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Tropheops sp. "Olive Tiger"

Tropheops sp.

Above: Tropheops sp. "Olive Tiger" Photo by Rick Borstein. Video available below.

General

Tropheops sp. "Olive Tiger", also just known as Tropheops sp. "Olive" , is a mouthbrooding cichlid native to Lake Malawi in Africa.

Females and juveniles, have an overall silver to grey base color with an interesting tiger-like pattern of very dark stripes. Males are a golden green color with dark edges to the fins. Overall, both males and females are very nice looking fish. A large male might get up to about four inches and females stay slightly smaller.

Tropheops sp. "Olive Tiger"  is an active fish and make for an entertaining and colorful display.

Tropheops sp Olive Tiger Female

Habitat

Tropheops sp. "Olive Tiger"  is found in the shallow, turbulent and rocky habitat of the lake.

Care

Tropheops sp. "Olive Tiger" is a somewhat aggressive cichlid, so it is recommended to create a heavily landscaped tank with numerous rocky hiding places for females and sub-dominant individuals. As far as tank temperature, aquarists should take a clue from the normal temperature of Lake Malawi which is between 74°F and 79°F with high hardness. I had no trouble keeping this fish in Chicago water at 78F. I performed regular partial water changes each week of about 25% of the tank volume.

Feeding

In the wild, Tropheops sp. "Olive Tiger"  is an algal garden tender. Males and females stake out an area about a meter in diameter and scrapes and tear filamentous algae for their meals. For this reason,  offer a diet high in veggie matter. I fed Dainichi Veggie Deluxe Pellets, Repashy Community Gel Food, Repashy Soylent Green Gel Food and Extreme cichlid pellets.

Breeding

Stacked PVC Cichlid CondosI obtained a group of nine, adult Tropheops sp. "Olive Tiger" from fellow GCCA member Jason Libasci. I am a big fan of yellow fish, so I was excited to get this group into an open 90G, four-foot aquarium. This tank had a sand substrate and was filtered by a Tidepool II wet/dry filter. I did take special care to landscape the tank with several cichlid condos (PVC pipe structures, see picture) which I stacked to create a multi-level structure.

As mentioned previously, this is a moderately aggressive fish. Both males and females will make runs at each other, sometimes spinning about in impressive displays (see video). Fortuntely, the cover I provided for the fish and prevented any serious damage between individuals. 

I was lucky in that within a week or two after obtaining the group,  courting began. The bright yellow males would extend their fins and display to females hoping to lure the girl to an empty spot in the sand or within a piece of PVC to breed. Shortly after seeing courting behavior, I observed females holding fry. I allowed the females to hold about twelve days at which time I stripped them of about twenty large-ish fry. The fry were immediately able to eat frozen, baby brine shrimp. The babies grow quickly if provided with multiple feedings a day, clean water and ample quarters.

Retail Price

Tropheops sp. "Olive Tiger" has recently been more popular on the internet, but it is not likely you will see this fish at your local pet store. Expect to pay about $6 to $8 for 1.5-inch juveniles and about $15 to $20 for adult, tank-raised fish.

Video

 

Report March 2014 by Rick Borstein

Protomelas annectens

Protomelas annectens Male

Above: Protomelas annectens. Photo by Rick Borstein. Video available below.

General

Protomelas annectens is a mouthbrooding cichlid from Lake Malawi, Africa. It was first typed by Regan in 1922.

Protomelas annectens is a large and active fish. Males get up to about nine inches while females stay an inch or more smaller. The overall base color of the fish is a grey-blue. Dominant males have a steep cranial profile, a blue head and a horizontal stripe which is overlayed (usually) by blue sheen. Some irridescent scales may appear on the upper flank. The caudal fin is usually black and may be edged in a dull blue or grey. 

Protomelas annectens tends to show off differently depending on the substrate and tank background. With dark substrates and backgrounds, the fish will appear almost black. If you hope to see the bluest fish, keep this fish over a light substrate with a brighter background.

Habitat

Protomelas annectens is typically found at depths of about 5-10M over sandy areas of the lake.

