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144188195215245280

Perunthalaivar Vazhai Farmers Producer Company Limited

Thoothukudi, Tamil Nadu

| GST  33AAJCP1041Q1Z9

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Pioneers in the industry, we offer Apistogramma Cacatuoides, Gymnogeophagus Balzanii, Heros Efasciatus, Heros Efasciatus(Turquoise), Amphilophus Festae and Astronotus Ocellatus from India.

Apistogramma Cacatuoides

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When I first started keeping Apistos (South American Dwarf Cichlid of the genus Apistogramma), I didn’t know anything about them. When I managed to get a hold of some, I used to throw them in a tank with some water and wait around for something to happen. Needless to say, nothing ever did. I went through a lot of fish in those days. I wasn’t killing them in great numbers, but I wasn’t producing any either. I had a pair of A. nijsseni that would spawn on a regular basis, once every 10 days or so but I never saw any free-swimming fry throughout the whole time I had them.

I decided that I needed to know a little bit more about these fish, so I started bugging people on the telephone, and reading everything I could about these fish and the water conditions they lived in. Eventually, I learned enough to spawn them. I also found that some of what I had learned was adequate, but not good enough.

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Gymnogeophagus Balzanii

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These fish originally come from Paraguay; Rio Parana. Their natural water conditions are 72-79 F. neutral, medium-hard water, pH around 7.0, 8-13 dGH at a temperature between 78-82 F. This fish can get to eight inches in total length in the wild. (My male was only five inches in total length.) This species was discovered in 1972 by Heiko Bleher, from Frankfurt, West Germany and Thomas Horeman, London, England. The fish seen in the hobby are captive-bred and wild caught specimens are rare.

I was walking through Capitol Aquarium, located in Sacramento, CA., one gorgeous summer day in 1995 when I looked into a tank containing seven four inch fish. What caught my eye was their body shape and markings. They were not stream lined like most fish. They were not shaped like an angelfish. They were definitely a different shape than any fish I had ever encountered in all my years of fish keeping. The males had a huge clear liquid filled 'hump' on their forehead that started at the top of the head at the beginning of the dorsal fin and continued down to the upper lip. The shape of this 'hump' gave them a very square and large looking head. They also shimmered with dazzling iridescent colored speckles on their sides ranging from green to blue. These beautiful speckles could also be seen in their ventral and anal fins. The male had a long extension on his dorsal fin as seen in most cichlid species. Both sexes had the vertical bars. The females were a bit smaller than the males, approximately two and a half to three inches, and had no 'hump' on her head.

The female does not have this beautiful coloring. There was a couple in one corner shaking at each other and the male was flaring all his fins at the female. From past experience with cichlids these two probably had become a mated pair. I bought them.

 

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Heros Efasciatus

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The Gold Severum, also known as the Banded Cichlid, is a color variation of Heros severus Severum. Severum have an iridescent sheen to their scales and off-white to gold background color. The Gold Severum is a trusting fish, and will often accept food directly from their owner's hand.

The Gold Severum requires a 30 gallon or larger tank that is at least 40 inches long and 20 inches tall. The larger the tank the better. They prefer a lightly-planted tank with a soft bottom and a few rooted plants. Adding a few large rocks would be appropriate as long as there is still plenty of open room for swimming. The Gold Severum can be aggressive when spawning, and for this reason should only be housed with other semi-aggressive fish.

Differentiating between the male and female is very difficult. Positive identification can only be made after close examination of the genital papillae. The Gold Severum does not pair as readily as other South American Cichlids, and may take a bit longer. Providing the male with a choice of females will help. An open breeder, the female can lay as many as 1,000 eggs on rocks. The water should be mildly acidic, soft with a pH of 6.0-6.5 and a hardness of dH 5. The temperature should range from 77-82°F. The Gold Severum carefully tends to its fry.

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The Green Severum, also known as the Banded Cichlid, is a color variation of Heros severus Severum. Severum have an iridescent sheen to their scales and off-white to green background color. Black spots travel along the lower body, starting behind the pectoral fin and a black band reaches across the caudal end of the body. The Green Severum is a trusting fish, and will often accept food directly from their owner's hand.

The Green Severum requires a 30 gallon or larger tank that is at least 40 inches long and 20 inches tall. The larger the tank the better. They prefer a lightly-planted tank with a soft bottom and a few rooted plants. Adding a few large rocks would be appropriate as long as there is still plenty of open room for swimming and the water is not affected. Severum can be aggressive when spawning, and for this reason should only be housed with other semi-aggressive fish.

Differentiating between the male and female is very difficult. Positive identification can only be made after close examination of the genital papillae. The males normally have pointed fins and reddish-brown spots and "worm-like" markings on their heads. Females usually have a dark patch on the dorsal fin. The Green Severum does not pair as readily as other South American Cichlids, and may take a bit longer. Providing the male with a choice of females will help. An open breeder, the female can lay as many as 1,000 eggs on rocks. The water should be mildly acidic, soft with a pH of 6.0-6.5 and a hardness of dH 5. The temperature should range from 77-82°F. The Green Severum carefully tends to its fry.

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Amphilophus Festae

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The Red Terror is a beautifully marked cichlid. Its body is a redish white with many electric blue spots on the chin area. The males of this species have a longer tail fin, which is outlined in red. .

The Red Terror requires an aquarium of at least 50 gallons, with a sandy bottom, and rock work that will provide plenty of hiding spots. Live plants should be planted in pots to protect the roots from these fish. The Red Terror is generally peaceful with other fish of similar size, but can get more territorial as it matures.

The Red Terror is an open-breeder and will accept a range of water conditions. The Red Terror readily pairs and the female will take the bigger role in raising the fry. The female will lay the eggs on a cleaned, flat rock. They will spawn about every two weeks if the young are removed from the aquarium.

The Red Terror is omnivorous and will eat most prepared and frozen foods, including freeze-dried bloodworms, tubifex, and ocean plankton, as well as flake food and Cichlid pellets.

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Astronotus Ocellatus

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The Albino Tiger Oscar is a color variation of Astronotus ocellatus Oscar. It is also known as the Marble Cichlid or the Velvet Cichlid and is a colorful addition to a large aquarium. The Albino Tiger Oscar has a blue-black background with an orange-red pattern. The dorsal fin has an eyespot that is very brightly colored. They will form a pair, make a nuclear family and are generally peaceful in nature. It is hard to tell the difference between the male and females, but during spawning the female has obvious genital papilla.

The Albino Tiger Oscar requires a large aquarium of at least 70 gallons with a deep sand bottom and a few large rocks. They will dig up plants; so any that are in the tank should be potted with the root surfaces covered with rocks. Using floating plants is a good compromise to this problem. Tiny Oscars form a tight cluster for protection and this is normal behavior for juvenile fish. Large Oscars are not as territorial as most other cichlids when full grown but will consume anything they can fit into their mouths.

A large tank should be used for breeding, as much as 100 gallons if possible. The Albino Tiger Oscar will spawn in soft or hard water as long as it is clean and clear and has a temperature between 79-86°F. The female will lay from 1,000-2,000 eggs on rocks that have been carefully cleaned. The eggs are opaque at first, turning transparent in 24 hours. The brood will be carefully guarded and cared for and the fry will be kept in pits and may even be covered. When they are free-swimming, the fry should be fed Cyclops. Sometimes the fry will cling to their parents.

 

The Albino Tiger Oscar is a carnivore that is a predaceous and hearty eater. Oscars will eat a variety of meaty foods, including small fish and earthworms, Cichlid pellets, larger flake food, ocean plankton, bloodworms, and tubifex worms.

 

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Astronotus Ocellatus

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The Black Tiger Oscar is a color variation of Astronotus ocellatus Oscar. It is also known as the Marble Cichlid or the Velvet Cichlid and is a colorful addition to a large aquarium. The Black Tiger Oscar has a blue-black background with an orange-red pattern. The dorsal fin has an eyespot that is very brightly colored. They will form a pair, make a nuclear family and are generally peaceful in nature. It is hard to tell the difference between the male and females, but during spawning the female has obvious genital papilla.

The Black Tiger Oscar requires a large aquarium of at least 70 gallons with a deep sand bottom and a few large rocks. They will dig up plants; so any that are in the tank should be potted with the root surfaces covered with rocks. Using floating plants is a good compromise to this problem. Tiny Oscars form a tight cluster for protection and this is normal behavior for juvenile fish. Large Oscars are not as territorial as most other cichlids when full grown but will consume anything they can fit into their mouths.

A large tank should be used for breeding, as much as 100 gallons if possible. The Black Tiger Oscar will spawn in soft or hard water as long as it is clean and clear and has a temperature between 79-86°F. The female will lay from 1,000-2,000 eggs on rocks that have been carefully cleaned. The eggs are opaque at first, turning transparent in 24 hours. The brood will be carefully guarded and cared for and the fry will be kept in pits and may even be covered. When they are free-swimming, the fry should be fed Cyclops. Sometimes the fry will cling to their parents.

 

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Astronotus Ocellatus

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The Veiltail Black Tiger Oscar is a color variation of Astronotus ocellatus Oscar. It is also known as the Marble Cichlid or the Velvet Cichlid and is a colorful addition to a large aquarium. The Veiltail Black Tiger Oscar has a blue-black background with an orange-red pattern. The dorsal fin has an eyespot that is very brightly colored. They will form a pair, make a nuclear family and are generally peaceful in nature. It is hard to tell the difference between the male and females, but during spawning the female has obvious genital papilla.

The Veiltail Black Tiger Oscar requires a large aquarium of at least 70 gallons with a deep sand bottom and a few large rocks. They will dig up plants; so any that are in the tank should be potted with the root surfaces covered with rocks. Using floating plants is a good compromise to this problem. Tiny Oscars form a tight cluster for protection and this is normal behavior for juvenile fish. Large Oscars are not as territorial as most other cichlids when full grown but will consume anything they can fit into their mouths.

A large tank should be used for breeding, as much as 100 gallons if possible. The Veiltail Black Tiger Oscar will spawn in soft or hard water as long as it is clean and clear and has a temperature between 79-86°F. The female will lay from 1,000-2,000 eggs on rocks that have been carefully cleaned. The eggs are opaque at first, turning transparent in 24 hours. The brood will be carefully guarded and cared for and the fry will be kept in pits and may even be covered. When they are free-swimming, the fry should be fed Cyclops. Sometimes the fry will cling to their parents.

 

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Astronotus Ocellatus

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The Albino Fire Red Oscar is a color variation of Astronotus ocellatus Oscar. It is also known as the Marble Cichlid or the Velvet Cichlid and is a colorful addition to a large aquarium. The Albino Fire Red Oscar has a blue-black background with an orange-red pattern. The dorsal fin has an eyespot that is very brightly colored. They will form a pair, make a nuclear family and are generally peaceful in nature. It is hard to tell the difference between the male and females, but during spawning the female has obvious genital papilla.

The Albino Fire Red Oscar requires a large aquarium of at least 70 gallons with a deep sand bottom and a few large rocks. They will dig up plants; so any that are in the tank should be potted with the root surfaces covered with rocks. Using floating plants is a good compromise to this problem. Tiny Oscars form a tight cluster for protection and this is normal behavior for juvenile fish. Large Oscars are not as territorial as most other cichlids when full grown but will consume anything they can fit into their mouths.

A large tank should be used for breeding, as much as 100 gallons if possible. The Albino Fire Red Oscar will spawn in soft or hard water as long as it is clean and clear and has a temperature between 79-86°F. The female will lay from 1,000-2,000 eggs on rocks that have been carefully cleaned. The eggs are opaque at first, turning transparent in 24 hours. The brood will be carefully guarded and cared for and the fry will be kept in pits and may even be covered. When they are free-swimming, the fry should be fed Cyclops. Sometimes the fry will cling to their parents.

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The Zebra Convict Cichlid is a beautifully marked cichlid. Sometimes called Zebra Cichlid or Convict Cichlid, this fish has a pattern of black stripes on a grayish background and a greenish tint on the fins. The female has orange scales on her lower body and dorsal fins and the male is larger, less colorful, has a steeper forehead and longer fins. As it ages, the male will acquire a fatty lump on the forehead. A stunning addition to any aquarium, they are not recommended for the community tank due to their aggressive tendencies.

The Zebra Convict Cichlid requires a 30 gallon minimum tank, with a gravel bottom, rocks and plenty of hiding places among the rocks or some inverted pots. Floating plants are recommended as a form of cover. Because of their aggressive nature, Black Convict Cichlids should only be housed with other more aggressive fish of the same size or larger.

The Zebra Convict Cichlid is a cave-breeder and will accept a range of water conditions. To promote breeding, increase the water temperature between 75-79°F. Some females will spawn between a cave and an open area. The Black Convict Cichlid readily pairs and forms a patriarch/matriarch family and both the male and female will care for the young. The fry will respond to signals from both the male and the female.

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The Pink Convict Cichlid is a pseudo-albino of the Archocentrus nigrofasciatus Convict Cichlid. Sometimes called Zebra Cichlid or Convict Cichlid, this fish is monotone in color, with the female having an orange patch on her stomach. The male is larger, monotone, has a steeper forehead and longer fins. As it ages, the male will acquire a fatty lump on the forehead. A striking addition to any aquarium, they are not recommended for the community tank due to their aggressive tendencies.

The Pink Convict Cichlid requires a minimum tank of 30 gallons with a gravel bottom, rocks and plenty of hiding places among the rocks or some inverted pots. Floating plants are recommended as a form of cover. Because of their aggressive nature, Pink Convict Cichlids should only be housed with other more aggressive fish of the same size or larger.

The Pink Convict Cichlid is a cave-breeder and will accept a range of water conditions. To promote breeding increase the water temperature to between 75-79°F. Some females will spawn between a cave and an open area. The Pink Convict Cichlid readily pairs and forms a patriarch/matriarch family and both the male and female will care for the young. The fry will respond to signals from both the male and the female.

