Afra cichlid

Aquarium fish: Afra cichlid (Cynotilapia afra)
Size: 10 cm
Origin: Africa
Water temperature: 25-29 ° C
Aquarium volume: 90 l

Afra cichlid (Cynotilapia afra ) – a small but quite brave and interestingly colored aquarium fish from the cichlid family.

Occurrence

Africa. Endemic species, found only in Lake Malawi. It lives in rocky areas along the shoreline of the lake. Found both in shallow and deep waters up to 40m, most often from 5 to 20m.

Characteristics and disposition

The name of the species comes from the characteristic dentition, unheard of in other Malawi cichlids. Their teeth are sharp, conical and resemble dog’s fangs . Cynotilapia literally means dog’s tooth – Dogtooth. Torpedo body usually with a blue-yellow tint. There are many colored varieties that differ in the predominance of blue or yellow, depending on where they occur in the lake.

For example, the Jalo population is blue in color with a uniformly yellow dorsal fin, and other populations may not be yellow at all. The most popular variations are: Chewere, Chinuni, Chitande, Chuanga, Likoma, Lumbila, Lundu, Lupingu, Mbenji, Metangula, Minos Reef, Msobo, Ndumbi, Njambe, Nkhata Bay, Nkolongwe There are black and blue vertical stripes running across the body and overlapping the dorsal fin and may also fade depending on your mood. Abdominal fins and anal fin edged with a blue iridescent color. Males are slightly larger than females , growing up to 10 cm, are brightly colored and have egg mockups on the anal fin. They can be confused with some species of Pseudotropheus (eg the zebra mouth).

Adult afra are a bit smaller, however, have their own characteristic dentition, and vertical stripes overlap the dorsal fin. In the wild, females swim in groups or individually in the open space. Males, on the other hand, defend their territories between rock clusters. There should be several females per male in the aquarium. In good conditions, they can live 8-12 years.

Nutrition and feeding

Omnivorous. However, the basis of the diet must be green foods such as granules or flakes with spirulina, steamed spinach, zucchini, etc. supplemented with frozen and live foods of animal origin, e.g. insect larvae, crustaceans, snails. It’s best to feed several times a day instead of one large serving.

Aquarium

Despite their small size, they require a fairly large reservoir, at least 100 cm long, with a sandy base, plenty of rock hiding places, open areas and efficient filtration. Fish love to dig through the ground. Rock decorations should be placed directly on the bottom of the aquarium. Rather, they conserve and do not eat these more hardy plants. They can tolerate medium to hard water with a pH of 8.0-8.5 and a temperature of 23-28 ° C, which must be changed at least once a week (10-20%).

Valiantly disposed and territorial fish. They are not recommended for social tanks. They show great aggression towards similar-looking species. They will not be good companionship for peaceful Aulunocar or Utaka, but they can be combined with other mouthbroods belonging to the Mbuna group.

Breeding

The spawning aquarium should have min.

120 cm long and decorated according to the directions above. The ideal water parameters are 8.0-8.5 pH and 26-28 ° C temperature. The male is aggressive in courtship, therefore it is recommended to breed in a group of 1 male and 3-6 females. Spawning takes place in hiding. The male chooses a place between the rock crevices or digs a hole under a large rock.

Then, with its behavior and intense coloration, it lures the female to this place. The encouraged female lays about 15-30 eggs there and collects them in her mouth. He also tries to collect dummy eggs from the male’s caudal fin, which in turn releases the dandelion and fertilizes the eggs. The female incubates the eggs in her mouth for about 3 weeks. This is easy to see.

During this period, she does not eat and her lips are distended. If we want as many fry as possible, we must separate them from other inhabitants. Pay special attention to this. When stressed, she often spits out the whole litter, and when separated from the group, she may lose her position in the herd, so it is worth waiting as long as possible with the move. Experienced breeders artificially take the fry from the mother’s mouth around the second week.

Self-swimming fry may initially have a yolk sac and do not require immediate feeding. In the absence of it, we immediately give the artemia larvae.

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