Tag Archives: Hemichromis

Rubricatochromis: a new genus name for the red jewel cichlids

23. December 2022

Red jewel cichlids are among the most popular aquarium fishes of all. For over 100 years, they have delighted aquarists around the world with their blaze of color and wonderful breeding habits. There is disagreement about the number of species, because these fish are very variable. Until now the red jewel cichlids were known under the generic name Hemichromis.

It has always been known that Hemichromis consist of two very different groups of species, namely the so-called five-spotted cichlids and the already mentioned red jewel cichlids. The five-spotted cichlids were recently (November 2022) subjected to a scientific revision by A. Lamboj and S. Koblmüller. One of the results was that the red jewel cichlids and the five-spotted cichlids are not as closely related as previously thought, but represent different evolutionary lineages. Accordingly, they must be in different genera. Type species of Hemichromis is a five-spotted cichlid (H. fasciatus), so the five-spotted cichlids remain in Hemichromis, while for the red jewel cichlids a new generic name had to be coined: Rubricatochromis. This means nothing else than “red coloured perch”. Type species is Rubricatochromis guttatus.

The following species are now in the new classification: 

Hemichromis Peters, 1858, with four species:

Hemichromis angolensis Steindachner, 1865

Hemichromis camerounensis Bitja-Nyom, Agnése, Pariselle, Bilong-Bilong & Snoeks, 2021

Hemichromis elongatus (Guichenot, 1861)  

Hemichromis fasciatus Peters, 1858 

The species H. frempongi Loiselle, 1979, has already been synonymized with H. fasciatus by Bitja-Nyom et al., 2021.

Rubricatochromis Lamboj & Koblmüller, 2022, with nine described species:

Rubricatochromis bimaculatus (Gill, 1862). 

Rubricatochromis cerasogaster (Boulenger, 1898) 

Rubricatochromis cristatus (Loiselle, 1979) 

Rubricatochromis exsul (Trewavas, 1933)

Rubricatochromis guttatus (Günther, 1862) 

Rubricatochromis letourneuxi (Sauvage, 1880) 

Rubricatochromis lifalili (Loiselle, 1979) 

Rubricatochromis paynei (Loiselle, 1979) 

Rubricatochromis stellifer (Loiselle, 1979)

and at least four scientifically not yet described taxa:

Rubricatochromis sp. „Gabon“

Rubricatochromis sp. „Guinea 1“

Rubricatochromis sp. „Guinea 2“

Rubricatochromis sp. „neon“


Lamboj, A. & S. Koblmüller (2022): Molecular phylogeny and taxonomic revision of the cichlid genus Hemichromis (Teleostei, Cichliformes, Cichlidae), with description of a new genus and revalidation of H. angolensis. Hydrobiologia, https://doi.org/10.1007/s10750-022-05060-y

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer

Hemichromis sp. ,,Ankasa”

18. July 2022

We have received very nice offsprings of this attractive red jewel cichlid (Hemichromis). The animals are 4-6 cm long at the moment and thus just at the border to sexual maturity. Fully grown they are with about 10 cm. Then they are much more high-backed and have a splendid red coloration, which is only indicated at the moment. 

A special characteristic of this species, which was found around 2001 in western Ghana by traveling aquarists and brought back – since then it is in continuous breeding – is the broad stripes with green-golden bands on the face, while shiny spots on the body – the so-called iridiophores – are largely absent. Of the scientifically described species, Hemichromis sp. ,,Ankasa” most closely resembles H. paynei.

The care and breeding of Hemichromis sp. ,,Ankasa” is easy and successful even for beginners. Red cichlids can become nasty (but they don’t have to, some individuals are also lamb-like). The rule is: the larger the aquarium, the less aggressive the fish behave towards tankmates. However, if the animals have young, they are not to be trifled with. Therefore, the care in a species aquarium is absolutely preferable to the care in a community tank. Water composition is irrelevant for these fish and they will eat any common ornamental fish food. Plants are not damaged, unless they are in the way of the breeding preparations. Spawning is done on solid objects (stones, roots) in an open-breeding manner, both parents take care of spawn and fry together. The water temperature should be around 24°C, for breeding 2-3°C higher.

For our customers: the animals have code 536913 on our stock list. Please note that we supply only wholesale.

