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Malawi Cichlids

Labidochromis caeruleus "Lundo"

Labidochromis sp. "Zebra Lundo"

Labidochromis caeruleus "Lundo" Male above. Photos by Rick Borstein.

General

Labidochromis caereuleus Lundo FemaleLabidochromis caeruleus "Lundo" a mouthbrooding mbuna from Lake Malawi, Africa. In the hobby, you will most often encounter this fish under the trade name of Labidochromis sp. "Zebra Lundo".

Indeed the common "Zebra Lundo" nomenclature confused me. After a chat with my son Sam, I was able to locate pictures of this fish in Konings' book Malawi Cichlids in their Natural Habitat, New 4th Edition. What? This is just a color morph of the incredibly popular Labidochromis caeruleus? It is!

Indeed, Labidochromis caeruleus comes in many color and striping patterns according to Konings and, as a I looked more closely at the fish, the body shape is unmistakable.

Males are reminiscent of Labidochromis chisumulae , but the underlying stripe color is black rather than blue. The dorsal fin is edged in white, while the anal and pectoral fins are edged in black. Males have two to three prominent egg spots.

Females are a tan-grey color and unremarkable like many female mbuna.

Habitat

Labidochromis caeruleus "Lundo" is likely found in and among the rocks of Lake Malawi..

Care

Labidochromis caeruleus "Lundo" presents few problems to the cichlid fancier who has kept mbuna previously. The dominant male individual will often give chase to sub-dominant individuals, so provide cover and rockwork. Like other Malawian cichlids, provide a tank temperature of 76-80F and neutral to hard water. I would suggest a 40 breeder as a minimum tank size for keeping and breeding this fish.

Feeding

Labidochromis caeruleus feeds on insects and occasionally snails in the wild. I fed balanced foods high in vegetable content such as Dainichi Veggie Deluxe pellets and HBH Graze flakes.

Breeding

I obtained seven adult Labidochromis caeruleus "Lundo" (sold as Labidochromis sp. "Zebra Lundo") at the 2010 American Cichlid Association convention held in Milwaukee, WI. I purchased the fish in the auction and paid $12 for the bag, which I considered a bargain. Unfortunately, the group was heavy on males and turned out to be five males and two females. Perhaps that is why they were so cheap!

Low on tank space, I placed them in my 300G pond for the Summer. In the pond, the fish flashed their colors frequently, although I did not see any signs of brooding females.

In October, a sudden cold spell in Chicago dropped the pond temperature down to 52F. Incredibly, these tropical cichlids were still actively swimming! I netted them out and brought them inside to house them in a 90G tank with a sand bottom.

Within a week, two females were holding. I stripped one female at twelve days post spawning of twenty "heads and tails" babies. I put the partially developed fry into a small, two-gallon bare tank to mature.

At 21 days post spawning, I stripped the second female of eighteen free-swimming fry. All the babies were able to take baby brine shrimp and a week later were eating flake food.

Interestingly, I found that the fry I stripped first were slightly larger than the ones from the female who held to term., Within a couple of weeks, however, the size difference was not noticeable.

Retail Price

Labidochromis caeruleus "Lundo" is not a common pet shop species, but if found would be in the $10-15 range..

Availability

Labidochromis caeruleus "Lundo" is, at this time, widely available from hobbyists, but almost always under the alternate name of Labidochromis sp. "Zebra Lundo".

Report December 2010 by Rick Borstein.

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