Labidochromis sp. “Hongi”
Aquarium fish: Labidochromis sp. “Hongi” (Labidochromis hongi)
Size: 12 cm
Water temperature: 23-28 ° C
Aquarium volume: 180 l
Labidochromis sp. “Hongi” (Labidochromis hongi) – freshwater aquarium fish from the cichlid family. It belongs to the group of herbivorous mouthbugs from the Mbuna group. To date, this species has not been scientifically described.
They are found in the eastern part of Lake Malawi, in the area of Tanzania. The most attractive populations are between Hongi Island and Lundo. They swim in small groups, near rock reefs and in a transition zone with a rocky bottom, at a depth of approx. 5-10 m.
Characteristics and disposition
In nature, the male is approx.
9 cm long, the smaller female is approx. 7 cm. In an aquarium, however, they can grow to larger sizes – 12 cm. Coloration varies depending on mood and origin. These mouthbrooders are able to change their appearance in just a few seconds.
The basic color of the body is light blue. Dorsal fin from yellow to orange in color. The dominant male is the most colorful , with a pale lilac body color and a bright orange dorsal fin. Dark vertical stripes run from the top lip to the end of the dorsal fin and may even disappear completely depending on your mood. Adult males have numerous mock eggs on the anal fin.
The femalesthey are less attractive. Their body is beige or brownish blue. The exception is the spawning period when they can be as beautiful as the males. There is a red top and a super red top form, obtained by artificial selection, with a red color on the top of the body. They are considered to be the most aggressive among the genus Labidochromis and moderately aggressive in the Mbuna group.
Territoriality increases during reproduction. There should be 3 females for each male in the aquarium. There are hierarchies among females, and you can sometimes see them catching each other with their mouths and showing their strength.
Nutrition and feeding
In the natural environment, it feeds on periphyton (algae, invertebrates). In the aquarium, they eagerly eat dry food.
Their diet should largely consist of plant foods (flakes, granules with spirulina, chopped spinach, lettuce), which should be supplemented once a week with live or frozen, e.g. artemia or bloodworm.
For a male and 3 females, it is recommended to min. 180 liter aquarium, with rock decorations and sandy or gravel ground. These fish like to dig the bottom, so plants can be placed, but only the tough ones with hard leaves that will grow attached to the decoration.
The water for these cichlids should be high-quality, slightly alkaline, with a high oxygen content. They require efficient filtration and weekly changes. In a suitably larger reservoir, they can be kept with other moderately aggressive Mbuna cichlids ( Saulosi , demasoni, maingano ) and a type of Haplochromis cichlids from Lake Victoria. However, it is best to keep them in a species aquarium.
Honga’s mouthbrood reproduction is not difficult.
The male chooses a spawning site, usually a rock grotto or a hidden nook. Then he lures the female there. During the act the fish swim around each other, the female lays eggs (15-30 pcs.), Which are fertilized by the male. The female collects the fertilized eggs in its mouth. Spawning, with possible breaks, takes several hours.
During this time, the male can chase the female and other fish present in the aquarium. Incubation in the female’s mouth lasts about 3 weeks. During this period, she does not eat or only small amounts of food, it is also recommended to separate her from other inhabitants. After hatching, the young should be fed brine shrimp larvae and micro nematodes. The fish reach sexual maturity when they are about 5-6 cm long.