Ptychochromis insolitus

29. March 2023

One of the rarest animals in the world is this Madagascar cichlid, which was only scientifically described in 2006 and already in 2013 it was feared to be extinct. It existed in only one river on Madagascar, the Mangarahara, after which the perch is also called Mangarahara cichlid. A dam project and excessive water extraction for agriculture caused the river to dry up. Along with the river, all the fish that lived in it died. It borders on a miracle that a few living specimens of Ptychochromis insolitus were discovered in a residual water area in the Amboaboa Basin and that breeding succeeded with them. Committed conservationists, including many private aquarists, are now trying to protect this last refuge on Madagascar. At the same time, a conservation breeding program for the fish species is being established. 

Both actions are successful. Also we can now offer some offspring specimens of this open brooding fish with maternal brood care. We very much hope that the animals will become part of the conservation breeding program and that the future owners will participate in the Citizen Conservation project ( Because the experience from the past shows on the one hand that it is quite possible to breed fish species healthy in the aquarium over decades, even over a century without inbreeding damages, but for species like the Mangarahara cichlid, which does not necessarily correspond to the ideal image of an “ornamental fish”, special efforts are needed.

Ptychochromis insolitus grows to about 15 cm in length. It is best kept in a group in relatively large aquariums (500l), because this species – typical cichlid – can sometimes be a bit robust against conspecifics. Then it is good, if the beating is distributed on several animals and these also have place to evade. From the troop it is also easiest to find a pair that harmonizes well with each other and finally ensures that the Mangarahara cichlid does not disappear from our planet.

For our customers: the animals have code 574152 on our stocklist. Please note that we only supply wholesale.

Text: Frank Schäfer, photos: Frank Schäfer and H. Zell