The large cichlids of South and Central America have a firm place in aquaristics. However, aquarists have a mental problem with the no less magnificent large cichlids of Africa. When the name “tilapia” is mentioned in a fish discussion, everyone immediately thinks of gray underwater lawnmowers with carp format.
There is a grain of truth in this prejudice. In fact, many tilapias are mainly herbivores, and some of the important food fish among them, such as Oreochromis niloticus or Sarotherodon galilaeus (this is the biblical fish from the Sea of Galilee) are really no color wonders. But there are also really beautiful animals among the tilapia. Among them is Heterotilapia buettikoferi, a species distributed from Guinea-Bissau to western Liberia. It belongs to the largest tilapias at all, it is said that already 50 cm long specimens have been caught. Normal in nature are 15-20 cm, in the aquarium maybe 30 cm. They become sexually active much earlier. The photographed pair is only 8-10 cm long and started spawning already one day after entering the photo aquarium. There are hardly any external sex differences.
Heterotilapia buettikoferi is an open breeder and forms a parent family. The care is really easy, water values secondary. Vegetable matter (oat flakes, vegetable flake food, over-brooded lettuce) should play a role in the diet, but basically the fish are omnivores; in the wild they are snail-eaters. In sufficiently large aquariums they are usually peaceful animals. Under too cramped conditions, however, they can become real bullies.
We offer H. buettikoferi as offspring from Southeast Asia.
For our customers: the animals have code 576903 on our stocklist. Please note that we supply exclusively to wholesalers.
Text & photos: Frank Schäfer