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Victorian Cichlids

Ptyochromis sp. “hippo point salmon”

Ptyochromis sp. “hippo point salmon”

Ptyochromis sp. “hippo point salmon” This males is about ten months old. Photo by Rick Borstein.

General

Ptyochromis sp. “hippo point salmon” is rather new cichlid native to Lake Victoria in Africa. Males have a lovely red blush, but will also exhibit some blue and shades of green. Females are a light olive green with some dark markings on the side. Males get up to about 3.5 to 4 inches while females stay smaller at around 2 to 2.5". Like all Haplochromines, this fish is a maternal mouthbrooder.

I have seen sources which note that Ptyochromis sp. “hippo point salmon” is a threatened species. To be honest, you could easily say this about most Haplochromines in Lake Victoria. Because of the introduction of the Nile Perch, over 400 species are threatened. It's a sad fact for a cichlid hobbyist.

Like other Lake Victoria haps, they grow very quickly and will breed while quite young. I have had females spawn at only 6 months of age, but spawns are larger and more successful when females are nine months old or more.

Habitat

I haven't found much locale information for this fish on the internet. Many Victoria haps are found over the muddy and sandy areas of the lakes and I would guess that this would be similar.

Supposedly, this fish is found near Hippo Pointe, an area where a bunch of hippos are found. Hippos (the large mammal) are extremely aggressive and territorial and kill more people in African than crocodiles. You'd have to be one very brave collector to swim around with these 2 ton killers.

Care

Ptyochromis sp. “hippo point salmon” is easy to keep, but this species is pretty aggressive. It will often dominate Malawian haps. I kept eight Ptyochromis sp. “hippo point salmon” with a breeding colony of six Aulonocara marleri. Although I didn't see any fighting, the Hippo pointe male quickly took charge of the the tank even though he was quite a bit smaller than the marleri male. It's a good idea to provide caves and hiding places so that females and subdominant males have a place to retreat.

I kept mine in neutral water of medium hardness. I'm told that water conditions in Lake Victoria are highly variable, so this fish should be quite adaptable.

Feeding

Feeding Ptyochromis sp. “hippo point salmon” is not problem. They readily accept flakes, pellets, and frozen food. I fed Doromin, sprirulina flakes and Agaudine dura-flakes.

Breeding

As mentioned previously, this fish is a precocious breeder and will start breeding at only six months of age. For best results, keep one or two males to 4-6 females. Provide a flat slate for breeding. I have noticed that this fish will breed after a water change, especially if followed by a low pressure system building as part of a storm. They breed in the standard Hap fashion using the T-position.

Brood size is variable. Small females will have 9-12 fry and larger ones will approach 24 and up. Hippo Pointe females are tenacious holders. They will hold onto fry until they are nearly starved to death. For this reason, I strip the fish at 14-18 days at which point the fry will be nearly fully formed and ready to eat Cylcops-eeze and powered flake food.

The mouths on small females are easily damaged. Be careful if you strip this fish.

Ptyochromis sp. “hippo point salmon” Deformed FishI have found a tendency in this fish to have spinal defects. The defect usually occurs near the tale and can affect both males and females. You should cull these fish, immediately, when found, but the defect often does not manifest until the fish is six months old. See picture at right for an extremely deformed eleven month old male.

Retail Price

At retail, you can expect to pay $12-15 for adults and $9-12 for sub-adults. This fish is easily availble from wholesalers, so ask your pet shop to order some for you.

You rarely see Victoria Haps in stores. It's too bad because these fish are some of the most attractive of cichlids. Hippo Points have had good availability in the hobby historically.

Report October 2001 by Rick Borstein

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