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Livingston's Cichlid
(Nimbochromis livingstonii) Easy Semi-aggressive 10" male, 8" female 75 gallons 75-82° F, KH 10-25, pH 7.5-8.8 Piscivore, Carnivore Lake Malawi Cichlidae African Cichlid Cichlid-African The Livingston's Cichlid (Nimbochromis livingstonii) is from the inshore areas of the African rift lake, Lake Malawi. They grow to about 10" (males) and 8" (females), have a tall laterally compressed body and a large mouth for the overall size of the fish. Livingston's Cichlid patrol the sandy inshore areas of the lake looking for small fish to prey on. When insufficient quantities of prey fish are available, the Livingston's Cichlid will resort to an ambush hunting strategy where it will mimic a dead fish by laying on the substrate, only to quickly lunge at the prey and swallows it whole. Livingston's Cichlids are not suitable for the average Lake Malawi Cichlid community aquarium. They reach roughly twice the size of many of the more commonly kept Malawi Cichlid species and are ambush predators who feed exclusively on other fish in the wild. They will spend their time in the aquarium hanging motionless around rocky formations or lying "playing dead" on the substrate as they attempt to lure in smaller fish on which to prey. However, hobbyists can easily integrate the Livingston's Cichlid with suitable larger tank mates and convert them over to commercial meaty foods designed for African Cichlids, after which they make for interesting inhabitants for any non-standard Malawi Cichlid aquarium. Adult Livingston's Cichlids when housed with other similarly sized African Cichlids will do best in an aquarium of 75 gallons or more. A single specimen or pair can be kept in aquariums as small as 45 gallons. Suitable tank mates include large mbuna, other large rift lake cichlid species and catfish. In nature the Livingstons Cichlid is a loner and thus should be kept as a single specimen in the aquarium or if breeding is to be attempted, as a harem with several females and a single male. Average sized aquariums will not be large enough to provide enough territory for multiple males to coexist. When housing African Cichlids in community aquariums it is important that they be kept in aquariums of 75 gallons or larger in order to provide enough room to properly recreate their natural environment. Provide plenty of rocky caves and crevices in order to provide the fish with hiding places, along with adequate territory and places to graze for algae growth. Most African Cichlids are pretty territorial, thus the aquarium should be decorated in such a way to provide them with enough caves and rocky formations to both establish their own territory and still have adequate swimming room. By distributing rock formations and suitable plants like Anubias all over the substrate of the aquarium with open swimming room above, the hobbyist creates distributed territory that allows for more fish to be kept in a single aquarium. If only one or two areas of the tank have well defined territories in the form of just a few rocks or plants and too much open area at the substrate level, a few dominant males will claim the limited territory and fight with the other tank mates continually. All forms of standard aquarium filtration including: power filter, canister, sump based and even sponge filters are suitable for providing adequate filtration for keeping African Cichlids. It is recommended that a power head be used to provide additional water flow to increase dissolved oxygen and keep detritus and debris suspended in the water column so that it can be removed by the mechanical filtration. Regular partial water changes will help keep nitrate levels low and overall water quality high, with frequency depending on tank size, stocking levels, amount of feedings and level of filtration being used on the tank. In their native Lake Malawi the Livingston's Cichlid feeds almost exclusively on small fish. They are known for their ambush tactics, where they will lie on the substrate on their side as if dead and wait for small fish to come in close looking for an easy meal. Once their target fish is within range they will quickly lunge at the prey attempting to swallow it whole. Locals who have observed their ambush tactic have dubbed them the kalingono or sleeper fish. Despite being a piscivore in their natural habitat, the Livingston's Cichlid will quickly adjust to being a carnivore in the aquarium environment feeding readily on all manner of commercial meaty foods designed for Cichlids. Juveniles can be fed commercial flake, freeze-dried or small pellet foods and frozen foods. Adult specimens should be offered larger pellet foods or larger frozen food like krill, chopped clams or squid. Hobbyists can also feed home made foods comprised of chopped fish, prawns, shrimp or other meaty aquatic items, combined with liquid vitamins designed for African Cichlids. It is best not include animal meat of any kind when making home made food for African Cichlids, as their digestive system is not designed to process it and it can lead to digestive problems over time. Males are polygamous and will mate with multiple females if given the chance. This species is an mouth brooder with the female incubating upwards of 100 eggs in her mouth until they hatch and the fry become free swimming. An ideal breeding environment would consist of a 75 gallon (48" length) aquarium with a soft sandy substrate, areas with smooth or flat rocks and an area with tall grass like plants. This will give the breeding colony potential spawning areas and provide the fish with a sense of security, as opposed to a bare aquarium. Water quality should be excellent a pH of 8.0-8.5 