Common Name: Electric Blue, Electric Blue Haplochromis
Synonyms: Sciaenochromis ahli, Haplochromis ahli, Haplochromis serranoides, Haplochromis "Big-Eye", Haplochromis "Electric Blue"
Habitat: Lake Malawi. The species is considered an old species because of its lakewide distribution and also because of it's breeding technique. It is found mostly in the northern end . Most specimens caught are usually from Likoma.
Description: This is a highly sexually dichromatic species. Females are brown with faintly darker vertical stripes. Many females have egg spots. Males are a bright neon blue all over. There is a white edge to the dorsal and on part of the caudal fin. The anal fin has a lot of orange in it. Some males display a white blaze, these are known as iceberg varieties. These males are from the southern populations. Young males look like females.
Size: 20 cm or 7 inches.
Food: In the wild this fish mainly eats the fry of other species and will do so in the confines of an aquarium should the opportunity arise.
Breeding: The fish are mouthbrooders. The eggs are fertilized out of the mother's mouth, which is unusual for Lake Malawian fish. Spawning takes place under rocks in the wild but in the aquarium males usually make a nest. Fry are released after 3 weeks.
I bought these fish at Wet Thumb Aquatics approximately one year ago. They were grown out in a 20g tank until they were large enough to fit into a larger aquarium with larger fish. After several months they were placed into a 55g tank. At this time they were about 2½" long. I still could not tell sexes at this time and became worried that I would have no females as that seems to be my luck. Two of the fish showed small signs of egg spots and I thought that these fish were going to be my males. Two more months went by and I could finally make out some bluish highlights on one of the fish. This was a fish without the eggspots however. I then moved to my current house and placed them into my 90g tank. (Everything got upgraded to a larger tank as I could finally use my 200g then.) The 90g tank has a substrate of gravel and several large rocks and shells as decoration. It is kept at 78F. The pH is 8. There is only a floating Elodea plant in there as a plant (I use this to let the mbuna eat from it). There is no tank light. Shortly after placing them in there the fish with the blue highlights started turning very blue and I knew I had a male. The other fish without the eggspots also turned blue; however he never turned as dark blue as the other as he was subdominant. Interestingly the dominant male has a white blaze and the subdominant shows no sign of one. I wonder if I removed the dominant male if the blaze would then show up as a dominance characteristic. These fish are fed a high quality flake; regular and brine shrimp. They also get pelleted food and as a treat, they occasionally receive shrimp or other frozen foods. Within the month; and within 2 days of each other both of the other fish were carrying eggs. The first female carried to term and I stripped 16 fry from her (after losing a few in the tank as she spit the fry out when I caught her). The other female had let go of her fry at day 10. I moved these fish to a 20g fry tank. They were fed crushed flake foods. The fry are a plain brown colour. The original female continues to hold her fry to term and the other female seems to be stuck at releasing hers early. So far I have 3 broods from these fish.
© Copyright 1999-2003 Lisa Boorman
All Rights Reserved
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
Baensch Aquarium Atlas 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
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