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Labidochromis caeruleus "Lundo"

Labidochromis sp. "Zebra Lundo"

Labidochromis caeruleus "Lundo" Male above. Photos by Rick Borstein.

General

Labidochromis caereuleus Lundo FemaleLabidochromis caeruleus "Lundo" a mouthbrooding mbuna from Lake Malawi, Africa. In the hobby, you will most often encounter this fish under the trade name of Labidochromis sp. "Zebra Lundo".

Indeed the common "Zebra Lundo" nomenclature confused me. After a chat with my son Sam, I was able to locate pictures of this fish in Konings' book Malawi Cichlids in their Natural Habitat, New 4th Edition. What? This is just a color morph of the incredibly popular Labidochromis caeruleus? It is!

Indeed, Labidochromis caeruleus comes in many color and striping patterns according to Konings and, as a I looked more closely at the fish, the body shape is unmistakable.

Males are reminiscent of Labidochromis chisumulae , but the underlying stripe color is black rather than blue. The dorsal fin is edged in white, while the anal and pectoral fins are edged in black. Males have two to three prominent egg spots.

Females are a tan-grey color and unremarkable like many female mbuna.

Habitat

Labidochromis caeruleus "Lundo" is likely found in and among the rocks of Lake Malawi..

Care

Labidochromis caeruleus "Lundo" presents few problems to the cichlid fancier who has kept mbuna previously. The dominant male individual will often give chase to sub-dominant individuals, so provide cover and rockwork. Like other Malawian cichlids, provide a tank temperature of 76-80F and neutral to hard water. I would suggest a 40 breeder as a minimum tank size for keeping and breeding this fish.

Feeding

Labidochromis caeruleus feeds on insects and occasionally snails in the wild. I fed balanced foods high in vegetable content such as Dainichi Veggie Deluxe pellets and HBH Graze flakes.

Breeding

I obtained seven adult Labidochromis caeruleus "Lundo" (sold as Labidochromis sp. "Zebra Lundo") at the 2010 American Cichlid Association convention held in Milwaukee, WI. I purchased the fish in the auction and paid $12 for the bag, which I considered a bargain. Unfortunately, the group was heavy on males and turned out to be five males and two females. Perhaps that is why they were so cheap!

Low on tank space, I placed them in my 300G pond for the Summer. In the pond, the fish flashed their colors frequently, although I did not see any signs of brooding females.

In October, a sudden cold spell in Chicago dropped the pond temperature down to 52F. Incredibly, these tropical cichlids were still actively swimming! I netted them out and brought them inside to house them in a 90G tank with a sand bottom.

Within a week, two females were holding. I stripped one female at twelve days post spawning of twenty "heads and tails" babies. I put the partially developed fry into a small, two-gallon bare tank to mature.

At 21 days post spawning, I stripped the second female of eighteen free-swimming fry. All the babies were able to take baby brine shrimp and a week later were eating flake food.

Interestingly, I found that the fry I stripped first were slightly larger than the ones from the female who held to term., Within a couple of weeks, however, the size difference was not noticeable.

Retail Price

Labidochromis caeruleus "Lundo" is not a common pet shop species, but if found would be in the $10-15 range..

Availability

Labidochromis caeruleus "Lundo" is, at this time, widely available from hobbyists, but almost always under the alternate name of Labidochromis sp. "Zebra Lundo".

Report December 2010 by Rick Borstein.

Labidochromis chisumulae

Labidochromis chisumulae

Above Labidochromis chisumulae, Male. Photo by Sam Borstein.

General

Labidochromis chisumulae is a mouthbrooding Malawian cichlid first typed by Lewis in 1982.

Males are pearly white with dark, navy blue markings on the top part of the body extending from the head halfway through the dorsal fin. Depending on mood, males may exhibit a pronounced blue sheen throughout the body, especially when breeding.

Females are a pearly white to tan-white, with faint stripes on the flanks.

Males get up to about 3 to 3.5". Females are a tad smaller, topping out at 3".

Habitat

As the name suggests, this fish is found in the rocky habitat near Chisumulu Island in Lake Malawi.

Care

Labidochromis chisumulae presents no major problems. Neutral to hard water conditions are fine. I kept mine at pH 7.4, 78F in hard Chicago water.

This fish is moderately aggressive. Males will sometimes pick on females, so provide adequate hiding spots.

Feeding

Labidochromis chisumulae are good eaters. I fed a variety of prepared foods including HBH Graze, Dainichi Veggie FX, New Life Spectrum and Tetra Cichlid Flakes. In the wild, reports indicate that this species picks invertebrates from the biocover. Like other Mbuna, I recommend feeding food containing vegetable matter.

Breeding

My son 14-year-old Sam obtained four juveniles in November, 2006. Sam wanted to know if I wanted them after he spawned them. That's the confidence of youth talking . . .

I had never heard of Labidochromis chisumulae and told him I wasn't interested.

