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December 27, 2013

One of our beautiful dwarf cichlids available right now is Pelvicachromis taeniatus. These fish are remarkably lovely – the male is a pretty golden color with two darker brown stripes on his dorsal half and his belly richly gold-orange. His dorsal and caudal fins are rimmed with pinkish red and adorned with broken stripes and spots of pink and iridescent blue. The top edge of his caudal fin is golden and decorated with bold black spots. His anal fin carries the tail’s pink and iridescent patterning and his ventral fins are edged with black.

 Pelvicachromis taeniatus "Nyete" Male

 

Pelvicachromis taeniatus "Kienke" male

The female is arguably more stunning between the pair – The dorsal half of her body is similar to the males and her fins more plainly yellow, but her belly is colored with brilliant magenta, with a blue cast surrounding the color, which extends to her caudal fin, making for an absolutely striking contrast. Her cup-shaped ventral fins are brilliant magenta and have a thicker black edge than those of the male.

Pelvicachromis taeniatus "Nyete" Female

Pelvicachromis taeniatus "Lokundje" female

pelvicachromis taeniatus "Kienke" female

Any display tank for these fish should have a small-grained substrate and plenty of cover – roots and caves are greatly appreciated and the cover provided by plants is a bonus. We have several color morphs of P. taeniatus available now with variations in the amount of black spotting in the dorsal and caudal fins in both males and females, as well as more subtle differences in coloration and patterning. These include Kienke, Lokundje, Moliwe, Nyete and Wouri.

Pelvicachromis taeniatus "Wouri"

Pelvicachromis taeniatus "Moliwe"

I enjoy our various Pelvicachromis taeniatus varieties, but it’s a real treat to meet a different species: in this case, Pelvicachromis humilis “Fria”, commonly known as the Yellow Kribensis, has just arrived in absolutely stunning condition. This species is much larger than the more common P. taeniatus with a maximum size of five inches for the males. Their bodies are more elongate with gently sloped foreheads, large eyes and nearly subterminal mouths. Males are distinguished from their mates by elongate, pointed dorsal, anal and ventral fins with significantly more color than that of the females – the anal fin in particular is a brilliant purple color and the caudal fin shows reticulation of blue over pinkish red. The male’s dun body is marked with a lateral line blotched with chocolate brown over a brilliant sunflower yellow belly. Female P. humilis “Fria” have somewhat more pudgy bodies and pale finnage with the typical exception of the ventral fins – These blunted, L-shaped fins are a brilliant strawberry color with vivid purple edges, accenting the beautiful berry-colored belly of the female. Much like P. signatus, P. humilis “Fria” females display a large iridescent spot just behind the pectoral fins, adding a flash of rainbow brilliance as they swim. Both genders show a modicum of iridescent blue markings over the cheeks. Overall, I think this is one of the most stunning Pelvicachromis species. If nothing else, it is definitely the largest!

Pelvicachromis humilis "Friya"

Pelvicachromis signatus is a striking member of its genus with some of the most amazing color patterns. The male reaches four inches in length with a long snout and broad mouth. The male’s body is unremarkably beige with brown vertical striping, but his gill plates are striped with shining blue marks and the area immediately behind his pectorals is a striking golden yellow. His anal and caudal fins are this same gold color, with the caudal fin rimmed in iridescent blue and red. The signatus male’s caudal fin runs over his entire back and is beautifully marked with black spots and a brilliant red edge. As is typical for Pelvicachromis species, the female is the real beauty of the pair. She sports the same, if not more, iridescent blue cheek markings with a dark sepia mask from the lower lip to the bottom of her eye. The top of her head and dorsal edge are dusty tan, while the rest of her body is an attractive raspberry purple with a single black spot at the end of her tail. This raspberry color is carried heavily into her cup shaped ventral fins and lightly over her unpaired fins. Her caudal and anal fins are heavily decorated with iridescent blue ad her dorsal fin features one more black spot near its center. The true beauty of the signatus female, however, is one large iridescent spot on the sides of her body. When she swims past, this spot catches the light and her sides shine with a full spectrum of color – violet, red, orange, yellow, green and blue all show in a brilliant flash. Pelvicachromis signatus is one of the less aggressive Pelvicachromis species and should be provided with rocks and caves in which to spawn.

Pelvicachromis signatus female

Pelvicachromis signatus male

Pelvicachromis sacrimontis “Giant Kribensis”, at a maximum of four inches, is an absolutely lovely peaceful cichlid for a moderately-sized community aquarium. P. sacrimontis benefits from extensive hardscaping such as bogwood and spawning caves. Males and females are both intensely and wonderfully colored with reds, yellows, and greens. Both genders sport dark golden-green body coloration with light horizontal striping across their face and the dorsal side of their body. Iridescent blue markings run along their green cheeks beneath their eyes. The female shows the typical Pelvicachromis purple-red iridescent belly marking and her unpaired fins are beautifully orange toned and edged in black. Their dorsal fins, unlike standard Kribensis, have no markings. The cupped ventral fins of the female fade beautifully from black at the front and rear edges to pretty purple-red in their centers. The males in display feature brilliant red coloration along their ventral sides, running from just over their lips and back to the end of their anal fin. The male’s dorsal fin is green-gold and edged in red and white and his ventral fins are striped intricately with blue, red and black.

Pelvicachromis sacrimontis female

Thank you for reading and have a great New Year!

Jessica Supalla