Aquarium fish: Pseudotropheus cyaneorhabdos (Melanochromis cyaneorhabdos)
Size: 10 cm
Water temperature: 24-28 ° C
Aquarium volume: 150 l
Pseudotropheus cyaneorhabdos (Melanochromis cyaneorhabdos) – aquarium fish from the cichlid family belonging to the herbivorous Mbuna group.
South East Africa . The species occurs only in a small area of Lake Malawi. It lives in the rocky parts of the coast between Cape Mbako and Mbembe, near Likoma Island, where it lives at depths of 3 to 20 meters.
Characteristics and disposition
Maingano mouthbroods are about 10 cm long.
Due to the similar coloration , the sex of the fish is very difficult to distinguish. Males can be recognized by their darker, navy blue-black lower abdomen, which is usually blue-gray in females. However, you should not be too influenced by this, as there are known cases where a fish that looks male turned out to be a female. Adult males are usually slightly larger and more intensely colored. Both males and females have single mock eggs on the anal fin.
In nature, they do not choose and defend a specific territory. In the aquarium, on the contrary – territorial and aggressive – the male looks for a place (sometimes the female) which he will fiercely defend against other males of his species. Breeders recommend keeping one male and 3-4 females. Fish like to hang out in caves and rock caves. The dominant specimen most often swims in the water column.
Nutrition and feeding
In nature, it feeds on periphyton, i.e. algae growing on rocks with invertebrates and plankton living in them. The aquarium accepts most of the foods, but the basis of the diet should be plant foods , eg granules and flakes with the addition of spirulina, chopped spinach, etc. The diet is best diversified with easily digestible animal foods, eg artemia, plankton, water.
For a harem of Malawi cichlids – one male and several females, you will need a large aquarium at least 90 cm long and with a capacity of about 150 liters.
If there are more males or we want to keep them in a multi-species aquarium, we have to choose an appropriately larger aquarium. A large number of decorations will be required, e.g. stone structures – grottos, caves – where the fish can find shelter. They feel best in a reservoir with a sandy ground and well-oxygenated water. In relation to other species, they can be aggressive and gentle, as in the case of most cichlids, everything is determined by the individual characteristics of each individual.
They should not be kept together with mild species, eg Aulonocara and other representatives of Melanochromis (they can interbreed), but they can be combined with other mouthbugs from the Mbuna group, eg Pyszczak Red Red , Pyszczak Saulosi , Pyszczak Yellow .
Breeding is relatively easy . After reaching the size of 6-7 cm, the fish are sexually mature and ready to spawn. It is best to breed them in a species aquarium in a harem consisting of one male and at least 3 females. You will need a 90-100 cm long reservoir with a sandy base and numerous hiding places, crevices and caves.
A few flat stones on which the fish can spawn should also be placed in the aquarium. The water should be alkaline, preferably in the range of 8.2-8.5 and a temperature of 27-28 ° C. Before the planned spawning, the fish should be fed with plant, live and frozen foods. The act usually takes place at night in a secluded place chosen by the male between the rocks, which is why we rarely have the opportunity to observe him. During courtship, the male can be insistent, which is why the mouthbrood is best bred in harems to spread the aggression to more fish.
When the female succumbs, she swims to the place prepared by the male and lays the eggs, which she then collects in her mouth. The confused female also tries to collect eggs (dummy) from the male’s anal fin. At this point, the milk is released and the eggs present in the female’s mouth are fertilized. The hatching takes place in the female’s mouth. The female carries about 20 eggs, but usually less than 10-15, for a period of 3-4 weeks.
She does not eat during this time. Be carefulif we want to, for example, transfer the fish to a separate tank, when it is stressed, it can spit out or eat the young. We wait as long as possible to separate the fish, unless it is disturbed by other inhabitants. Sometimes, after about 2 weeks, breeders artificially collect the fry from the female’s mouth, thanks to which they can raise larger numbers of young mouthbrooders. After giving birth, the female recovers quite quickly and is ready for the next spawning after about a month.
The young are quite large – about 1 cm long, in the first days they are cream colored with two black stripes along the body, blue flashes appear only on the fins. Within 7-10 days they become exact copies of their parents. The fry are large enough to be immediately fed with e.g. artemia.