and a temperature between 78-82°F being ideal. A breeding group should consist of a single male and 3-6 females, and it is highly recommended that they are fed a high quality, meat-based diet consisting of frozen or freshly prepared raw foods. The male will exhibit an intense blue coloration when he is ready to spawn, and will choose a location in the aquarium as the spawning site. Spawning sites generally consist of a flat rock located on the substrate or an area in the substrate that the male will excavate by digging a depression in the substrate. Spawning occurs in a similar fashion to many other mouth brooding Cichlids, with the female laying a line of eggs before moving away and allowing the male to take her place and fertilize them. At which time she will return to the site, pick up the fertilized eggs in her mouth and then lay down another batch of eggs. The female will carry the eggs for about 3 to 4 weeks before they hatch releasing the free swimming fry. She will not eat during this time and can be easily spotted by her distended mouth and brooding coloration, consisting of dark blotched patterning. Females are notorious for spitting out the brood early when stressed, so extreme care should be taken if you decide to move the fish or disturb their breeding aquarium. Once the fry are released from their mothers mouth, they are large enough to accept brine shrimp nauplii. It is also worth noting that if a female is kept away from the larger colony in the main aquarium for too long, she may lose her position in the pecking order of the larger group. Females moved to a separate breeding aquarium should be given ample time to feed and strengthen before being returned to a larger community aquarium. Some breeders will artificially strip the fry from the mother’s mouth at the 2 week stage and raise them from that point on in a separate aquarium, and this usually results in a larger number of fry.
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Powder Blue Cichlid
(Pseudotropheus socolofi) Easy Semi-aggressive 5" 75 gallons 75-82° F, KH 10-25, pH 7.5-8.8 Herbivore Lake Malawi Cichlidae African Cichlid Cichlid-African Native to the coastal waters of Lake Malawi near Mozambique, the Powder Blue Cichlid (Pseudotropheus socolofi) is found living just off the rocky shoreline in an area of mixed rocks and sand flats between the shore and deeper regions of the lake. They stay close to areas with rock caves and crevices on which they feed on algae and micro-crustaceans, and where they can retreat to the safety of a cave or rocky crevice if they feel threatened by large fish species. As far as mbuna species go, the Powder Blue Cichlid is by far more peaceful than most. This along with their brilliant coloration and pattern has made them a very popular species for hobbyists keeping African Cichlids. While more peaceful than most mbuna species, this species is not suitable for aquariums housing community fish or South American Cichlids. Hobbyists should aquascape the aquarium with mitigating territorial aggression in mind. Proper aquarium decor design, aquarium size and aquarium tank mates will play a crucial role in whether the Powder Blue Cichlid and its African Cichlid tank mates aggression is properly mitigated. The Aquarium Care section below covers the most effective ways to aquascape an African Cichlid tank in order to mitigate aggression and allow for keeping different species together in an African Cichlid community tank. When keeping groups of African Cichlids, they should generally be kept in aquariums of 75 gallons or larger in order to provide enough room to properly recreate their natural environment. It is important to provide plenty of rocky caves and crevices to provide the fish with hiding places, along with adequate territory and places to graze for algae growth. Most African Cichlids are pretty territorial, thus the aquarium should be decorated in such a way to provide them with enough caves and rocky formations to both establish their own territory and still have adequate swimming room. By distributing rock formations and suitable plants like Anubias all over the substrate of the aquarium with open swimming room above, the hobbyist creates distributed territory that allows for more fish to be kept in a single aquarium. If only one or two areas of the tank have well defined territories in the form of just a few rocks or plants and too much open area at the substrate level, a few dominant males will claim the limited territory and fight with the other tank mates continually. Provide plenty of rocks within the aquarium in order to create surface area for algae growth, which is a very beneficial secondary food source the Powder Blue Cichlid and other herbivores and omnivores living within the aquarium. Like many species of African Cichlids, the Powder Blue Cichlid is semi-aggressive and proper stocking and aquascaping should be well thought out to prevent severe territorial battles between aquarium inhabitants. The Powder Blue Cichlid feeds primarily on algae, plant matter and the micro crustaceans found living on the algae and plants they graze on. In the aquarium environment, hobbyists will want to feed this species a diet based on vegetable and plant matter in the form of a high quality vegetable based flake or pellet food along with naturally occurring algae growth within the aquarium. Additionally, they should be provided with blanched spinach, nori or other similar foods from time to time. While they may also consume meaty or combination flake or pellet foods designed for omnivorous African Cichlid species, the bulk of their diet should come from vegetable based foods in order for them to maintain a healthy immune system.
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Khris DeCapua
Cobalt Blue Zebra
(Maylandia callainos) Easy Aggressive 5" 50 gallons 75-82° F, KH 10-15, pH 7.8-8.8 Herbivore Lake Malawi Cichlidae African Cichlid Cichlid-African The Cobalt Blue Zebra (Maylandia callainos) is endemic to Lake Malawi, where it is most commonly found living in the north and north eastern areas of the lake. They are found living in rocky formations along the shoreline, where they live in and around rock caves and crevices. Cobalt Blue Zebra Cichlid are very territorial and once they have established themselves within a particular area they will defend their turf very aggressively. Cobalt Blue Zebra Cichlid were formerly classified as Pseudotropheus callainos or Metriaclima callainos and is still often referenced by these names by many sources. The genus name Maylandia is now used to describe all former members of the (zebra) group of Pseudotropheus. Hobbyists should either keep a small group of a single male specimen and 2 or 3 female Cobalt Blue Zebras together in an aquarium that is either large enough to provide adequate territory or overcrowded with enough African Cichlids so that no single specimen can establish its own territory. In either scenario, a 50 gallon or larger aquarium is recommended with a substrate of either sand or mixed sand and crushed coral. Plenty of rock formations, rock piles or rocky caves should be included with some vegetation consisting of fake plants or very hardy hard water plants. Hobbyists can successful keep this species in small groups in smaller aquariums or mixed with large numbers of specimens in larger African Cichlid aquariums. When kept in larger community aquariums they must be provided adequate filtration, plenty of dissolved oxygen and have their territorial nature accommodated either by aquarium size and aquascaping or mitigated via over crowding. In order to replicate the waters of their natural habitat, hobbyists will want to provide plenty of water surface agitation or wet/dry filtration to provide high levels of dissolved oxygen within the aquarium. The main tank filtration should consist of a canister filter or wet/dry filter with additional water movement via a powerhead being recommended. The aquarium decor should provide plenty of rocky formations which provide caves and crevices for the fish to retreat to when it feels threatened, along with open sandy areas for swimming. Hardy plants that can tolerate the high pH of the African Rift Lake environment are also recommended for their looks and additional filtration properties. Cobalt Blue Zebra Cichlid will accept most commercial fish foods designed for Cichlids; however, it is essential that they receive a large amount of vegetable matter in their diet. Being a herbivore, their diet should consist of mostly vegetable matter either via commercial herbivore flakes and pellets or through fresh blanched vegetables like spinach, greens or other similar foodstuffs. Hobbyists looking to breed Cobalt Blue Zebra will want to keep a single male specimen with three to four females in a 4o to 50 gallon aquarium setup specifically for breeding. The males are easily identified as they are far more brightly colored than females. A proper breeding aquarium setup will include a few flat stones and areas of open substrate that the fish can use as a spawning site. The aquarium conditions should be maintained at a constant 8.2 to 8.4 pH and 78 to 80°F temperature. The fish should also be fed either live or high quality frozen foods to ensure that they have all the vitamins and minerals they need. When the male is preparing to breed he will exhibit very intense coloration and will choose a spawning site that he will then attempt to attract one of the females to join him and mate. In addition to exhibiting brilliant coloration, the male will also aggressively court the females by pursuing them vigorously about the tank. Because of this aggressive courting behaviour it is important to have a group of females in the tank so that the males overtures are spread out amongst the group and do not overwhelm a single female. Once a female has been successfully courted, she will lay her eggs in the nesting site that the male has prepared. The female will then scoop the eggs up into her mouth, during which the male which exhibits egg shapes spots on his tail fins will swim in front of the female and deposit his sperm while the female and the eggs are next to his tail fin. The female will carry the eggs in her mouth for about 1 month before she release the free swimming fry. It is important that the female is not stressed during this time as she will not be feeding and will be somewhat weak from lack of food and carrying the fry in her mouth. If she is stressed she may spit out the brood prematurely or even eat the young fry. It is for this reason that the other breeding fish should be removed from the aquarium so as not to cause undue stress to the brooding mother. However, once the female has released the fry from her mouth she should be returned to the main group of fish, so that she does not lose her place in the group hierarchy.
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Liz Nieves
Maingano Cichlid
(Melanochromis cyaneorhabdos) Easy Aggressive 4" 55 gallons 76-84° F, KH 10-25, pH 7.8-8.8 Herbivore Lake Malawi Cichlidae African Cichlid Cichlid-African Hailing from the shallow waters of the banks and tributaries of Lake Malawi, Africa, the Maingano Cichlid is priced within the aquarium hobby for its beautiful dark blue and black coloration and unique color pattern. In the wild, the Maingano Cichlid is found inhabiting the shallow rocky shorelines of the northern and north eastern areas of Lake Malawi. They are very aggressive and territorial in nature, with a single male specimen dominating a small area of rocky caves and crevices and a small group of female specimens. There natural habitat consists of shallow rocky shoreline flats, with highly oxygenated waters and an abundance of small rock caves and crevices. Ideally, aquarium hobbyists should keep a small group of a single male specimen and 2 or 3 female Naingano Cichlids together in an aquarium that is either large enough to provide adequate territory or overcrowded with African Cichlids so that no single specimen can establish its own territory. In either scenario, a 55 gallon or larger aquarium is recommended with a substrate of either sand or mixed sand and crushed coral. Plenty of rock formations, rock piles or rocky caves should be included with some vegetation. Maingano Cichlids are used to warm waters and high levels of dissolved oxygen within the water. Hobbyists can successful keep this species in small groups in smaller aquariums or mixed with large numbers of specimens in larger African Cichlid aquariums, provided adequate filtration and dissolved oxygen are provided. In order to replicate the waters of their natural habitat, hobbyists will want to provide plenty of water surface agitation or wet/dry filtration to provide high levels of dissolved oxygen within the aquarium. The main tank filtration should consist of a canister filter or wet/dry filter with additional water movement via a powerhead being recommended. The aquarium decor should provide plenty of open sandy areas for swimming combined with plenty of rocky formations to provide caves and crevices for the fish to retreat to when it feels threatened. Hardy plants that can tolerate the high pH of the African Rift Lake environment are also recommended for their looks and additional filtration properties. Maingano Cichlid will accept most any type of foods that are offered, but they need a good amount of vegetable matter in the form of spirulina flakes, blanched spinach etc. Vegetable matter should form a large proportion of their diet, with meaty foods being a supplement. Hobbyists should feed quality flake, freeze-dried or frozen foods a couple of times a day in amounts that the fish will consume within a few minutes. Maingano Cichlids are not too difficult to breed in the home aquarium when provided the proper environment. Hobbyists will want to isolate a small group consisting of a single male and 3 to 5 females in a species only aquarium setup. The tank should be about 30 gallons in size and be furnished with areas of open substrate and a few large flat stones or slate. It is important to closely replicate the water conditions that the Maingano Cichlid would expect during the breeding season, which consist of a pH between 8.2 & 8.5 and a temperature around 80°F. It is very important that the water quality is excellent and that the fish are fed a high quality diet consisting mainly of quality frozen foods with plenty of vegetable matter. When the male is preparing to breed he will exhibit very intense coloration and will choose a spawning site that he will then attempt to attract one of the females to join him and mate. In addition to exhibiting brilliant coloration, the male will also aggressively court the females by pursuing them vigorously about the tank. Because of this aggressive courting behaviour it is important to have a group of females in the tank so that the males overtures are spread out amongst the group and do not overwhelm a single female. Once a female has been successfully courted, she will lay her eggs in the nesting site that the male has prepared. The female will then scoop the eggs up into her mouth, during which the male which exhibits egg shapes spots on his tail fins will swim in front of the female and deposit his sperm while the female and the eggs are next to his tail fin. The female will carry the eggs in her mouth for about 1 month before she release the free swimming fry. It is important that the female is not stressed during this time as she will not be feeding and will be somewhat weak from lack of food and carrying the fry in her mouth. If she is stressed she may spit out the brood prematurely or even eat the young fry. It is for this reason that the other breeding fish should be removed from the aquarium so as not to cause undue stress to the brooding mother. However, once the female has released the fry from her mouth she should be returned to the main group of fish, so that she does not lose her place in the group hierarchy.
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Malawi Eye-Biter
(Dimidiochromis compressiceps) Easy Semi-aggressive 10" 70 gallons 76-82° F, KH 10-25, pH 7.5-8.6 Carnivore Lake Malawi Cichlidae African Cichlid Cichlid-African The Malawi Eye-Biter is one of those fish species that has a well deserved common name that clearly illustrates its behavior. Malawi Eye-Biters are well known for their propensity to bite or eat the eyes out of smaller fish species before consuming them tail first. Both habitats are a bit unusual as most fish simply swallow their prey head first and do not specifically attack the preys eyes. With a well deserved reputation such as this it is understandable that this species is not suited for most community African Cichlid aquariums. Malawi Eye-Biter need to be house with larger species that will not be considered as a food source. A general rule of thumb is that Malawi Eye-Biter tank mates be at least six inches in length or just over half as long as an adult Malawi Eye-Biter. This species is endemic to all of Lake Malawi and are commonly collected for the aquarium trade, where they are typically sold as Malawi Eye-Biters or Compressiceps Cichlids. The Malawi Eye-Biter (Dimidiochromis compressiceps) grows to about 10 to 11 inches in length and requires an aquarium of at least 70 gallons in size, but does better in a longer aquarium like a 125 gallon. A larger properly aqua-scaped aquarium will provide more suitable territory, which will allow the Malawi Eye-Biter to co-exist more easily with other large African Cichlid tank mates. Their large mouths and aggressive temperament make the Malawi Eye-Biter unsuitable for most African community aquariums where there is a wide variety in the sizes of the fish. However, they do fine with tank mates that are not seen as a prey item, ie. too large to fit in their mouth. They do best in aquariums designed to replicate the shoreline of their natural Lake Malawi habitat. Ideal tank decor would include a sandy substrate, large smooth rocks piles or caves, open swimming areas and areas of vegetation. They are accustomed to living in shallow water that reaches temperatures well into the 80's during the middle of the day, thus will prefer aquariums with water temperatures between 79 to 82°F. Malawi Eye-Biter live near the shoreline where there are not strong water currents like that produced from power heads or filter returns, thus they will appreciate an aquarium environment with gentle or indirect water flow. In their natural habitat the Malawi Eye-Biter feeds primarily on smaller fish that it hunts for in the vegetation growing along the Lake Malawi shore line. They will readily consume any fish in the aquarium small enough for them to fit in their mouth, including both bait fish and fellow tank mates. Malawi Eye-Biters can easily be weaned off of live fish for a variety of other dead meaty foods, which is generally safer and more cost effective. Fresh or frozen foods like silver sides, lance fish, mussels, prawns, cockle and other similar meaty items make excellent food choices. They can also be fed a quality pellet or frozen preparation designed for carnivorous African Cichlid species once they are weaned from live foods. It is best to feed them multiple smaller feedings per day and to monitor their overall growth to determine the ideal feeding regimen.
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Albino Malawi Eye-Biter
(Dimidiochromis compressiceps) Easy Semi-aggressive 10" 70 gallons 76-82° F, KH 10-25, pH 7.5-8.6 Carnivore Lake Malawi Cichlidae African Cichlid Cichlid-African The Albino Malawi Eye-Biter is one of those fish species that has a well deserved common name that clearly illustrates its behavior. Albino Malawi Eye-Biters are well known for their propensity to bite or eat the eyes out of smaller fish species before consuming them tail first. Both habitats are a bit unusual as most fish simply swallow their prey head first and do not specifically attack the preys eyes. With a well deserved reputation such as this it is understandable that this species is not suited for most community African Cichlid aquariums. Albino Malawi Eye-Biter need to be house with larger species that will not be considered as a food source. A general rule of thumb is that Albino Malawi Eye-Biter tank mates be at least six inches in length or just over half as long as an adult Albino Malawi Eye-Biter. This species is endemic to all of Lake Malawi and are commonly collected for the aquarium trade, where they are typically sold as Albino Malawi Eye-Biters or Albino Compressiceps Cichlids. The Albino Malawi Eye-Biter (Dimidiochromis compressiceps) grows to about 10 to 11 inches in length and requires an aquarium of at least 70 gallons in size, but does better in a longer aquarium like a 125 gallon. A larger properly aqua-scaped aquarium will provide more suitable territory, which will allow the Albino Malawi Eye-Biter to co-exist more easily with other large African Cichlid tank mates. Their large mouths and aggressive temperament make the Albino Malawi Eye-Biter unsuitable for most African community aquariums where there is a wide variety in the sizes of the fish. However, they do fine with tank mates that are not seen as a prey item, ie. too large to fit in their mouth. They do best in aquariums designed to replicate the shoreline of their natural Lake Malawi habitat. Ideal tank decor would include a sandy substrate, large smooth rocks piles or caves, open swimming areas and areas of vegetation. They are accustomed to living in shallow water that reaches temperatures well into the 80's during the middle of the day, thus will prefer aquariums with water temperatures between 79 to 82°F. Albino Malawi Eye-Biter live near the shoreline where there are not strong water currents like that produced from power heads or filter returns, thus they will appreciate an aquarium environment with gentle or indirect water flow. In their natural habitat the Albino Malawi Eye-Biter feeds primarily on smaller fish that it hunts for in the vegetation growing along the Lake Malawi shore line. They will readily consume any fish in the aquarium small enough for them to fit in their mouth, including both bait fish and fellow tank mates. Albino Malawi Eye-Biters can easily be weaned off of live fish for a variety of other dead meaty foods, which is generally safer and more cost effective. Fresh or frozen foods like silver sides, lance fish, mussels, prawns, cockle and other similar meaty items make excellent food choices. They can also be fed a quality pellet or frozen preparation designed for carnivorous African Cichlid species once they are weaned from live foods. It is best to feed them multiple smaller feedings per day and to monitor their overall growth to determine the ideal feeding regimen.
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Yellow Peacock
(Aulonocara baenschi) Moderate Semi-aggressive 6" 55 gallons 76-84° F, KH 10-25, pH 7.5-8.8 Carnivore Lake Malawi Cichlidae African Cichlid Cichlid-African The Yellow Peacock (Aulonocara baenschi) is endemic to Lake Malawi and the areas of around Nkhomo reef and Kande Island. They are generally found living where the rocky shoreline transitions into the more sandy substrate of the lake bottom. Yellow Peacocks feed in a similar fashion as Geophagus species in that they sift through the sand substrate by pushing the sand through their gills and extracting small invertebrates hidden in the sand. However, unlike the South American Geophagus, Yellow Peacocks are also active hunters that will also actively prey on small prey items that it detects moving about the substrate or if it spots movement in the sand. Like most species of African Cichlid the Yellow Peacock lives in small groups of a single male and a small group of females. They will lay claim to small piece of territory that provides them adequate feeding opportunities. Once they have established their territory they will aggressively defend it from similarly sized and patterned fish species or anything that they determine to be competition for food. Yellow Peacock (Aulonocara baenschi) make a good addition to most any community Lake Malawi aquarium, as they will generally get along with most other Lake Malawi species that do not have the same pattern and size as the Yellow Peacock. However, they are peaceful enough to keep with similar species providing the aquarium is large enough to provide multiple territories for each group of fish. Yellow Peacock Cichlids do best in Lake Malawi biotope aquariums, which contain a sand substrate, large rock piles, rocky caves and some scattered hard water tolerant plants. A sand substrate is most critical as the Yellow Peacock is a species likes to feed by taking in mouthfuls of sand and blowing it out of its gills, removing any food items it finds. Be sure to leave plenty of areas of open sand between the rocks to provide feeding areas and to create multiple territories within the aquarium. The Yellow Peacock is considered a good Rift Lake community aquarium species, as it will only exhibit aggression towards fish species that are very similar in size and pattern. Yellow Peacocks are also peaceful enough to be housed with some non Cichlid hard water Barb species and Rainbow fish. Care should be taken when keeping this species with aggressive substrate dwelling African Cichlid species as they will often be out competed for food by these more boisterous fish. The Yellow Peacock is a substrate feeder that in nature will both sand sift and actively prey on small invertebrates and crustaceans living on and in the sandy lake substrate. In the aquarium environment, the Yellow Peacock will readily accept a wide variety of commercial meaty foods. Ideally they should be fed foodstuffs that will sink to the aquarium substrate, where they can feed in a more natural manner. Commercial pellet and frozen foods designed for African Cichlids should make up the bulk of their diet, with live or frozen worms as a supplement. Given time they may become bold enough to feed from the water column; however, the hobbyist should make sure that some of the food reaches the aquarium substrate so that the Yellow Peacock can feed in a more natural manner.
