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Paralabidochromis chilotes Male

Above Mature male Paralabidochromis chilotes. Photo by Sam Borstein.


Paralabidochromis chilotes FemaleParalabidochromis chilotes is a maternal mouthbrooding Victorian cichlid first typed by Boulenger in 1911. Some synonyms for this fish are Haplochromis chilotes and Paratilapia chilotes. Paralabidochromis chilotes tops out at around 5 to 5-1/2 inches and can be quite striking in appearance. Males exhibit lots of red and yellow coloration on the flanks and have red borders on the fins. Males usually have 3 to 4 orrange egg spots on the anal fin. Females are grey with a black horozontal line on their flanks. Paralabidochromis chilotes have interesting puffy lips. For some reason, we've seen more females with large lips than males. Unlike many Victorian cichlids, Paralabidochromis chilotes has a true, valid species name! Frankly, we don't miss the weird names of most Victorians such as Haplochromis species “Blue ventral Red Anal Scraper” . . .


Paralabidochromis chilotes is found in sheltered rocky, sublittoral and littoral areas of Lake Victoria in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda.


Paralabidochromis chilotes is a easy to keep. It does well in neutral to hard water at 75 to 80F. This hap should be kept in a tank of at least 40 gallons. Paralabidochromis chilotes are territorial, but not overly agressive to their own species. Note that Paralabidochromis chilotes are not hesitant to mix it up with other species so you should only keep it with other aggressive species. My dominant male  damaged his puffy lips fighting with other cichlids in the tank. This fish does not need a species tank. I kept mine in a 55-gallon tank with Melanochromis exasperatus, Pseudotropheus sp. “Flameback”, and some Geophagus Brasielensis.


Haplochromis chilotes is easy to feed. In the wild the fish mostly feed on mosquito and mayfly larvae. In the aquarium, they accept a variety of small pellets and flakes. I fed HBH Graze, New Life Spectrum, and Dainichi pellets.


Paralabidochromis chilotes is easy to breed. I obtained four of these fish from my Dad in early December and they bred a week later. Brood size ranges from 12 to 30 eggs. The female are good holders and will incubate them for about 20 days. After this time, the fry are free-swimming and fairly large at 1/4 inch long. I fed baby brine shrimp and the fry grew quickly to 1/2 inch in lenght in just over four weeks.

Note from Sam's Dad Sure they're easy, I gave you a breeding group! Unlike some Victorians which breed at an inch long, these fish were over three inches long before they bred for me.

Retail Price

$7 to $10 for juvenile fish. Paralabidochromis chilotes is not typically found in pet shops.

Report January 2005 by Sam Borstein