Location: Near Chewere, small reef no larger than a soccer.
Biotope: Intermediate Habitat at about 16 metres
Size: 9cm for males, slightly smaller for females (8cm)
Diet: They’re primarily plankton feeders in midwater, 1-4 metres above the substrate. but territorial males will feed from the biocover on the rocks. In the aquarium, a mix of algae and mysis shrimp should be given along with a high quality vitamin pellet or flake.
Temperment: They’re very elongated in the body unlike the zebra-type mbuna. The elongatus genus is designed for living in the rocks, to fit into tiny cracks and crevices. Breeding males will vigorously guard their territory against conspecific males. They will leave most other fish alone, unless they have similar coloration. In the aquarium males will take up a small cave and defend it but not as vigorous as some other species. Females will occasionally fight amongst themselves but nothing severe.
Spawning Behaviour: Males dig tunnel nest beneath rocks. They are found at the intermediate zone where the sand and rock meet. The males rarely ever travel over the sand, they generally stick to the rocks while non-territorial males and females will school in open water above the reef. The best ratio is 1m 3f. Males aren’t too overly aggressive on females. Males will colour when fairly young and will go jet black when spawning with blue dots and a yellow caudal fin. Subdominant males will be much lighter and won’t show the striking coloration.
Breeding: Females are generally good holders and don’t spit very easily. They hold about 20 eggs for 23-28 days. The fry are very secretive at first and will hide quite often until they get used to your presence. The fry are marked with attractive vertical stripes and black in the dorsal fin, much like a female but more prominent. Males will colour when fairly young. They will go jet black when spawning with blue dots and a yellow caudal fin. Females are drab gray/brown with vertical stripes. They also have some black in the dorsal fin and will go very dark when holding. This is to blend in with the rockwork and shadows to be less conspicuous.
Konings, Ad. (1990). Ad Konings's Book of Cichlids and All The Other Fishes of Lake Malawi: NJ: T.F.H. Publications Inc.
Konings, Ad. (1997). Back to Nature Guide to: Malawi Cichlids: Germany: Fohrman Aquaristik AB