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Copadichromis sp. "Mloto Fluorescent"

Photo by Jim Stigliano, 2000.

General

This fish has just recently been introduced into the hobby. It is being exported from Lake Malawi by African Diving Ltd. of Sweden. Although they are predominantly an exporter of Tanganyikan fishes, they do export Malawian fishes also. To my knowledge, African Diving Ltd. is the only company exporting this fish to the U.S. and by the looks of this fish, they have a winner. It is presently grouped together with "mloto" type fish because of it’s overall appearance, although the name given this fish will probably change in the future. Given the color of this fish, it is aptly named "Fluorescent". It is one of a small handful of African Cichlids that have green pigmentation. As you can see by the photo, this fish has an iridescent green head and a blue body. Note This picture was taken hours after arriving from Africa. A better picture can be found at African Diving Ltd.’s website under "New Discoveries". This iridescent green is mindful of the color sometimes seen on Bettas and Guppys, but a rare commodity in African Cichlids.

The common name for this fish is The Mloto Fluorescent Mouthbrooder

Habitat

This fish is found and collected at Hai Reef in Tanzania. According to African Diving Ltd, "It is a rare cichlid that may be found in sediment rich biotope where rocks meet the open sand floor. Females gather together in small groups seeking plankton some meters up from the bottom." Being this is a new fish in this country, some things must be assumed from other fishes of this type. From the colony that I have, I would say that they are semi to non aggressive with males attaining a length of 5-6 inches with females being slightly smaller.

Care

Copadichromis. sp. "mloto fluorescent" require no special care. They, of course, love hard alkaline water with a temperature range of 74-84 degrees. A mixture of 2 parts non-iodized salt to 1 part Epsom salt will aid in digestion and prevent bloat. I use about 1 ounce of this mixture for every 15 gallons for water.

Feeding

I feed these fish the same as everything else in my fish room. They are truly typical wild fish. Let a finger stray into the tank and they’ll try to eat that too. It’s amazing how quickly they adapt to dependency on humans. They are always the first ones scurrying about they tank waiting for food when someone enters the room. (Guess they read about Pavlov’s dogs.) I haven’t found a food that they won’t eat. At present, they have accepted frozen brine shrimp, earthworms (their favorite), bloodworms, pellets and assorted flake foods. I do make sure that they get a little more green matter, in the form of Spirulina, than some of my other fish.

Breeding

I would presume it to be non-earth shattering news to declare that this fish is a mouth brooder. I have 2 males and 6 females in a 50 gallon breeder tank that has a variety of hiding places. This colony only arrived 2 weeks ago but from observation, the 2 males are typically territorial yet atypically not out for each other’s blood. They get along well, although it goes without saying, that 1 male is boss. Both males do however show equal coloration. They are fattening up nicely and I am starting to see signs of eminent spawning. The males are chasing the females, yet not one of the females shows any outward signs of being attacked.

Retail Price

$20 to $40 U.S.

As with any new fish, they are moderately pricey. Although, I will say, I have seen and paid a lot more for new fish.

Report July 2000 by Jim Stigliano

Copadichromis geertsi

Copadichromis geertsi

Above Copadichromis geertsi, Female in foreground, Male, in breeding dress behind. Photo by Tom Rejczak.

General

Copadichromis geertsi is a representative Utaka group in Lake Malawi. Previously known as Copadichromis sp."Virginalis blotch", it was described in 1999 by Ad Konings. Males can reach eight inches in length while females get up to about six inches. In breeding dress, males have a dark blue to black color body and ivory cap. Males also exhibit a yellow bands on dorsal fin and and anal fins. Females and juveniles are gray with two black spots.

According to Fishbase, this fish was named " . . . after Martin Geerts, Dutch aquarist, one of the compilators of the Catalogue of Cichlids."

Habitat

According Ad Konings (Malawi Cichlids in their Natural Habitat), this fish was found in deep water exceeding 25M at Gome and Masinje in Malawi and Meponda and Thundu in Mozambique.

Care

Because Copadichromis geertsi gets big, it should be kept in large tanks 125 gallons or more. They prefer alkaline water about 76 to 82F degrees. The tank should contain fine gravel and some rockwork. The best ratio for breeding is one male to three females .

Feeding

My fish were fed with Spectrum pellets and live and frozen brine shrimps and frozen mysis.

Breeding

If you want to breed Copadichromis geertsi, you definitely need patience. My wild caught fish did not breed until two years after I got them. The male constructs a sand crater that is 15" diameter and 6" deep to attract females. Female incubate the eggs for 30 to 36 days.

The fry are very big, around 3/4 inch long. Spawns range in size from twelve to eighteen. I recommend removing the female to a 30 to 50 gallon brooding tank. Make sure you cover the tank as these fish jump. and cover from outside. I believe this reduces stress and the possibility of eating or spitting out eggs is reduced to minimum. My first food for the babies were live microworms. After several days I gave them Spectrum Grow Formula and frozen Daphnia.

Retail Price

A wild-caught breeding pair of Copadichromis geertsi might be much over $200. I have not seen juveniles on the market, but I guess that two-inch fish might go for around $30-40.

Report May 2008 by Tom Rejczak.

Copadichromis borleyi

Copadichromis borleyi Male

Copadichromis borleyi Male. This nine-inch specimen won the Haplochromis class at the 2001 GCCA Cichlid Classic.
Photo and retouching by Rick Borstein

General

Copadichromis borleyi FemaleCopadichromis borleyi is large, beautiful cichlid from Lake Malawi. It was first discovered by Iles in 1960 and was originally known as Haplochromis borleyi. A number of varieties are available, including the yellow-fin variety (see female at right).

I prefer the yellow fin variety. Even the females have very nicely colored yellow fins. Even better, fry only three-weeks old have the yellow fins making them easily saleable.

They are quite peaceful fish and have a hard time living in the confines of an aquarium with more aggressive haps and mbuna. I have seen them dopminated by A. jacobfreibergi, but you may have good success with other Aulonocara species.

Habitat

These fish are found in shallow to mid-depths of the Lake. For your tank, provide rockwork and caves. If you have a large tank that is over four feet long, provide two to three rockwork piles so that each male can stake out a territory.

Care

Copadichromis borleyi presents no problems to the aquarist. Provide clean, neutral to alkaline water between 76 and 82F. Six adults do nicely in a 40 gallon or larger tank. Regular partial water changes and good tank maintenance will help you to raise better quality and faster growing fish.

Feeding

These fish belong to the 'Utaka' group, which feed on vegetable matter, mainly algae. There are other reports, however, that Copadichromis borleyi is a plankton feeder. In any case, in the aquarium, they will eat just about anything. I fed mine Doromin, various flake foods including Spirulina, Aquadyne and Spectrum.

Breeding

I have raised Copadichromis borleyi fry to breeding size in ten months. They need to be at least three inches long to breed.

This fish breeds like other mouthbrooding fish from Lake Malawi. Provide a couple of pieces of flat slate fore the spawning site. The dominant male will color up and "dance" to attract females. If a female is amenable, spawning will ensue. Brood sizes are in the 20 to 30 range. Larger females may have very large spawns.

I let the females hold 20 to 22 days and then strip out the free-swimming or nearly free-swimming fry. The fry are pretty large. I initially fed my fry Cyclops-Eeze for three days then transitioned them to flake foods. They are easily saleable at two months of age when you can expect them to be 1.25" long with nice yellow fins.

Retail Price

Expect to pay about $10 to $15 dollars for this fish at your local pet shop. Fry are frequently available at GCCA meetings and auctions. A bag of five fry would probably run you about $10..

Availability

Copadichromis borleyi isn't hard to find. If your pet shop doesn't stock them, they should find the fish easy to purchase from a variety of distributors. Make sure you know what variety you are getting. Some varieties have very little red on the body and ordinary, plain finage.

Report May 2001 by Rick Borstein

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