Hemichromis sp. Red Gabon

7. December 2020

Red Jewel Cichlids are gorgeous fishes. Their splendid coloration can be hardly topped. And they have a fascinating behaviour. They form a biparental family, both male and female take carefor the offspring together. No real hobbyist can hestitate to be banned by that look. The only negative aspect of these fishes is: they can be really nasty against tankmates, especilally when they have young (and they almost always have young). The degree of aggressivness depends both on the indiviual and on the respective strain.

Hemichromis sp. Red Gabon belongs – technically speaking – to the species Hemichromis stellifer. However there are many differences regarding the coloration between this Gabon population (our specimens are German bred ones) and the population from the Congo, from where H. stellifer has been described scientifically. So prudent people prefer to name the fish „sp. Gabon“. This Red Jewel is extremely colorful and belongs to the more peaceful members of its kind. In our tanks – they are, of course, rather densely populated – hardly ever even a small fin damage can be spotted.

For our customers: the fish have code 537502 on our stocklist. Please note that we exclusively supply the wholesale trade.

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer

Hemichromis guttatus “Paprika”

22. May 2020

Right now we have German offspring of Red Jewel Cichlids – probably Hemichromis guttatus – in stock, which have a very interesting history. They are descendants of wild catches from Hungary! In Hungary, more precisely in the Hévíz region, there is a thermal lake fed by natural hot springs. It is not known by whom and when, but Red Jewel Cichlids have been released there and they reproduce excellently here. Our breeder brought some animals from there in 2017, which is the origin of the strain we can offer now. 

Originally these Red Jewel Cichlids come from Western Africa. However, there have been feral populations of Hemichromis guttatus in artificial and natural thermal waters in several places in Europe for over 40 years, e.g. near Villach in Austria, in the Gillbach near Cologne or in Hungary.

These red cichlids with their numerous blue spots (“Iriodophores”) are already very attractive in a neutral mood, but when they get excited – for example when defending their territory or caring for their brood – they turn a wonderful red and seem to glow from the inside out, fiery like the paprika in their Hungarian homeland!

For our customers: the animals have code 536412 on our stocklist. Please note that we only supply the wholesale trade. 

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer

Hemichromis exsul

26. January 2018

Red jewel cichlids are wonderful aquariumfishes despite the fact that sometimes very quarrelsome individuals appear. For scientists the complex of species of red jewel cichlids remains a mess. Many meristic features overlap and additionally many species are highly polychromatic.

Hemichromis exsul has been described scientifically already in 1933 under the name of Pelmatochromis exsul. Type locality was lake Rudolf (now: lake Turkana) in Kenya. Later researchers considered H. exsul to be a synonym of Hemichromis letourneauxi.

This point of view became doubted when Lothar Seegers in 1998 published a photo of a Hemichromis that he had collected in lake Turkana. That fish looked totally different from all Hemichromis letourneauxi known so far. Sadly almost never any freshwater fish from Kenya become exported, so H. exsul stayed a phantom.

Specimens of this species could be sourced for Aquarium Glaser the first time this year. They were bred and we can now offer exclusively the first German bred Hemichromis exsul from there.

Hemichromis exsul differs from all other Hemichromis known so far by the dark, blackish rims of the fins. Moreover the typical lateral blotch exhibited by most red jewel cichlids is missing in most animals. The fish stays rather small and are very peaceful – at least for a red jewel cichlid.

For our customers: the animals have code 536351 (3-4 cm) and 536352 (4-6 cm) on our stocklist. Please note that we exclusively supply the wholesale trade.

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer

Hemichromis sp. Neon

3. March 2017

If the only thing a hobbyist cares for for be the coloration, we would hardly need other species than Jewel Cichlids. The „Neon“ is an artifical sport, most probably bred by crossing different species and selection. The blue iridescent spots, present in most species of Hemichromis, are much larger in the „Neon“ sport. With respect to the body shape, the „Neon“ is closest to H. guttatus.

But colour is not everything. Sadly all Jewel Cichlids have in common that it is impossible to know wether an individual will be peaceful or agggressive. Within one species both types of behaviour can appear. Some specimens are lambs, others are wolves.

However, the breathtaking splendid coloration and the really wonderful family life of these cichlids are worth the risk!

For our customers: the fish have code 537142 on our stocklist. Please note that we exclusively supply the wholesale trade.

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer