfully keep Astatotilapia calliptera in the home aquarium.
Astatotilapia calliptera should be housed in an aquarium of at least 75 gallons and be provided with a fine sand substrate as well as multiple rocks to form caves and simulate their natural environment. They prefer open space and should be provided with enough room to swim around freely. They should be fine with live plants, but have been known to eat them sometimes in their diet.
Astatotilapia calliptera are normally fine with tank mates that do not share their appearance or species, but they should be similar in size and disposition. A much larger tank (125+ gallons) will be needed if another male Astatotilapia calliptera is ever planned as a new addition.
Feeding & Nutrition
How to properly feed Astatotilapia calliptera and provide a healthy diet.
Astatotilapia calliptera are omnivores and have been observed feeding on small fish, invertebrates, plants, and algae in their wild environment. In the aquarium they should be fed a variety of live, frozen, and freeze-dried bloodworms, brine shrimp, earthworms, mysis shrimp, ghost shrimp, and small minnows as well as vitamin-enriched flake foods and pellets. Feed what will be consumed in a few minutes, one to two times daily.
How to successfully breed Astatotilapia calliptera in the aquarium environment.
Astatotilapia calliptera are maternal mouthbrooders. The female cichlid will lay her eggs and immediately gather them up in her mouth. The female will be attracted to the male’s egg-like spots on his anal fin, thinking that they are more eggs to gather up in her mouth; she will try to gather them and will receive sperm from the male, which fertilizes the eggs.
The female will carry the eggs (usually a clutch of 25-50) for around 25 days before she releases free-swimming fry. The fry can be fed and raised on Artemia nauplii.
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