Aquatic Videos


Scientific name: pseudotropheus acei

Fish Group: African Cichlids
Level of Aggression: Moderate
Recommended Foods: HBH Veggie Flake , HBH Cichlid 4 Flake Frenzy, Frozen Bloodworms, Frozen Brine Shrimp Plus, Brine Shrimp, Ghost Shrimp

pH Range: 7.8 to 8.2
Hardness Range: 210 to 530 ppm
Temperature Range: 72 to 78°F
dH Range: 12 to 30°

Interesting Facts:
Also called the Aurora Cichlid, this fish is found in the waters of the southern half of Likoma Island from Madima Bay to Ulisa. Adult males steak out territories among the rocks off the coast while the females, juveniles and sub-adult males form schools along the sandy beds and rocky outcroppings with Pseudotropheus zebra and Cynotilapia afra. Adults grow to about four inches and mainly feed on lake plankton, but will forage on algae to get the aquatic crustaceans living in it.

Level of Aggression Details:
Moderately Aggressive: A fish that is inclined to display aggression in a less severe manner, but more so than a fish that is mildly aggressive. Confrontations may result in physical damage, such as split fins or tails, missing scales or damage to the eyes or abdomen. A fish of this sort may at times harass other fish in the tank and display dominance over the other fishes by hogging food and territory.

Fish Group Information:
MBUNAS-LAKE MALAWI ROCK DWELLERS (PSEDOTROPHEUS, LABIDOCHROMIS, ETC) – Due to the highly territorial nature of these fish, it is best to either overcrowd them in the aquarium, or keep their numbers very limited. In the wild, this fishes’ survival depends on its ability to defend its territory of the algae covered rocks it inhabits. The algae garden is its main source of food and its ability to drive off intruders determines whether or not the fish will survive and be able to reproduce. Hunger is the one factor you can count on to induce aggression. The instinct to feed is strong and sometimes over rides the parental instinct at times, driving a fish to feed on its own offspring. Pseudotropheus species and other Mbunas generally tolerate each other, but in the confines of an aquarium, conflicts over territory can result in the loss of a fish, as it may be unable to escape its pursuer.

Suggested Tankmates:

Fish and Tank Size:
Max fish size is 2.5 to 4.0 inches. Will do well in smaller aquaria such as twenty to thirty gallon aquariums.

Degree of Difficulty:
Moderate. Recommended for the seasoned aquarist, as either the size or inability to adapt to changing water conditions make this fish a challenge to care for. Generally doesn’t adapt to tap water sources (city mains or well supplies,) and alteration of the water composition may be required (lowering the pH and or hardness, filtering through peat for rainforest fishes, or increasing the pH and hardness for fishes from alkaline waters with a high pH, like the rift lake cichlids) or the need for a species tank may make this a fish best left to the experienced fish keeper.

Geographic Origin:
LAKE MALAWI – To the south of Lake Tanganyika is Lake Malawi which has a pH of 8.5 and measures a lower total hardness level. This lake is long and wide, measuring 45 miles across at the widest point. The larger boulders lie out past the surf and provide shelter to the many species of Mbuna (rock dwellers) Cichlids like those of the Pseudotropheus Genus. The rocks provide a source of food in the form of the soft algae that covers them and the crustaceans that live in the algae. The boulders also provide shelter from larger predatory fish like Lake Perches and the large turtles that reside in the lake. The other major group of fishes in Lake Malawi is the Utakas, which includes the peacocks and Haplochromine cichilds. These fish form large shoals and raid the spawning pits of other lake fish to feed on the newly hatched fry. Lake Malawi provides the three surrounding countries a major fisheries industry with 10,000 tons of fish harvested for food every year. The thermal cycle (warm water above and cooler water below) in lake Malawi occurs when the winds of the dry season (called Mwere by the natives) blows across the surface of the lake creating huge waves and pulling the nutrient rich water of the lower regions toward the upper layers. This influx of nutrients, food and cool water induces spawning of over six hundred endemic species of fish. During the wet season, torrential rains flood the land and lake and increase the depth of the lake from three to sixty feet. These huge fluctuations in water level and nutrients explain why Mbuna and Utaka cichlids of the lake thrive with large regular water changes when kept in the confines of an aquarium. Lake Malawi is bordered by Mozambique on the east, by Tanzania on the north and east and by Malawi on the west and southwest. The Portuguese dubbed the lake “Maravi” in the early 1500’s, then it became known as Lake Nyasse (the word locals refereed to it with) for several hundred years until the 1850’s when Livingston came upon the lake and in his travels, learned the word “nyasse” means “lake” in the language of the native people and changed it to Malawi.

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