Rubricatochromis “lifalili” (formerly: Hemichromis)

26. April 2023

There is no doubt about it: the Red Jewel Cichlids, formerly called Hemichromis bimaculatus, are among the most popular aquarium fishes. For several generations of mankind they have been swimming in the aquariums of the world and find again and again new, enthusiastic followers – however also aquarists who swear an oath: never again Red Jewel Cichlids! The latter comes from the unfortunately in individual cases unpredictable belligerence of these fish. Most of them are really sociable, but there are some unbearable troublemakers, which make life hell for all fish in the aquarium. Since this characteristic occurs individually, it is absolutely unpredictable.

The most beautiful red jewel cichlids are those that have numerous blue shiny spots on their bodies, called iriodophores. The distribution of the iriodophores is individually different. In the wild, specimens completely without and those completely covered with iriodophores are found in the same population of several species. This is therefore not a species characteristic, but can be selected by appropriate breeding. Thus, over the decades, aquarium strains have been created that are much, much more colorful than their wild cousins. If these fish have a particularly large number of iriodophores, they are called Lifalili in the hobby. 

This is somewhat unfortunate in that the species Rubricatochromis lifalili really does exist. It lives in the Congo. In the trade the “real” R. lifalili hardly ever appears – at least we have not seen it yet.

What you can buy as Rubricatochromis (or Hemichromis) lifalili are either selection breedings of R. guttatus or breeding forms which have their origin in crossing different species. At the moment we have especially nice animals of a wild form selection breeding (R. guttatus) in our stock. By the way, on the pictures you can see very nicely how it comes that these fish can glow in deep red at lightning speed. The body cells, in which the red pigment is located, can be contracted. Then they appear only as fine red dots. 

For our customers: the fish have code 536602 on our stock list. Please note that we only supply wholesale.

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer