Mpibia lutea (Seehausen
& Bouton, 1998)
Synonyms: Haplochromis sp. "carp", Haplochromis porthole, Haplochromis
sp. "porthole", Haplochromis sp. "spotbar", Haplochromis sp. "crossbar"
Common Names: Spotbar, Porthole, Crossbar
Original description: Seehausen, Ole & E. Lippitsch, N. Bouton and
H. Zwennes; 1998; "Mbipi, the rock-dwelling cichlids of Lake Victoria:
description of three new genera and fifteen new species";
Ichthyological Explorations of Freshwaters; pp. 129-228.
Habitat: Lake Victora (Yala Swamp) - Makobe Island, Mponze Point, Ndura
Point, Bwiru Island, Chamagati Island and Mafwinki. They are found
among the rocks and in shallow water in fairly steep slopes on the
edges of the lake (the riparian area) at depths of about 6 feet. They
are not found in the surf zone.
Sexing: Males tend to get larger and have eggspots. They will also have
a red caudal. Females tend to have yellow tails and anal fins.
They can be sometimes confused with Haplochromis sp. "Thick Skin".
Mbipia lutea has a more rounded head with a blue-gray color on the top
part of the body and head, while H.sp. "Thick Skin" has a blue head
with a bright yellow color and red fins.
Food: In the wild, they tend to eat green and bluish green thread algae
and insect larvae. They scrape these off the rocks. In the aquarium
these fish should be fed a vegetable based diet.
Breeding: These fish are typical mouthbrooders.
Care in aquarium: Temperature of 75-82°F (24-28°C). A pH of
7.5-8.5 is recommended. This species can be highly aggressive so
a large tank is suggested.
I received these fish as small fry from a friend in Texas (Greg
Steeves). He’d sent them to me with a friend of his who was driving up
our way. He sent us several species of Victorians at the time, as well
as a few Neolamprologus multifasciatus. The fish all survived the trip
except for a few of the multies as they were pretty small when they
came. These fish were started off in a small 10 gallon tank as that was
the only space I had available for them when they arrived. The tank was
a bare bottom tank filtered with a sponge filter. They got weekly water
changes and were fed an assortment of flake and pellet
food. After they started getting some size, and after our
local club had an auction where I got rid of some fish to make some
room, they were given a 50 gallon tub to live in. This tub is filtered
by an Aquaclear 300 and a sponge filter. They were also given a few
Labidochromis caeruleus to live with as I needed to grow both of these
species and was running out of room for fry. The temperature in the tub
is kept on the low end of their needs. I keep the tub running at about
74-75°F. I’ve never actually kept these guys in an aquarium
where I could see them from the side after they started getting their
colour, so it’s actually very hard for me to describe them.
Once they reached about 3” TL for the females and larger for the males,
I was looking in the tub one day and thought I’d noticed a fish with a
larger mouth than the others. I wasn’t entirely sure, but I did go get
my net and catch the fish out. It turned out to be a female holding
fry. I got about 15 fry from her. Before I placed her back in the tub,
I looked to see if there were any more ‘big mouthed’ females. There
was! So, I promptly caught that female as well, and stripped a bunch of
eggs from her. They were tumbled until they were freeswimming. I did
not lose any of the fry or the eggs from either female. Those fry are
in a tank together and being fed tetrabits, assorted flakes and other
These fish are very colourful. You can tell even from looking at them
from above only. I can only imagine what they’d look like side-on.
Hopefully, I’ll be able to find a spot for them that will allow me to
Copyright 1999-2009 Lisa Boorman
Cichlid Aquarium by Dr. Paul Loiselle
Aquarium Atlas: Photo Index 1-5 by Hans A. Baensch, Gero W. Fischer
Victoria Rock Cichlids - taxonomy, ecology, and distribution by Ole
Cichlids II : Cichlids from Eastern Africa : A Handbook for Their
Identification, Care and Breeding by Wolfgang, Dr. Staeck, Horst
Dreampond : Drama in Lake Victoria by Tijs Goldschmidt
To see more references on
Cichlid Book List
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