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Chromidotilapia kingsleyae

 Chromidotilapia kingsleyae Male

Above Chromidotilapia kingsleyae Male. Photo by Mario Toromanovic. Video below.

General

Chromidotilapia kingsleyae is a Western Africa cichlid that was first described by Boulenger in 1892. Body coloration is primarily brownish, with the ventral regions more lightly coloured than the dorsal regions. This is a large fish and males can reach a maximum length of 7 inches and females can reach 5.5 inches, making it (possibly) the largest species in the genus.

Etymology: Chromis = from chroma ( Greek ) color + Thiape = African native for perch like fish, kingsleyae = dedicated to the British explorer Mary Kingsley ( 1862 – 1900 ), who collected several species of fish in the area.

Habitat

Chromidotilapia kingsleyae is found in Western and central parts of Gabon, the Ogooue River and more southern regions near Franceville. Specimens are collected in both fast and slow flowing waters. It was observed that actual body shape can very; fish from rapidly flowing water are more slender than ones from slower moving waters who are more deep-bodied. (Anton Lamboj, "The Cichlid Fishes of Western Africa".)

Care

Keeping Chromidotilapia kingsleyae does not present many problems. Because they are omnivorous sand sifters in the nature, I furnished my tank with fine sand substrate. I also put in some rocks and caves for shelter and hiding places. Water was straight Lake Michigan tap water which had pH around 7.5. I kept temperature at around 78 degrees and performed 30% weekly water change.

Feeding

In the nature Chromidotilapia kingsleyae  feeds mainly on smaller particles, like small insects and their larvae. However, small crustaceans and algae are also ingested. My tank raised specimens readily accepted prepared food, such as flakes and pellets. They loved frozen food such as daphnia, mysis and brine shrimp, and I enjoy watching them feed on live black worms, or sifting thru the sand after baby brine shrimp.

Breeding

I obtained six Chromidotilapia kingsleyae fry which fellow club member Jason Libasci turned in as a BAP ( Breeding Award Program ) submission. The fish were around one inch long and sixty days old and were direct descendants of the Chromidotilapia kingsleyae that Ted Judy collected on his collecting trip in Gaboon in 2011.                                    

I kept my new fry in ten gallon tank for a few months, then move them to twenty gallon and finally to forty gallon breeder tank, when they were just around one year old. In this tank, about two months later, I noticed a male and a female hanging out together and soon after they spawned.

Chromidotilapia kingsleyae  is an ovophilic or delayed mouthbrooder, which means that after the male fertilizes the eggs, the female picks them up and incubates them in her mouth. I was lucky to witness the whole process and capture it on video (see video below ). After spawning, the pair went their separate ways. The female incubate the eggs remaining staying solitary and hidden for about two weeks.

I usually like to have the parents rear their fry and even leave fry with parents as long as possible. In this case, I stripped the female after fifteen days because I was worred that she wouldn't be able to defend her fry after release. At the point that I stripped the fry, they were fully developed and free swimming, and ready to accept newly hatched baby brine shrimps as their first food. 

Retail Price

Chromidotilapia kingsleyae is not a fish you would find at your local pet shop. Fortunateyly, many cichlid hobbyists like and keep this fish. Your best bet would be to place wanted ad in the GCCA Classified, or look for it via the internet. If you could find it, I would expect juvenile fish to go for  $10-15 range.

Chromidotilapia kingsleyae Female

Video

Report February 2015 by Mario Toromanovic

Laetacara araguaiae

Laetacara araguaiae Male

Above Laetacara araguaiae Male. Photo by Rick Borstein. Video below.

General

Laetacara araguaiae is a rather recently introduced biparental substrate-spawning cichlid typed by Ottoni & Costa in 2009. Prior to the official species designation, this fish was known by its popular German name of L. sp. ‘Buckelkopf’ which can be translated as humphead. I've never seen a male of the species with a humphead but perhaps very old specimens might have them.

The derivation of the species name makes sense to me, however. The genus name Laetecara roughly means "smiling cichlid" for the distinctive mouth markings. The species designation is for Rio Araguaie in Brazil which is the type locality of the fish. 

At any rate, Laetacara araguaiae is nice little fish that is not too difficult to breed. In breeding color, both male and female show a blue-purple sheen with gold metallic highlights. There appear to be multiple strains in the hobby with some exhibiting more gold color, so the fish you obtain may not look exactly like mine.

Laetacara araguaiae Female

Habitat

Laetacara araguaiae is a found in the Brazilian rivers of Tapajós, Xingu and Tocantins, but my guess is that this fish would be found in shallower water near cover.

Care

Laetacara araguaiae is easy to care for and house. They do fine in varying water conditions and being a dwarf cichlid, you don't need a very big tank. A ten gallon or larger tank is recommended at water temperatures of 76 to 82F.

Feeding

Laetacara araguaiae is easy to feed. I feed a variety of flake and pellet foods with the occasional treat of frozen black worms.

Breeding

I obtained six one-inch juvenile fish from fellow GCCA Member Mario Toromanovic. He was among the first people in the US to breed and distribute the fish. Early demand for this little cichlid resulted in initial high prices. Fortunately, Mario is a "cichlid buddy" so they arrived to me gratis!

I placed the young fish fifteen gallon long tank filtered by a five-inch Swiss Tropical Sponge Filter. This tank had a sand substrate, rocks and caves and was maintained at 78F. I performed weekly water changes of approximately one-third of the tank volume and the fish grew steadily.

When the female approached just under two inches, I saw the first signs of breeding activity. A pair formed and aggressively excluded the other fish from their territory. In fact, the sub-dominant individuals weren't just hiding, they were being exterminated. I'll note here that the behavior of my fish may be an aberration since other GCCA members bred siblings of my fish without any losses in smaller tanks.

Soon, I noticed that the female changed color (purple form shown in the pictures accompanying this article) and stayed close to a terracotta cave while the male patrolled nearby indicating that the fish had spawned. Within a couple of days, I saw the wrigglers and a couple of days after that the free-swimming fry. I fed the babies newly hatched baby brine shrimp and after two weeks weaned them to finely crushed flake food. I left the babies in with the parents until they were one-quarter inch long. Unfortunately, upon my return from a two day business trip, all the babies were gone.

I was relieved when the pair spawned again two weeks later. This time, when the fry were almost a quarter of an inch long, I removed the parents who I gave to another GCCA member.

The fry grow rather slowly and get to about one-half inch after eight weeks.

Retail Price

Laetacara araguaiae is not a fish you are likely to find at a pet shop unless the specialize in cichlids or have connections with local breeders. Currently, you can find it available from breeders on the internet. 1.5 inch fish to go for $10-12.

Video

Report October 2014 by Rick Borstein

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