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Mylochromis ericotaenia "Itungi"

Mylochromis ericotaenia Male 

Above: Mylochromis ericotaenia Photo by Rick Borstein. Video available below.


Mylochromis ericotaenia, is a large, mouthbrooding haplochromine cichlid from Lake Malawi, Africa. This fish was first typed by Regani in 1922. 

Females and juveniles are attractive with four to eight vertical stripes which may be either partial or extend completely down the flank. Males are dramatic looking fish with a large extended, almost sailfin-like dorsal. Males have a rich blue sheen and are covered with red dots throughout the flanks and the dorsal. Konings reports that large males may get a nuchal hump.

This is a large fish. Males may exceed eight inches in length while females stay a couple of inches smaller.

Mylochromis ericotaenia Female


Mylochromis ericotaenia  is found in the shallow, sandy habitat throughout Lake Malawi. 


Mylochromis ericotaenia is not overlay aggressive, but the large size of this fish dictates that a four foot or larger tank is required. Tank temperatures of 75-80F and clean, neutral to hard water are ideal.


I haven't found much research on the food items for Mylochromis ericotaenia in the lake. My guess is that they are an invertebrate sand picker and might opportunistically eat some small fish. Regardless, this fish is not difficult to feed in the aquarium. I offered Tetra Cichlid Sticks, Exreme Big Fella, Dainichi Veggie Deluxe and the occasional treat of Repashy gel food.


I obtained two adult pairs Mylochromis ericotaenia from fellow GCCA member Mike Helford. Mike is a fan of large Malawi haps and always seems to have something interesting in his tanks. Lucky me, he needed tank space!

I placed the adult fish in a 90G tank which had a sand substrate which was filtered by Marineland Tidepool II filter. The tank was decorated with several large flower pots and flat slates. In addition, I added one of my "Cichlid Condos", a glued-up stack of 2" PVC pipes. Tankmates for the fish were three, four-inch Etroplus suratensis

The tank had a well defined pecking order of dominant male, sub-dominant male, dominant female and sub-dominant female. Male Mylochromis ericotaenia will give chase to females, although they seldom do any damage. Interestingly, females will occasionally spar and lip lock, again without damage.

I have found that large, Malawi hap females often need to be brought into condition to breed. To do so, I  fed Repashy Spawn and Grow three times a week and soon both females fattened up quickly over the course of a month or so. After the conditioning period, I observed the dominant female holding. I allowed this female to hold for twelve days after which I stripped her of 46 very large fry at the heads and tails stage. I moved the fry in to a clean 2 gallon container which I maintained at 80F. Eight days hence , the fry were free-swimming and I immediately began feeding live baby brine shrimp.

The babies are very large and are voracious feeders. I was able to feed flake food on the third day free-swimming, which was a surprise to me! A few days later, I moved the babies to a 5-gallon tank for grow out. The babies are really cute with their prominent stripes. 

Retail Price

Mylochromis ericotaenia is not a fish you will find at an ordinary pet shop. On the web, you may be able to find wild caught adults for about $50-80 each. F1 fry, if you could find them, would be $5-8 each. 



Report November 2013 by Rick Borstein

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dragonkeeper replied the topic: #34465 3 years 9 months ago
Cool fish!
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scubadiver replied the topic: #34459 3 years 9 months ago

Tropheops sp. "Olive Tiger"

Tropheops sp.

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


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


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


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.


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.


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.



Report March 2014 by Rick Borstein

Protomelas annectens

Protomelas annectens Male

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


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.


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


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.


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.


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.



Report April 2014 by Rick Borstein

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