Many rock dwelling cichlids (mbunas) of Lake Malawi live isolated on certain rocky shores. These are often miles away from other rocky biotopes, so geographic isolation leads relatively quickly to local color variations.
Other cichlids of the lake, such as Sciaenchromis fryeri, are not bound to specific biotopes and occur accordingly throughout the lake. Although there are tendencies for them to look slightly different in certain regions – for example, in S. fryeri the anal fins of males from the south of the lake are reddish, while those from the north are more yellowish – on the whole these differences are rather marginal.
Of Sciaenochromis fryeri the “Iceberg” variety (see https://www.aquariumglaser.de/en/fish-archives/sciaenochromis-fryeri-iceberg-2/) is especially popular, but also the wild colored animals are beautiful fish with their brilliant azure blue. One should not keep these cichlids together with the fast and aggressive mbunas of Lake Malawi. These species interfere with each other and also have completely different food requirements. While S. fryeri is a small predator that follows large cichlids in the wild, which dig for food in the substrate, scaring up small fish and shrimp that S. fryeri grabs, mbunas feed mainly on aufwuchs, i.e. algae and microorganisms found in it, a very high-bulk diet. In the aquarium, Sciaenochromis get shortchanged compared to fast Mbunas, resulting in fatty Mbunas and malnourished Sciaenochromis. No one wants that.
Sciaenochromis fryeri is a typical mouthbrooder in the female gender and grows to about 15 cm long. Males and females differ clearly in coloration.
For our customers: the animals have code 574295 on our stocklist. Please note that we supply exclusively to wholesalers.
Text & photos: Frank Schäfer