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Malawi Cichlids

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.

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