To be perfectly honest, the white-ish looking fish did not impress me and this is what I shared with him. Sam told me I didn't know what I was talking about— not the first time I've heard that from him! Sam said he not only would breed Labidochromis chisumulae, but show me that they were great looking fish.

Not surprisingly, Sam was right. After all, he's bred about 50 species of cichlids and he's only fourteen!

As the fish developed, the male turned out to be an outstanding looking fish. Seriously, Labidochromis chisumulae is one of the best looking Mbuna I've seen! I was happy to be proven wrong and Sam was nice enough to give his "old man" his group after successfully spawning them.

Humbled, but happy about it, I placed the group in a 40-gallon breeder along three Neolamprologus mustax and six Thorachromis callochromis. In short order, two females were holding.

I stripped one female of about fifteen fry at 12 days. The fry are about the same size as other Mbuna fry and are tan-white in color.

At this point, the fry were at the "heads and tails" stage. I placed them in a small, 2-gallon container with a heater and small sponge filter. Five days later they were completely free-swimming and were eating live baby brine shrimp.

After a week, I moved the fry to a 10-gallon grow out tank. At one month, the fry are about 1/2" long and eating flake food.

Retail Price

For adult Labidochromis chisumulae, expect to pay about $15-20 per fish. Juveniles would go for about $10-12. Labidochromis chisumulae is seldom available in pet shops, but can be found on several wholesaler's lists.

Report March 2006 by Rick Borstein. Additional report on Sam Borstein's website.

Labidochromis caeruleus

Labdiochromis caereuleus

Labidochromis caeruleus "Lions Cove" Male. Photo by Rick Borstein

General

Labidochromis caeruleus is a very popular cichlid! The "lemon yellow" variety, shown above, has secured a place in the cichlid hobby because of its bright yellow color. Labidochromis caeruleus is a maternal mouthbrooder.

Most hobbyists will refer to this fish using a common name such as Lemon Yellow or Yellow Lab

Confusingly to some beginner cichlid keepers, is  available in other color forms. The blue-white form is the most often found in the lake, but there is also a Labidochromis caeruleus "Lundo" which is very attractive.

This fish is attractive, easy to keep and easy to breed. Compared to many mbuna species, it is not very aggressive. These positive traits all add up to a great fish!

Unlike most Malawian cichlids, both the males and the females are very attractive. The dominant male in the group will generally be a brighter yellow and have a glossier, darker and more prominently-black edged dorsal fin.

Habitat

Labidochromis caeruleus is endemic to Lake Malawi (Africa) and is found in two distinct biotopes; rocky shorelines and in Valisneria (plant) beds. They are found at depths of 6 to 120 feet. In the wild, they have been observed feeding on a variety of invertebrates and snails.

Care

Labidochromis caeruleus likes hard alkaline water around 76-82 degrees, although they will tolerate slightly higher or lower temperatures. I have kept and bred them in Chicago water with no problems at all. Regular partial water changes are essential to the well-being of the fish. Keeping them with other moderately aggressive Malawian cichlids presents no problems. Recommended tank size for five adults would be a 30 gallon-long tank or larger.

 

Feeding

You can feed Labidochromis caeruleus just about anything. A good quality flake food and cichlid pellets occasionally supplemented by frozen foods will work well. Include a good vegetable flake such as HBH Graze.

Breeding

Labidochromis caeruleus is one of the easiest mouthbrooders to breed. I recommend that you purchase five or six juvenile fish and raise them up. They will breed at six months of age or about 1-1/2 inches in length.

Breeding occurs in the typical mbuna fashion, so provide a piece of slate or other smooth surface for the "act". After breeding, I remove the female to a well-planted "maternity" tank.

Females are generally good "holders" and will refuse food for up to four weeks. Because going for food for so long can critically weaken the female, I generally strip the eggs from the fish. At two weeks, the babies will be at the "heads and tails" stage. After three weeks, the babies are nearly fully formed. My preference is to strip 12–14 days and bubble them in a commerical egg tumbler.

Small females will produce 10 to 15 babies. Larger, fully-grown females will have 25 to 30.

January 2004 Update:  Lately we have seen some crossing back from the yellow variety to the blue/white variety in the hobby. We have regularly seen two yellow individuals when mated to produce a mix of yellow and blue/white fry. It should be noted that virtually all the fish in the hobby are descended from just a few individuals imported in the mid-1990's. This fish is apparently very rare in the wild. Fortunately, we have just started to see new yellow individuals imported from the wild. These wild fish should be used to strenghten the current yellow fish in the hobby.

Retail Price

Fry Up to 5$. Adults $10 to $15. You can find the yellow variety of Labidochromis caeruleus almost anywhere. It is very common, but no less fun and attractive to keep. The plainer blue-white variety is rather hard to find. If you ask around a GCCA meeting, you'll undoubtedly find someone who has some to sell or trade with you.

Report December 1999 by Rick Borstein. Updated January 2004 and August 2011.

 

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