It is hard to understand why such a well-defined and unique species has not yet been scientifically described, although the animals have been kept and bred in the aquarium for decades. And yet it is; “Acei” is a pure popular name and not a scientific name. The species can be found in several different coloured populations in Lake Malawi. In contrast to many other species of the Pseudotropheus relationship it is not a rock dweller (“Mbuna”), but the fish are specialized in sandy areas, where they are mainly found where trees or branches have fallen into the water near the shore. There these animals, which do not form any territories in nature, graze in troops (usually three to ten animals, but there are also populations which form swarms with several hundred individuals), the Aufwuchs from the branches. In the „Acei“ males and females are colored to a large extent equally. In the nature, these fish usually don’t become longer than 12 cm, rather rarely up to 14 cm (males) or 12 cm (females), in the aquarium, however, they can become almost 18 cm long because of the essentially more substantial food and the at least 3-4 times so long life span (compared with wild animals).
In the hobby currently most widespread is the yellow finned local form, which occurs e.g. near Msuli; this is also the variant, which we currently have in the stock.
For our customers: the animals have code 568204 on our stocklist. Please note that we supply exclusively to wholesalers.
Many species of rock-dwelling cichlids from Lake Malawi – the so-called Mbuna – live on isolated places. These place are often many miles away from other suitable habitats. This geografic isolation leads comparatively fast to local colour morphs.
Other species of cichlid from Lake Malawi are not that much specialized and can live in a great variety of habitats. Consequently these species can be found all over the lake. Although even in these species some slight tendencies for local colour morphs are recognizable these differences are rather marginal. For example in Sciaenochromis fryeri: specimens collected in the south of the lake tend to have rather reddish anal fins while the conspecifics from the north have rather yellowish anal fins.
The sport „Iceberg“ has been bred by selection. The ancestors of the „Iceberg“ were individual mutants found near Maleri Island. This was more than 20 years ago. Nowadays the „Iceberg“ is among the most popular species of cichlid from lake Malawi. Currently we have very nice animals (6-8 cm long, which is almost half grown) in stock which are full in colour. However, only the dominant male has the ice-blue coloration all over the body, while in subdominant males this coloration is rather restricted to the forehead and the dorsal fin. This is quite interesting, for the initial intention to breed this fish was a simple aesthetic one; now it shows up that this coloration also serves for interspecific communication.
For our customers: the fish have code 574303 on our stocklist. Please note that we exclusively supply the wholesale trade.
Text & photos: Frank Schäfer
Today we took the photo equipment in our fishhouse (instead of taking fish from the fishhouse in the phototank), for here in one of our tanks a great show is presented: 50 sexually ripe (7-10 cm long) Otopharynx lithobates, more than half of them males in breeding mood. Wow.
In the natural habitat, males of this species inhabit caves. The bright head stripe is a distinctive feature for females passing the cave. For each females a courtship display is started immediately. In the home aquarium one must take care that females which are not willing to spawn can hide. In the wild they can easily swim away, but in the tank the males can become pretty nasty in cases not enough hiding places are provided for the females.
Otopharynx lithobates feeds on plankton in the wild and can be easily fed by a variety of usual ornamental fish food items. The pH must not sink below 8 in long time sight; otherwise these cichlids, like most cichlids from lake Malawi, are not much demanding and easy to care.
For our customers: the fish have code 556604 on our stocklist. Please note that we exclusively supply the wholesale trade.
Text & photos: Frank Schäfer
The genus Dimidiochromis comprises currently four accepted species. Only one of them, D. compressiceps, is found in the trade on a regular basis and has become an ornamental fish so far. D. strigatus can still be considered a rarity in the trade. We have the species stocked now for the first time, our fish are German bred ones.
All species of Dimidichromis are predators that feed in the wild almost exclusively on small fish. In the aquarium they feed readily on any usual fish food. These cichlids do not live in rocky shores, but among reed and underwater weeds like Vallisneria over soft bottom. These predators do not inhabit territories outside the breeding season and thus they can be considered as very peaceful fish as long as accompanying fish are too large to be eaten. One should never choose the always hectic and aggressive rock cichlids from Lake Malawi (Mbunas) as tankmates, for they would be a continous disturbance for the calm and cautious Dimidiochromis.
Dimidiochromis strigatus attains a maximum length of about 25 cm. As almost all cichlids from Lake Malawi it is female mouthbrooder. The species occurs not exclusively in Lake Malawi, but also in Lake Malombe and the River Shire that connects the two lakes.
For our customers: the fish have code 520252 on our stocklist. Please note that we exclusively supply the wholesale trade.
Text & photos: Frank Schäfer