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Neolamprologus olivaceous
(Neolamprologus olivaceous) Easy Aggressive 3.5" 20 gallons 74-80° F, KH 8-25, pH 7.5-8.6 Omnivore Lake Tanganyika Cichlidae African Cichlid Cichlid-African Neolamprologus olivaceous Cichlids are endemic to Lake Tanganyika, where they are found from coast to coast inhabiting rocky caves and crevices near shorelines. As is the case with many species of African Cichlids, the Neolamprologus olivaceous is highly territorial. In the wild they will typically be found in a monogamous pair that will claim a rocky area near the lake bottom or shoreline as their territory. They will aggressively defend this territory from other similar rock dwelling species, but tend to ignore species that have different feeding and swimming patterns to their own. Neolamprologus olivaceous are available from fish stores that special in Cichlids, and are also available from time to time from online fish sellers. Both the aquarium setup and tank mates are crucial to successfully keeping Neolamprologus olivaceous. Neolamprologus olivaceous are very territorial and aggressive towards other similarly sized species. Providing an aquarium environment that creates plenty of habitat modelled after their native habitat will go a long way towards curbing their aggression towards tank mates. If they are provided an adequate amount of territory in a larger aquarium, Neolamprologus olivaceous will be able to co-exist with other dis-similarly shaped and sized Lake Tanganyika species. However, if kept in a smaller aquarium (20 to 55 gallons) they will need to be kept as a pair or with much larger Lake Tanganyika species that are not viewed as direct competition. When housed in very large aquariums (125 gallons or larger) they can be kept in larger groups or with many other species, as they will have enough room to claim their own territory and leave their tank mates alone. The aquarium should have a sandy substrate and large amounts of rocks arranged to create many caves and crevices. This is crucial because Neolamprologus olivaceous are a cave dwelling species that will look to claim some caves and rocky crevices for their territory. If housed in an aquarium without plenty of rocky caves, the Neolamprologus olivaceous will attempt to take over the whole aquarium as their territory. Hobbyists should consider keeping Neolamprologus olivaceous in either a species only or Lake Tanganyika biotope unless they have a larger aquarium. Hobbyists with larger aquariums that are well aqua-scaped should be able to provide enough territory to keep Neolamprologus olivaceous with a variety of other African Rift Lake species. It is important to maintain good water quality in order to maintain the overall health of this species. Typically hobbyists perform weekly partial water changes to maintain water quality. Quality canister and wet/dry filter systems can also be used to maintain high water quality, which should reduce the need for frequent water changes. Neolamprologus olivaceous feed on small crustaceans and planktonic animals in their natural rift lake environment. They will quickly adapt to a wide variety of commercial aquarium foods including: flake, mini-pellet, crisps, frozen and freeze-dried. Neolamprologus olivaceous are easy to feed and will eagerly consume Cichlid flakes, freeze-dried worms, brine shrimp, mysis shrimp, small pellet foods and other similar foodstuffs. It is best to feed them multiple small feedings per day. Feed an amount of food that they will completely consume within 3 to 5 minutes. Once a pair of Neolamprologus olivaceous have established themselves, they will remain together for life. An established pair will often breed if kept in an aquarium with many rocky caves, inverted clay pots or other cave like settings. Water quality needs to be high, with a water temperature between 78 to 80° and a pH of 8.2 to 8.6. They will look to spawn in a dark cave where the female will lay the eggs on the roof of the cave. Once spawning has occurred, the female will stay in the cave and protect the eggs while the male patrols the pairs entire territory. During this time they will be hyper-aggressive towards all other fish species within the aquarium. Due to this, it is best to keep them separate from other fish species if the hobbyist intends to breed them. Once hatched the young fry will be able to eat baby brine shrimp, cyclop-eeze or similar fair right away. As this species is a mouth brooder, they young can stay with their parents until they reach sexual maturity.
