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Malawi Cichlids

Scianochromis fryeri

Scianochromis fryeri Male

Above Scianochromis fryeri . Photo of male in breeding color by Rick Borstein.

General

Scianochromis fryeri FemaleScianochromis fryeri is a spectacular Malawi Hap. This fish is a mainstay in the hobby because it is readily available, easy to care for, and is striking in color. This fish comes in a variety of location variants with the most popular being the Marleri Island, also known as the Iceberg Freyeri or the Ice Blue Hap.

Male Scianochromis fryeri are a beautiful light shiny blue. Depending on location variants the fish may have a blaze and some color in the fins. Faint bars are occasionally seen. Females are gray with a little blue sheen (see below right, photo by Sam Borstein). Males will top out at 7 inches while females will stay around the 5 inch range. The fish start to color at about 2 inches, and will show close to full color at around 3-3.5 inches.

This fish is different than Scianochromis ahli, and commonly confused. Many Scianochromis fryeri are sold as Scianochromis ahli or Hap Ahlis when Haplochromis ahli were sporadically imported into America. True Scianochromis ahli have almost no color, and have much larger eyes, and a point at the bottom of their lower jaw. They also have many more individual egg spots on their anal fin than Scianochromis fryeri.

Habitat

Electric Blues are found at many locations throughout Lake Malawi. All these locations contain rocks.

Care

Electric Blues are a docile fish. They will not harm any other species of tank mate. The only time I ever witnessed aggression was during spawning, and it is minimal then. Electric Blues are best kept in trios or quads with only one male, and multiple females. A young trio or quad (3-4 inches), can easily be put in a 40 breeder and an older trio or quad in a 75-125 gallon tank.

Feeding

Electric Blues are carnivores in the wild, but will accept almost anything in aquaria. I fed HBH Soft & Moist Veggie, and Dainichi Veggie Deluxe.

Breeding

Electric Blues are no challenge to breed. Males will have more intense colors when spawning. The male will take over a breeding territory, and then display to a female. The female will lay an egg, pick it up, and it will be fertilized in her mouth.

Electric Blues are good holders. At 20-24 days the fry are almost completely developed, and just about free swimming. I recommend stripping the fish at this time. Fry are large and numerous. One of my spawns contained 65 fry. It is good to start them off on baby brine, but if over fed, the babies may overeat and "pop". As soon as they are able to take flake, I recommend switching them over. Fry grow at a good pace.

Retail Price

Non-colored juvenile fish go for $8 to $12 at the 1.5" size. Fully-colored males can be expensive— about $25 to $45 dollars. Scianochromis fryeri are readily available. If your local pet store doesn't have them, ask them to order them for you.

Report April 2007 by Sam Borstein.

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