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'Cichlasoma' Salvini

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The Salvini Cichlid, also known as the Tricolor Cichlid and the Yellow Belly Cichlid, is a brightly colored cichlid from the lakes and rivers of southern Mexico and northern Central America. They have a bright yellow body with two blotchy dark lines running from the eyes to the caudal fin and turquoise-blue dots scattered over the body. The fins are long and have a turquoise-blue sheen to them. A bright red coloring is seen in the anal fins and on the body behind the pectoral fin, as well as edging the caudal fin. The head has approximately four horizontal stripes running along the forehead.

Salvini Cichlids require a tank of at least 50 gallons with a fine gravel or sand bottom. It does not burrow or destroy plants, which are recommended to use as territories. The Salvini Cichlid should be provided with numerous rocks and roots for use as hiding places. Plenty of room should be left for open swimming. They may be housed with smaller fish that are also more aggressive, but be aware, they are territorial and will bite others.

The males have pointed fins which is one way to distinguish between the sexes. Salvini Cichlids make excellent parents, and both the male and female share in the rearing of the fry. After carefully cleaning the rocks in the tank, the female will deposit up to 500 eggs.

 

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Herichthys Cyanoguttatus

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The Texas Cichlid, also known as the Rio Grande Perch and the Rio Grande Cichlid, is an iridescent golden color with pearl highlights and white dots on its body and fins. There are several small black spots at the base of the caudal fin and along the middle, rear half of the body. The juveniles have an iridescent pearl-gray body with white dots on the body and fins. There is a black dot at the base of the caudal fin and one in the center of the body. They are also leaner in size.

The Texas Cichlid requires a tank of at least 50 gallons, with a fine sand bottom. There should be rocks and roots for them to hide among. The plants should be hardy as the Texas Cichlid will burrow around and attack them. The Texas Cichlid uses floating plants as a cover. The tank should be divided into territories using hardy plants, if possible. The Texas Cichlid is sensitive to old water and requires frequent changes of 1/4-1/2 of the water weekly. They are territorial and somewhat waspish, so care should be taken when choosing tank mates. Choose other more aggressive fish to share an aquarium with the Texas Cichlid.

It is difficult to distinguish between the male and female Texas Cichlid. The females are less brightly colored and usually smaller then the males. Older males will develop a cranial bump typical in some cichlids. Neutral water with soft to medium hardness, a pH of approximately 7.0, and temperatures of 77-82°F is recommended. Texas Cichlids are open breeders that need well-oxygenated water. They spawn on cleaned rocks, laying up to 500 eggs. The fry are suspended from stones and guarded by both parents. The Texas Cichlid is not as diligent a parent as some cichlids and may eat their spawn.

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Thorichthys Meeki

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The Firemouth Cichlid is a beautiful cichlid that is somewhat territorial, especially during spawning. Their background color is a pearlescent turquoise-blue with red edging the scales. The throat and breast are red in color, ranging from a brick shade to a fiery red. There is a series of black marks running along the body, starting behind the eye, extending to the base of the caudal fin. The membranes of the fins have turquoise spots and the dorsal fin is edged in red. The pelvic and anal fins are edged in black. They form pairs, make a nuclear family and are excellent parents.

The Firemouth Cichlid requires a tank of a minimum of 30 gallons, with a fine sand bottom for burrowing and plenty of open swimming room. Plants should be hardy, like Sagittaria, and potted with their root surfaces protected. There should also be rocks available, as they like to hide among the rocks and roots. They do get territorial during spawning and will harass smaller tank mates of their own species, so keeping fish that are similar in size is recommended. When attempting to threaten members of their same species, the Firemouth Cichlid will inflate a throat sac and extend its gill covers in an aggressive stance.

The females are less brightly colored than the males and have a blunt genital papilla. The male also has sharply pointed dorsal and anal fins. Firemouth Cichlids make excellent parents, and both the male and female share in the rearing of the fry. After carefully cleaning the rocks in the tank, the female will deposit 100-500 eggs on them. The fry are protected in pits at the floor of the tank and moved several times. The fry may be fed newly hatched brine shrimp and finely crushed flakes. The Firemouth Cichlid parents may raise several broods in a year.

 

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Archocentrus SP.

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Archocentrus sp. "Honduran Red Point" was first introduced in 2002 by cichlid collector Rusty Wessel after a trip to Honduras. This fish is also sold as Archocentrus sp. "Honduran Blue", and Archocentrus sp. "Honduran Red Point Blue". From what we know, they are all the same fish.

Both males and females sport similar coloration— a pattern of vertical bars/blotches with metalic green-blue coloration along the face and bottom of the fish. Depending on the mood of the fish, the coloration extends into the fins. Males are a bit bigger than females and are not quite as colorful. We have read reports that females get red or gold on the belly, but haven't seen it personally. Juveniles do not have the metallic coloration mentioned previously.

When first brought into the U.S., many cichlid hobbyists assumed this fish was a color variant of the familiar Convict Cichlid, a long-time staple in the cichlid hobby.

Archocentrus sp. "Honduran Red Point" was collected in a stream in Honduras. That's all we know…

Archocentrus sp. "Honduran Red Point" is easy to keep. We did weekly partial water changes equal to fifty percent of the tank volume.

This somewhat shy fish does best when provided with rockworks and caves.

Stomach content analysis— to our knowledge— has not been done on wild fish. Our guess is that they are omnivorous and consume a variety of insects and other matter. In the aquarium, they accept a variety of foods such as Tetra Cichlid Flakes, New Life Spectrum, and HBH Graze.

I obtained five juvenlie Archocentrus sp. "Honduran Red Point" from fellow hobbyist Eric Hanneman at the 2004 Cichlid Classic. Eric received his fish from Rusty Wessel. They were already a few generations from wild, but were still relatively rare in the hobby at that point.

I placed the fish fish in a 20-gallon high tank furnished with fine gravel, slates, caves and other rockwork. The fish were quite shy at first and rarely came out from their hiding places.

At just over two inches in size, I noticed a female with a swollen belly. Another fish— the male— was keeping close by the female. Shortly thereafter, both fish drove the rest of the fish to the upper corners of the tank clearly establishing a territory. The next day, we noticed two changes which indicated that spawning was imminent.

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The Frontosa African Cichlid is a fairly typical member of the Cichlidae family. Both sexes are characterized by a large frontal hump which will develop as the fish reaches maturity, or attains a length of around 4 inches. It is known by the scientific name of Cyphotilapia frontosa, but may also be known as Paratilapia frontosa, and Pelmatochromis frontosus. Originating from the deep waters of Lake Tanganyika, Africa, wild-caught specimens are not seen as often as captive-bred specimens in the hobbyist's aquarium. In their native Africa, Frontosa African Cichlids are considered a delicacy on the table.

Although territorial, the Frontosa African Cichlid is generally not aggressive, but rather gentle and tolerant. It does well in a tank with plenty of rocks and caves for hiding and a sandy bottom. Plants are incidental but may be helpful for other tank mates.

A mouth brooder, eggs are laid in a rocky crevasse or cave and then scooped up by the female where she carries them for 21 to 28 days. Once released, she will take them back into her mouth at night or if danger is present. Most members of the mouth brooding variety of African Cichlids are easily bred while in the aquarium if given the proper tank set-up and excellent water conditions. A small group of 5 to 7 females and one male will provide the best opportunities for breeding.

 

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Julidochromis Ornatus

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The Julidochromis Ornatus Cichlid is a tank-raised species which originates from the rocky shorelines of Lake Tanganyika, Africa. They have an elongated body with alternating white and black spots and stripes. Other than the yellow pectoral fins, their fins are outlined in both black, and a semitransparent electric blue color which adds to the appeal of these fish.

The Julidochromis Ornatus Cichlid is ideally kept in a 30-gallon or larger aquarium decorated with plenty of rocks and caves in order to provide adequate hiding places for these territorial fish. They prefer hard water with an alkalinity of 10 to 20 dKH and a pH of 8.0 to 9.0. In order to maintain these conditions, it is best to provide a substrate consisting of aragonite. The aragonite substrate can be mixed with darker gravel to reduce glare from the lighting.

Julidochromis Ornatus Cichlids are relatively easy to breed. It is best to incorporate 6 or 8 of this species in the aquarium to allow them to pair off. They will begin to pair once they have reached the age of about 1 year. They are a cave spawning species, and will disappear for a few days in which time they lay their eggs upon the side or ceiling of the cave. Feed the fry baby brine shrimp and finely ground flake food.

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Stunning Regular Brichardi Cichlid adds a mystical touch to your aquarium. Brichardi Cichlids are known as Fairy Cichlids and this albino variety lives up to that designation. It boasts elongated tail and dorsal fins and an elegant brown/red dot color that provides unparalleled contrast to the hardy plants or rockwork of most cichlid aquariums.

Native to the rocky shorelines of Lake Tanganyika in Africa, this fish thrives in aquariums with multiple rock formations and hiding coves. Though not as active as other cichlids, the Brichardi will dig in substrates and uproot plants. Therefore, care needs to be taken to ensure success of your aquatic plants. Since they are diggers, choose a soft sand or fine gravel substrate.

Interestingly, Brichardi Cichlids are the only known substrate-spawning cichlid that also schools. In the wild, multiple cichlid pairs will rear fry in a collective nursery. In the home aquarium, successful breeding requires strict water parameters of moderately alkaline, medium-hard water. Pairs of breeding fish form nuclear families.

