Malawi eyebiter

Aquarium fish: Malawi eyebiter (Dimidiochromis compressiceps)
Size: 25 cm
Origin: Africa
Water temperature: 23-28 ° C
Aquarium volume: 250 l

Malawi eyebiter (Dimidiochromis compressiceps ) – large, predatory aquarium fish belonging to the group of cichlids of the cichlid family. 

Occurrence

Africa . The species is endemic only in Lake Malawi. Found in shallow waters with a sandy bottom near clusters of Vallisneria plants.

Characteristics and disposition

They are approx. 25 cm long.

Females are slightly smaller. Their silvery white body is narrow and laterally flattened. There is a dark stripe in the middle from the mouth to the base of the tail. A mature male stains a beautiful metallic blue color with red and orange tinges on the fins and fake eggs on the anal fin. The head is large, up to 1/3 of the body length, with large lips and long jaws.

Body structure and camouflage are adapted to their predatory nature. These fish set ambushes. They wait tilted head down among the vegetation for smaller fish to pass by. Despite the colloquial name “Eye-Biter,” they don’t particularly focus on the victim’s eyes. Mostly , they swallow the fish whole, starting with the tail – the only predatory fish known to do it this way.

Apparently, in nature, they can attack the victim’s eyes, but no such behavior has been observed in aquariums. They live 7-10 years under appropriate conditions.

Nutrition and feeding

A predator by nature. In the aquarium, he eats dry, frozen and live food, eg cyclops, mysis, krill, small fish.

Aquarium

A group of young fish can be kept in a 250 l aquarium, adults require a minimum of 500 l .

It is recommended to keep one male with 3-6 females. Males are very aggressive towards each other, often attacking and killing competitors. A sandy soil, stone hiding places and Vallisneria vegetation will be needed to map the natural habitat – they are not prone to excavation. Adding coral aggregate to the sand will help maintain a sufficiently high pH value They require efficient filtration and high water movement. The optimal water parameters for this species are around pH 8, 6 – 10 dGH and temperature between 23 and 28 ° C.

They can also tolerate a slight salinity, but below 1,0002 g / cm3. They cannot be combined with fish smaller than about 13 cm, which will be used as food. Outside of the spawning period, they are not aggressive towards other larger fish.

Breeding

The reproduction of the sandbilled mouthbrood is quite difficult. The spawning tank should be at least 150 cm long.

Decorated as described above with the addition of a few large, flat stones that can be used as a spawning area. The optimum properties of water are 8.0-8.5 pH and 26-27 ° C temperature. It is recommended to breed in a group of one male with 3-6 females as males are very aggressive during spawning. The male chooses a spawning site, most often it is a flat stone or a previously dug pit in the ground. Then, with his behavior and intense coloration, he tries to lure the females.

Encouraged, she swims up and lays eggs in a row, and then collects them immediately in her mouth. He also tries to collect dummy eggs from the male’s anal fin. It is at this point that the male releases the dandelion and fertilizes the spawn. An adult female during spawning can lay up to 250 eggs (usually 40-100). The female incubates the eggs in the mouth for 3 weeks.

This is easy to see. During this period, she does not eat, her lips are distended and her colors darken. If we want to raise the fry, we must separate them from the rest of the inhabitants. You should be careful and wait as long as possible, because when stressed, she often spits out the litter. After leaving the mother’s mouth, the fry are large enough to receive brine shrimp larvae.

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