Cyprichromis Leptosoma - "Blue-Flash"

Common Name: Black-finned Slender Cichlid

Synonyms: Paratilapia leptosoma, Limnochromis leptosoma

Family: Cichlidae

Leptosoma means slender body. Leptos (Greek)=slender; soma (Greek)=body, trunk.

This fish was originally described in 1898 by G.A. Boulenger

C. Leptosoma is found in Lake Tanganyika (especially around Kigoma, Mbete, Kinyamkolo, Msambu and the southern lake) in Africa. It is found in open water about 5 metres deep and at rocky shores in large schools.

This fish likes a temperature of 73-77F. A pH of 8-9 with a dH up to 20 is recommended. This fish is fairly sensitive to dirty water so good filtration is required.

This fish has clear sexual dimorphism. The males are usually brown coloured with yellowish pelvic fins. The dorsal and anal fins are dark blue. In some populations there are individuals that have a yellow anal fin. Females are much plainer. They are gray with some silver on the sides of their heads. I find they have a touch of yellow in their dorsal. These fish reach up to 5½" in length. It is a peaceful schooling fish. It is a mouth-brooder. C. leptosoma prefer lots of swimming space. It swims in the upper layers so they can be kept with other cichlids who won't eat them. These fish are great jumpers, so provide a tight cover on the tank. It is recommended to start with a group of eight fish.

Cyprichromis breed just below the surface of the water. The female after laying the egg, chases it through the water and catches it. It is then fertilized inside her mouth. The eggs are usually visible through the throat of the female. There can be up to 50 eggs in a large female. The eggs hatch in 21 days. They are released 23-28 days after initial egg laying. After they leave their mother, the fry stay near the surface. The parents then ignore the fry.

I obtained 5 fish of the "Blue Flash" variety. I had two males and three females. One male is a normal "Blue Flash" while the other has the yellow tail. "Blue Flash" have dark blue tails and dark blue dorsals along with a little yellow in the dorsal. They have neon blue area on the top of their head. The females have a little of the yellow in the dorsal. When I bought them, they were holding already in the dealer's tank. But they were stripped before they were given to me. I put these fish in a 33 US gallon tank along with a pair of Kribensis. This tank has fluorescent lighting and fairly large gravel. The temperature is 78-79 F. The pH is usually around 8.2-8.4 whenever I check it. They were given weekly water changes of about 30%. They were fed only flake food; different types(i.e. shrimp, spirulina, etc.) were used to make sure they had proper nutrition.

One day I noticed that one female had stopped eating so I took a closer look at her. Sure enough her mouth was distended with eggs. I got very excited. Within a week the second female was holding eggs as well. By about the 18th or 19th day you can see the eyes of the fry through the throat pouch of the mother. The third female kept getting chased by both males who had divided up the tank approx. in half. I found her on the floor dead one afternoon. She had jumped through the only spot that I had failed to cover up. When the males were displaying you can see vertical stripes on the fish. Also the blue on the head gets very intense. They also get a dark blue-black area on their throat. They display in front of the female by arching their bodies towards the female and lowering the front half of the dorsal fin and vigorously shaking the back half.

About three weeks (24 Days) later I discovered 4 fry swimming around the tank. They were about 1" in length. I put them in a breeder trap in the same tank. Four days later I discovered 6 more swimming around. These were caught and put in the trap as well. The second female still had some in her mouth and she refused to give them up. I caught her and tried to get her to spit them out but she escaped. Since it was so hard to catch her I just left it alone. One day later there was another two fry swimming in the tank. I had a grand total of 12 fry from two fairly small females. The fry show a yellow dorsal. I fed the fry crushed shrimp flake which they took eagerly, even from the surface which the parents won't do. It has to be falling down before they will eat something. And if it ends up on the bottom they will not eat it there either. They also had live baby brine shrimp (the parents love this as well). The fry were about a month old when I released them into the main tank. I let go two to see if they could hold their own against the outside filter. When I saw they could, I released the rest. They grew very well and are about 2" long now.

© Copyright 1999-2003 Lisa Boorman
All Rights Reserved

Suggested Viewing:

Lake Tanganyika:Jewel of the Rift (National Geographic1997)

Suggested Reading:

Pierre Brichard's Book of Cichlids and All the Other Fishes of Lake Tanganyika by Pierre Brichard

Tanganyika Cichlids in their natural habitat by Ad Konings

Guide to Tanganyika Cichlids  (Back to Nature) by Ad Konings

Lake Tanganyikan Cichlids: Everything About Purchasing, Care, Nutrition, Behaviour, and       Aquarium Maintenance (Barron's Complete Pet Owner's Manuals) by Mark Smith

The Cichlid Aquarium by Dr. Paul Loiselle

Baensch Aquarium Atlas by Dr. Rüdiger Riehl & Hans A. Baensch

Success with Cichlids from Lake Malawi & Tanganyika by Sabine Melke, U. Erich Friese

Fishkeepers Guide to African Cichlids by Paul Loiselle

To see more references on cichlids:

Cichlid Book List

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