Care

Protomelas annectens is a not a very aggressive cichlid, but since it gets fairly big, a four foot or larger tank with a sandy substrate is recommended. Lake Malawi has hard water, generally from 75-80F, so supply the same. My fish did fine in ordinary Chicago water (pH 7.4) at 78F. Males do not aggressively molest females or sub-dominant males, so little damage if any occurs. Still, provide some cover for sub-dominant fish.

Feeding

In the wild, Protomelas annectens is one of the so-called "follower cichlids" which trail behind other substrate sifting cichlids, picking off food items that are stirred up in the water column. Konings notes that this fish does not exclusively utilize these leftovers and makes use of other resources as well. Whatever the case, this fish is easy to feed in the aquarium, readily accepting Tetra Cichlid Sticks, Extreme, New Life Specture and Dainichi Pellets, etc. I fed copious amounts of Repashy Spawn and Grow (Gel Food) which quickly got females into condition.

Breeding

I obtained a group of eight, adult wild Protomelas annectens from fellow GCCA member Jason Libasci and placed them in a four foot, 90-gallon tank with a light green background and a sandy substrate. The tank contained numerous caves and rockwork and was filtered by a TidePool II wet/dry filter.

As mentioned above, I fed Repashy Spawn and Grow which I have found to be a great conditioning food for large Malawians. The females soon grew fat and within three weeks of getting the fish, I had my first spawn. I allowed the female to hold for 14 days after which I stripped her of 28 large, elongated fry. 

I offered live baby brine shrimp as a first food and the babies grew steadily. At six weeks of age, they are a almost 3/4" long and eating flake food.

Protomelas annectens Female

Retail Price

Protomelas annectenshas has been seen recently on some specialty cichlid sellers website. Wild-caught fish would be $60-$80 each. F1 fry, if you could find them at 1-1.5", would be about $8 each.

Video

 

Report April 2014 by Rick Borstein

Nyassachromis prostoma "Orange Cap"

 Nyassachromis prostoma Male

Above: Nyassachromis prostoma. Photo by Rick Borstein. Video available below.

General

Nyassachromis prostoma is an mouthbrooding cichlid from Lake Malawi, Africa. It was first typed by Trewavas in 1935.

Members of the genus Nyassachromis prostoma were formerly placed in the Copadichromis genus, but Konings advises that juvenile color pattern was one reason why these fish were split into a new genus. Nyassachromis  are characterized by a rather small head and narrow body and conspicuous line on the body. Males get up to six or seven inches while females stay smaller. This is a mostly silvery fish, but males have a nice bright blue sheen to the front third of the body and over the flank. The orange cap variety can have reddish coloration on the head, but it is not always very visible. The dorsal offers some red coloration, but the anal fin is mostly nondescript with only an egg dummy or two. Females are smaller by an inch or two and are silver with a blue sheen.

Habitat

Nyassachromis prostoma is a shallow water fish usually found over sand.

Care

Nyassachromis prostoma is a not a very aggressive cichlid and presents few problems. This fish should definitely be kept over sand since bower building is a prelude to courtship. My group did great in ordinary Chicago water (pH 7.4) at 78F. 

Feeding

In the wild, Nyassachromis prostoma is an open water planktivore, but it is not difficult to feed in the aquarium. Flake food, Repashy Spawn and Grow, New Life Spectrum and Xtreme pellets were all eagerly accepted by my group of fish.

Breeding

I obtained a group of eight, adult Nyassachromis prostoma from a GCCA Rare Fish auction in 2013. The fish were a couple of inches long when I got them and I placed them in a 90-gallon tank with substrate of quartz pool filter sand. This tank had only a few rocks for landscaping and was filtered by a TidePool II wet/dry filter.

I have found Repashy Spawn and Grow to be a great conditioning food for large Malawians. When the males were about five inches long, I observed the largest individual digging pits in the sand. This large male dug a pit which was at least three inches deep and about a foot around. A couple of weeks later, I observed my first female holding. I allowed the female to hold for 14 days after which I stripped her of 22 large fry. I offered live baby brine shrimp as a first food and the babies grew steadily. 

Nyassachromis prostoma Brooding Female

Retail Price

Nyassachromis prostomahas is occasionally available on cichlid sellers website. Wild-caught fish would be $60-$80 each. Two inch juveniles go for about $8 to $12 each.

Video

 

Report June 2014 by Rick Borstein

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