The genus Nimbochromis is probably best known to aquarists through the “sleeper”, N. livingstonii. All Nimbochromis species have a camouflage pattern of irregular brown spots. N. livingstonii uses this to imitate a decaying fish, because fish carrion look very similarly spotted. So the sleeper lies on his side on the ground and plays dead fish. Unsuspecting young fish that want to eat from the carrion are thus attracted and land in the stomach of the sleeper.
The animal received the name “sleeper” from the fishermen of Lake Malawi, who were able to observe the unusual lying around of the perch, which grows to over 20 cm in length, through the often crystal clear water of the lake. The sleeper is found seawide, local forms are not known in the hobby. Among each other the animals are quite aggressive, therefore they should be kept in as large groups as possible and with (robust and sufficiently large!) accompanying fish, but not with other Nimbochromis species, as the animals can hybridize.
Very interesting is that each sleeper has an individual spot pattern, possibly this prevents the prey fish from adapting to a certain enemy image, which would reduce the hunting success. In other Lake Malawi cichlids the body pattern is usually so constant that it can be used as a species characteristic.
For our customers: the animals have code 530003 on our stocklist. Please note that we only supply the wholesale trade.
The genus Nimbochromis is probably best known to the aquarists through the “sleeper”, N. livingstonii. All species of Nimbochromis have a Camouflage pattern from irregular, brown spots. N. livingstonii uses this to mimic a decomposing fish, because fish carrion looks very similarly patchy. So the sleeper lies on his side on the ground and plays dead fish. Unsuspecting young fish, who want to eat from the carrion, are attracted and end up in the stomach of the sleeper.
The beautiful giraffe cichlid (N. venustus) is also a predator and lurks for prey in a very similar way, but it does not lie on its side but only sinks to the ground and remains motionless here. It swims only an attack, if a prey comes into its immediate proximity.
With almost 25 cm of final-length, the giraffe cichlid belongs to the bigger cichlids from Lake Malawi, besides, it is one of the most aggressive. One can recommend it therefore only for really big aquariums where these characteristics don’t fall so much into the weight. Nimbochromis venustus is, like almost all cichlids from Lake Malawi, mouth-breeder in the female sex.
For our customers: the animals have code 534303 on our stocklist. Please note that we only supply wholesalers.
Unfortunately many Haplochromis-like cichlids of Lake Victoria are threatened by extinction due to profound environmental changes. The giant perch (Lates niloticus) introduced there, the turbidity of the water due to eutrophication and the resulting mass growth of the water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) are the best known causes. For this reason, a conservation breeding programme is being run for a number of species, in which numerous (unfortunately not enough) hobby aquarists are taking part.
One of the species that have been repeatedly imported from Lake Victoria since 1993 and are therefore also available in the hobby is the “Thick Skin”. There do exist several colour variations of this species, which can be assigned to geographical regions. The animals that we can offer at the moment correspond well to the animals of Kisumu (Kenya) and have few, quite wide vertical bandages on the flanks.
H. sp. “Thick Skin” becomes sexually mature with 5-6 cm of length, however, the animals can become more than twice as big. Since they must be counted to the very aggressive species of the genus, big tanks and big groups, in which the aggression can distribute, are urgently to be advised. The number of females should predominate in the groups.
Clear water with a pH value always clearly above 7 is the prerequisite for beautifully colored animals, which are not only beautiful to look at, but also give the keeper the nice feeling of doing something for species protection.
For our customers: the animals have code 532502 on our stocklist. Please note that we only supply wholesalers.
Text & photos: Frank Schäfer