Though more peaceful than other members of the Cichlidae family, Brichardi Cichlids will become territorial during mating. It is difficult to distinguish male from female on sight alone, however. Usually, the dorsal fin and tip of the caudal fin are slightly longer in males.

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Stunning Albino Brichardi Cichlid adds a mystical touch to your aquarium. Brichardi Cichlids are known as Fairy Cichlids and this albino variety lives up to that designation. It boasts elongated tail and dorsal fins and an elegant pink/white color that provides unparalleled contrast to the hardy plants or rockwork of most cichlid aquariums.

Native to the rocky shorelines of Lake Tanganyika in Africa, this fish thrives in aquariums with multiple rock formations and hiding coves. Though not as active as other cichlids, the Brichardi will dig in substrates and uproot plants. Therefore, care needs to be taken to ensure success of your aquatic plants. Since they are diggers, choose a soft sand or fine gravel substrate.

Interestingly, Brichardi Cichlids are the only known substrate-spawning cichlid that also schools. In the wild, multiple cichlid pairs will rear fry in a collective nursery. In the home aquarium, successful breeding requires strict water parameters of moderately alkaline, medium-hard water. Pairs of breeding fish form nuclear families.

Though more peaceful than other members of the Cichlidae family, Brichardi Cichlids will become territorial during mating. It is difficult to distinguish male from female on sight alone, however. Usually, the dorsal fin and tip of the caudal fin are slightly longer in males.

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Copadichromis borleyi is quite common in the hobby, perhaps due in part to the several variants that have been collected and exported. While the pictures featured here are unique to the "Red Fin" variant from Kadango, C. borleyi "Red Fin" is also collected from Tawain Reef, Mbenji Island, Nkhungu Reef, and Ntekete. Each locale has a strain that has slight, yet noticeable characteristics. Another popular variant of this species is Copadichromis borleyi "Gold Fin", differing in that the male has a yellow body instead of the orange. C. borleyi is also distinguished by its long ventral fins. Some variants have much longer ventral fins than others, with the longer ones tending to extend the whole length of their body when tucked.

Only males are brightly colored, while females are black-bodied with orangish-red fins. C. borleyi is one of the largest of the Utaka species. Males attain sizes of six to seven inches in length, while females are just slightly smaller. Females of this variant seem to differ the most in appearance from locale to locale. Some females are very black while others are more silver.

Currently, I have four wild-caught females and one wild-caught male. When they arrived, they were all very dark, lacking any color. In fact, other than the shape of their fins, the male could not be readily distinguished from the females.

Within about a week, however, the male began to lighten up and his blue and ornage color returned. And after about three weeks, he spawned three times. These five fish (1m, 4fm) are usually seen schooling together. The male is very gentle with his females, and rarely displays any aggression towards them or any other tankmates, except during breeding when he will defend his territory against intruders. This aggression is more show than anything else. His claimed territory at the time of spawning did not appear fixed, but instead, he chose a new location each time, however he always seems to pick an area next to a rock.

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Cyrtocara Moorii Fish

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Cyrtocara moorii is a beautiful, mild-tempered fish that is a delight to keep. It is commonly known in the hobby as the Malawi Blue Dolphin, and was once classified as Haplochromis moorii. Now it is the only species belonging to the genus Cyrtocara. The nickname Blue Dolphin originates from the shape of its head a nuchal hump and bill-like mouth which resembles that of a dolphin.

This fish is quite rare in Lake Malawi, although it has a very wide distribution. Notwithstanding, most exports come from Lumbaulo and Malombe. It has been in the hobby for several decades now, being first imported in 1968. In the wild, C. moorii displays a very unique feeding adaptation. Classified as a micro-predator, it follows close behind substrate-digging cichlids - like Taeniolethrinops praeorbitalis, Fossorochromis rostratus, and Mylochromis lateristriga � and feeds on the small edible organisms and particles that get stirred up behind them as they feed.

In fact, as these fish dig in the sand looking for food, the resulting clouds attract C. moorii, like sharks to blood, but not as dramtatic. This is its only documented method of hunting for food in the lake.

 

C. moorii attain very respectable sizes. Males grow up to 8 inches (20cm) in length, and females up to 6.5 inches (16.5cm). While they certainly do grow larger than this, these are more typical lengths. The only downside to keeping this fish is that it takes a very long time to grow and reach maturity. Typically, it will take about one and a half to two years for fry to reach 4-5 inches, at which point they will begin spawning. Juveniles are silver and begin taking on blue coloring at around 4cm. Interestingly, fry have an orangish-yellow anal fin, which disappears a few months after hatching.