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Alluaud's Haplo
(Astatoreochromis alluaudi) Easy Semi-aggressive 7" 55 gallons 74-82° F, KH 12-30, pH 7.2-8.6 Omnivore Lake Victoria Cichlidae African Cichlid Cichlid-African Alluaud's Haplo (Astatoreochromis alluaudi) is a widely distributed throughout the Lake Victoria basin, where it can be found inhabiting coastal areas of the lake and nearby rivers. Alluaud's Haplo is most commonly found in more shallow waters near the lake or river banks where it lives in and amongst reeds, vegetation and rocky formations. They spend a good portion of their time looking for small mollusks and crustaceans to prey upon. Alluaud's Haplo is most often found in small groups with a single dominant male and multiple females and sub-adult or submissive males. In the aquarium environment, Alluaud's Haplo can co-exist with other Lake Victorian fish and can also be mixed with African Cichlids from other lakes. Their temperament is best described as semi-aggressive, which for an African Cichlid makes them quite sociable. They can even be considered shy when not housed in groups or with too little vegetation or aqua-scaping to provide them with a solid sense of security. The Alluaud's Haplo will act aggressively towards fish of similar body shape and color perceived to be a threat to their territory, their food supply or attention for their mate. As with other African Cichlids, Alluaud's Haplo prefer an aquarium that has a sandy substrate, some vegetation and plenty of rock formations that provide caves and crevices. Alluaud's Haplo is a shoreline dwelling species and will appreciate the addition of some grass like plants or similar vegetation in which to inhabit and explore. It is important that hardy robust live plants or similarly shaped fake plants are used so that the fish do not damage them. As this is a very active species, it is best to provide them with an abundance of caves throughout the aquarium. Alluaud's Haplo do best in groups and should be housed with other species of similar size and temperament in aquariums that are able to provide them with plenty of space to establish territory for themselves. Alluaud's Haplo is an omnivore that feeds primarily upon insects, snails, and mollusks in the wild; however, in the aquarium, this fish can be fed a wide assortment of foods ranging from flake and pellet foods to frozen foods. Ideally they should be fed a varied diet that consists of both meaty and vegetable matter in flake or pellet foods that they can take from the surface or water column. It is best to feed them as much as they will consume within a few minutes a couple times a day.
Callochromis Cichlid
(Callochromis pleurospilus) Easy Semi-Aggressive 4" 55 gallons 76-82° F, KH 10-15, pH 7.8-8.6 Carnivore Lake Tanganyika Cichlidae African Cichlid Cichlid-African Callochromis pleurospilus originate from the shallows and shorelines of Lake Tanganyika, where they forge a living within the sediment rich coast areas of the lake where the plant vegetation meets the lake. Male Callochromis Cichlids spend their time patrolling and protecting a small territory, where they will aggressively chase off other males and similar sized other species. Female Callochromis Cichlids stay in a small group that will live with a single male in the males territory. When not defending territory or breeding, Callochromis Cichlids hunt for insects, small crustaceans and insect larvae in and around the roots of plants and rocky areas along the coast of the lake. Callochromis Cichlid do not exhibit the bright coloration that one tends to see from across the room, but upon closer examination they do have very brilliant colors that make them a very attractive addition to many smaller aquariums or larger community aquariums with larger species capable of dealing with their conspecific aggression. Callochromis pleurospilus do well in home aquariums that are 4 feet or more in length and provide them with a habitat similar to their natural surroundings. They will appreciate a sandy or similar substrate with plenty of rocky areas and some branch type wood pieces and plants. The key factor in successfully keeping Callochromis pleurospilus in the home aquarium is to mitigate their natural aggression through aquarium size, tank mates and proper arrangement of aquarium decorations. Male Callochromis Cichlids will exhibit a large amount of aggression towards other males of the species and males of similar species. They will also to a lesser degree harass female Callochromis pleurospilus as well. In order to mitigate this behaviour it is best to house the Callochromis pleurospilus in a four foot or larger aquarium with a single male and a small group of 4 to 6 females, or a larger (6 foot aquarium) if housed with another male or similar species. Providing plenty of rocky caves, branched wood pieces or similar decorations, will provide fish that are being chased or harassed with areas to avoid the aggression of the male Callochromis pleurospilus. As far as the overall aquarium environment, Callochromis pleurospilus do well when presented with a sandy substrate with plenty of rocky caves, crevices and similar type decorations. Callochromis pleurospilus do not have specific lighting or water movement considerations, but should be provided high quality water conditions and moderate water flow. In their natural habitat of Lake Tanganyika, Callochromis pleurospilus feed mostly on small crustaceans, insects and insect larvae. In the aquarium environment they will readily adjust to a varied diet of commercial meaty foods. Callochromis pleurospilus should be fed two to three times a day a varied diet of high quality commercial foods including: cyclop-eeze, mysis shrimp, brine shrimp, high quality flake and pellet foods, blood worms and similar other commercial preparations. In the wild males build small depressions in the sandy substrate or utilize an existing, in which to entice the female to lay her eggs. After the eggs are released and then fertilized by the male, the female scoops them into her mouth in order to protect the eggs until they hatch. The female does all of the rearing of the brood, which generally lasts approximately 3 weeks. At this time the fry will be release from the mothers mouth, where they will be left to fend for themselves. The adult male should be removed after the eggs are laid and picked up by the female, who should be removed from the breeding tank as soon as the brood is released from her mouth. The young fry should be fed freshly hatched baby brine shrimp or given finely crushed flake food.
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