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September 28, 2012

When I’m not spending countless hours posting and reposting ads on Aquabid.com you’ll find me out taking the pictures for both the website and this newsletter. A lot of time is spent walking up and down the aisles with a camera in one hand and a foot ladder in the other. This not only gives me the shots that I need, but allows me to see how the fish are doing throughout the room. I like to think that all of the Danios and Tetras are happy to see my handsome face again, but in reality they are just hoping to be fed.

I suppose that’s why I find myself so drawn to cichlids. Unlike the Danios and Tetras, cichlids are more comparable to our feathered friends, parrots. They seem to know who you are and what you’re about. They can make homes for themselves out of caves, live for several years, and seem to get to get to know their keepers. Some species, like the one I’m about to feature; even dedicate their entire lives to one mate.

During my time around the shop I find myself drawn back to one particular tank. The fish are not really that colorful, but to me, it has more of the rarity factor that keeps me coming back to them. I’ve seen them here once before about four or five years ago. In fact, one of our former employees was among a small handful of people to have been known to spawn Limbochromis robertsi. Originally described as “Nanochromis robertsi” (Audenaerde and Loiselle 1971), now it is the only one within its genus. In fact, they are known only to occur in the Black Krensen Creek in Ghana, Africa.

Limbochromis robertsi

Even more interesting is that within this small space, courting males can claim a territory a couple square meters in diameter. Because of this you will need a large tank to house a pair. I’ve always recommended a tank at least 48” long and about 75 gallons of water. Males can reach about 4” in length while the females seem to stop growing around 3”. Mature males will have pointed fins while the females have a pink color to their fins and the shape is more rounded. Pairs are very aggressive towards conspecifics (members of the same species) and any others should be removed or separated to keep any harm from coming to them.

Limbochromis robertsi

This aggression is usually not aimed toward schooling fish like larger tetras or barbs and it’s a good idea to have something swimming above them to get them to feel more comfortable in the aquarium. A recommendation for this would be either Alestes longipinnis “Alestes Longfin Tetra” or Opsaridium christyi “Copper Nose Barbs”. Both of these larger fish can handle whatever the Limbochromis can dish out, and would bring a little activity to your aquarium.

Alestes longipinnis

Alestes longipinnis

Opsaridium christyi

You could add Synodontis flavitaeniatus “Orange Striped Squeaker Cat” if you want some more activity on the bottom, but be warned they may eat any fry that you raise.

Synodontis flavitaeniatus

The aquarium you choose should have plenty of flow in it and the pH should be about 7.6. The temperature doesn’t need to be very warm so 76°F should be just fine for the Limbochromis. Decorations are very important and should primarily be what you find in their natural habitat. The rocks or wood you choose should be placed in separate parts of the tank with caves placed near them. This will give the Limbochromis somewhere to hide and spawn when ready. For food they should be offered a variety frozen brine shrimp, pellets, and flakes.

Well, I’ve got some more pictures to take, so I’m going to wrap it up here. I hope this enlightened you into one of the coolest cichlids from Africa. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed watching them grow up and become true beauties. Please feel free to call or email with any requests you have.

See you next week!

Anthony Perry
Sales Manager