 

Despite requiring patience while waiting for these fish to grow and spawn for the first time, once they do reach sexual maturity all your patience will be rewarded. They turn into little clocks, spawning every two months, with clutches ranging between 20 and 90! Several days before spawning occurs, the male will begin to display more often to the female. He also becomes much more active, digging a nest out of the substrate or clearing off a smooth stone. The female will then lay her eggs either in the nest or on the stone and picks them up immediately.

 

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Dimidiochromis Copadichromis borleyi is quite common in the hobby, perhaps due in part to the several variants that have been collected and exported. While the pictures featured here are unique to the "Red Fin" variant from Kadango, C. borleyi "Red Fin" is also collected from Tawain Reef, Mbenji Island, Nkhungu Reef, and Ntekete. Each locale has a strain that has slight, yet noticeable characteristics. Another popular variant of this species is Copadichromis borleyi "Gold Fin", differing in that the male has a yellow body instead of the orange. C. borleyi is also distinguished by its long ventral fins. Some variants have much longer ventral fins than others, with the longer ones tending to extend the whole length of their body when tucked.

Also of note is its unique hunting style: Dimidiochromis compressiceps, whose name is derived from its compressed body, uses its extremely narrow body to its advantage in ambushing prey. It hunts with its head angled downward, and its narrow body outline toward its prey so as to minimize its visibility. D. compressiceps is often cruel to its prey, catching, crippling, and then leaving its prey to die. This fish is incredibly quick and can turn its long body in a flash. They also prefer the open water and tend to hang out at the top of an aquarium, probably because it is more open and less hindered by rocks or plants.

If you plan to keep one of these large preadtors, there are a few things to take into consideration. First of all, keep aquarium decorations to a minimum as they prefer the open, unhindered space. Second, respect that this fish gets quite large (9-12") and requires a large, long tank. Third, and most important, keep in mind that this fish is a predator by nature. Smaller fishes, such as Pseudotropheus speices, should not be kept with D. compressiceps. I learned this lesson the hard way after he swallowed five very valuable Pseudos of mine. Fortunately, all five escaped (they were too big to swallow) and have recovered since being separated. In the wild, this fish preys on other cichlids, mostly Pseudotropheus and Aulonocara species and could easily revert back to this practice in the aquarium if preventive measures are not taken.

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Paratilapia Polleni

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Possible but infrequent in aquaria. Bi-parental substrate spawner. We suggest the purchase of a group of young fish and allowing these to pair off naturally. The fish will usually all hold individual territories and pair formation is likely if two fish are occupying the same space. The territory held by the pair can be over 3 feet of the aquarium length if the fish are large. At this point, we recommend the removal of the other fish as they will most likely not be tolerated by the pair. The tank itself should be at least 48" in length, preferably 60" or more and set up as above. A temperature of 75-82°F and pH of 6.5-7.5 is adequate.

Courtship between the pair begins several days prior to spawning itself, with the male taking on intense dark colouration (the female takes on a similar patterning just before spawning itself) and displaying at his partner. These displays may include the male "headstanding". The pair will then excavate a large pit in the substrate of their territory, in which spawning occurs. If there are any other fish present in the aquarium aggression towards them will increase significantly at this point.

The female may lay her eggs directly onto the substrate, in a hollow on a piece of wood, or more rarely, on the roots of plants which the fish first expose by removing the substrate around them. The eggs have a long sticky filament attached to them, and these attach to the filaments on other eggs, forming long 'strings' of spawn. Up to 1000 eggs can be laid, and there may be one or more 'strings' which the female proceeds to tend and guard whilst the male guards the territory against intruders. The male is not tolerated by the female while she is tending the brood.

The eggs hatch in around 48 hours and usually remain in the spawning site for the initial phase of life. They are free swimming after 6-7 days and can accept brine shrimp nauplii, microworm and powdered dry foods from this point. If you wish you can remove the fry now to be raised in a separate aquarium. If they are left with the parents, both fish defend the brood and this care can last for up to 3-4 weeks after the fry become free swimming. The fry can remain together until they start to become territorial and aggressive towards one another. This can be anywhere from 2-10 months so they should be closely monitored, particularly when being fed.

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African Cichlids

African Cichlids

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The Tropheus Duboisi Cichlid originates from the rocky coastal waters of Northern Lake Tanganyika, Africa. They are a beautiful species and are completely black as a juvenile with many white spots. As they mature, the spots fade and their head takes on a blue coloration. This variety of Tropheus Duboisi develops a wide yellow band just behind the pectoral fins. Like other species in the Tropheus genus, they are extremely aggressive towards their own kind, and should be housed in large groups of 6 or more. They are a very personable fish that do best in a species specific aquarium.

The Tropheus Duboisi Cichlid should be maintained in an aquarium of at least 50 gallons, in a large number of the same species, or with other smaller semi-aggressive Tanganyikan or Malawian cichlids. Incorporate plenty of rocks and African driftwood in order to build caves. Provide a sandy bottom of aragonite to maintain the necessary high pH and alkalinity.

The Tropheus Duboisi Cichlid is a mouth brooder, and breeding is more difficult than most of the cichlids. This is a very slow growing species which may take a few years to reach  maturity. At that time, the males are typically larger than the females, and have a more turned up nose. To increase the chance of spawning, house 5 or 6 females with one male. Provide a number of caves for the pair to choose from, and to reduce aggression. Incubation occurs in about 28 days. Feed the fry finely crushed flake food for the first few months until they become interested in lettuce or seaweed.

 

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Nimbochromis Venustus

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N. venustus is quite common in the hobby, due primarily to its popularity. The venustus belongs to the Haplochromine flock from Lake Malawi. It is a piscovore and in the wild, has developed a specialized hunting technique, which is discussed below.

In the wild, N. venustus prefers the deeper regions of Lake Malawi, (i.e., below 15 m) in rocky habitats, where schools of small juvenile cichlids can be found. It is an ambush predator like its near relative, the popular and commonly seen Nimbochromis livingstonii. After spotting small fishes, it will plough slightly into the sand and remain there motionless for up to several minutes, waiting for prey to come within reach. Once the prey swims within reach, it quickly darts out of the sand to snatch it up. Some have hypothesisized that its yellow color serves as an attractant for juvenile Cichlids (i.e., prey).

This Hap grows to be quite large, and at 8 or 10-inches this fish can be quite an eye-catcher. N. venustus needs to be kept with other large Haps once it starts to get some size, otherwise, smaller tankmates may be considered as food. Sexually active males can be quite aggressive; therefore, several females should ideally be housed with just one male of the species. The recommended tank size for an adult is at least 125 gallons. They can be fed a combination of pellets, flakes, and live or frozen food, although once they reach 3 or four inches, flakes are too messy and should be discontinued.

 

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Sciaenochromis Fryeri

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Sciaenochromis fryeri is commonly called "the Electric Blue Hap" and sometimes just "Electric Blue." Often it is traded, or has been traded in the hobby using old scientific names applied to it, which were proven to be incorrect; Haplochromis jacksoni, Haplochromis cf. ahli, Haplochromis ahli, and Cyrtocara ahli.S. fryeri is best known for its stunning, electric blue color in the males. The females however are a generic brownish-grey to silver depending on their collection point. This blue color changes in intensity depending upon the male's mood (i.e., if another male or female is nearby). During spawning, or displaying to other fish, they will display dark vertical barring (see photo above).

There are many morphs of S. fryeri throughout Lake Malawi, but all have the same electric blue color. Typically, males of the southern populations display a white blaze that northern populations lack. Differences also arise in the coloring of their dorsal, anal, and caudal fins, and there is some body depth variation as well. The most common collection points for these white blaze specimens is Maleri Island. The Likoma Island variants lack the full white blaze, but extra large specimens can display the blaze. The Likoma Island variants also tend to have a very reddish anal fin.

This Hap grows to be quite large, and at 8 or 10-inches this fish can be quite an eye-catcher. N. venustus needs to be kept with other large Haps once it starts to get some size, otherwise, smaller tankmates may be considered as food. Sexually active males can be quite aggressive; therefore, several females should ideally be housed with just one male of the species. The recommended tank size for an adult is at least 125 gallons. They can be fed a combination of pellets, flakes, and live or frozen food, although once they reach 3 or four inches, flakes are too messy and should be discontinued. Also interesting to note is that there tends to be a size difference in S. fryeri specimens. Most wildcaughts reach modest sizes of 12-14 cm, as is typical of the Maleri Island and Cape Maclear locations. The largest wildcaught on record comes from Likoma Island, and had a total length of just over 20 cm. In the aquarium, all variants can grow to 20 cm in length. The females of this species, like most African Cichlid species, tend to be slightly smaller than the males.

 

S. fryeri is rare within Lake Malawi, although it does has a lake-wide distribution. It inhabits mostly the rocky areas of the lake and in the intermediate zone at depths between 10 and 40 m. When first collected for exportation, only about 5 females per year could be found. Eventually it was found that most of the females could be found hunting the Utaka juveniles. This Haplochromine is relatively easy to breed and usually produces broods of up to 60 or 70 fry! It is a polygamous mouthbrooder. In the wild, males construct large, conical or volcano-like structures out of the sediment and then tries to entice a female to enter into this structure to spawn with him. Although this behavior is rarely demonstrated in captivity, a rock-laden setup works best so as to keep these fish from becoming too territorial.

 

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