Labidochromis sp. "Perlmutt" Tanzania "Pearl"

Common Name: Perlmutt

Synonyms: occasionally seen as Labidochromis sp. "Yellow Bar"

Family: Cichlidae This fish has not been scientifically described.

L. sp. Perlmutt is found in Lake Malawi at Higga Reef near Mbamba Bay, Tanzania in Africa in 1995. It is found in cracks and crevices in a rocky habitat.

This fish likes a temperature of 75-80F. A pH of 7.5-8.6 is recommended.

This fish has no clear sexual dimorphism. The differences are seen in dominant fish whether or not they are male or female (usually male). A non-dominant fish is cream coloured with brownish vertical stripes on the body. The fins are yellow. There is also a patch of yellow on their body on the top of the body near the eyes (this shows up very well on dominant fish). Dominant fish are a creamy colour (mother-of-pearl; perlmutt=German for mother-of-pearl). All sexes have egg spots. With my fish; the males have three or more, and the females have two.

I got these fish from New Baltimore. I bought 4 in March. They were 2 males and two females. They were small so I put them with other small cichlids in a 20 gallon to grow out before I could put them in my 55. I lost 3 of them in May. I had extremely high nitrites in the tank. I guess they can't take that very well (I also lost a fuelleborni).

The remaining fish was a female (2 egg spots). I knew it was female because it was holding eggs that were never fertilized. In July, I went back to New Baltimore and picked 5 more Perlmutts. I asked for 2 males and three females. It turns out that I ended up with 3 males and 3 females.

In September, I had a 2½" female carry eggs for a week, so I knew there was a male in the tank for sure. In October, they were moved to a 90 gallon tank. Three days later, a female was holding again. This time she only held for three days. (This may have been due to the fact that the tank was still cycling and I had somewhat high nitrites again) A week later the first female was holding in the tank. I left her in the tank for 15 days (basing my time to move her on L. caeruleus). I put her in a five gallon tank by herself. She did not like being there. She got extremely skinny. She was still holding at 28 days, so I stripped her. I moved her back to the 90 gallon but I left her in a breeding trap for a few days to gain weight. I fed her heavily. She didn't seem to mind the breeding trap but a few days later I saw her swimming in the tank with the others. No one was picking on her so I left her there. I got 17 fry from her. The fry look like sub-dominate fish in miniature, with bright yellow fins.

Right now, another female has spawned but did not hold (she's still small). The third female is the smallest in the tank and really has to fight for her food so I don't think she will be breeding for a while yet. The female that held is holding again. I should have some more fry shortly.

© Copyright 1999-2003 Lisa Boorman
All Rights Reserved

Suggested Reading:

Malawi Cichlids in their natural habitat - 2nd edition Ad Konings

Fishkeepers Guide to African Cichlids by Paul Loiselle

The Cichlid Aquarium by Dr. Paul Loiselle

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

Baensch Aquarium Atlas vol. 2 by Dr. Rüdiger Riehl & Hans A. Baensch

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

Enjoying Cichlids by Ad Konings (editor)

Offshore Cichlids of Lake Malawi by George F. Turner

To see more references on cichlids:

Cichlid Book List

 Back to Main Page