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June 07, 2013

 This week we’ve trekked into the Konkoure forest, found in the country of Guinea in Africa, in order to collect a relatively new dwarf cichlid in our hobby. Somewhere out in this jungle is a cichlid packed with vibrant colors, and tons of personality. With any luck we’ll find our prized fish right over there in the river we are overlooking. Did you remember to grab your net? We’ve got fish to collect!

Our target fish was first exported from this country in 2004 by the infamous Oliver Lucanus of Below Water – located in Canada. Originally, they were thought to be a form of Pelvicachromis rollofi and called the “Blue Fin Rollofi”. In 2009, Anton Lamboj would place the enigmatic fish into their own genus due to the lack of “rounded” fins found on the females, and are now known as Enigmatochromis lucanusi “Blue Fin Rollofi” in honor of our Canadian friend. This fish can be distinguished from the other E. rollofi by the blue streak the female’s exhibit in their dorsal fin. Like their West African cousins of the Pelvicachromis genus, they are cave spawning cichlids that will choice a single mate for the entirety of their lives.

 Enigmatochromis lucanusii

Breeding these sensational cichlids can be a bit of a challenge. The fish are “bonding” cichlids that ideally should be housed in tanks measuring at least 24” in length. This will give them enough room to get away from one another when one partner isn’t in “the mood”. The tank should be decorated with various pieces of driftwood and rocks. The fish are cave-spawners and will need to have such if you wish to keep them happy and ready to breed. I usually place a few of them in my tank to offer the future and overly picky moms a few options. I guess she needs to make sure her view is just right. The hole on the cave shouldn’t be any bigger than that of the width of the male. If it’s any larger, the fish may not breed, or, if they do, larger predators may be able to get in. When the female is ready to spawn, her belly will darken. She will usually “dance” in front of him to let him know she is ready. The two will than pick a cave to lay their eggs in. She may disappear in the cave for a few days. Do not be alarmed by this. It’s actually a good sign. She’ll come out a few days later and after 7-8 days a pile (around 20-40) of free swimming children will be guided around by both parents in search of food. Each parent will take turn guarding their kids. One parent will chauffeur the young around while the other keeps watch. The eggs are also pH sensitive. You may encounter getting more males than females, or vice versa, when they become a sex-able age. Adjusting your pH slightly after a couple of batches may help to counter this.

Enigmatochromis lucanusii

While I was busy talking you was too busy collecting the fish. I guess I should stop rambling and help you sort out your catch. We only want to bring back pairs, so the extra fish should be released back into the river. We’ll let them continue to produce more. These ones though are heading straight to the shop to be offered to all of our wonderful customers. What’s that? You wish to bring home a pair or two? Well you can go to to find them, and a lot of other dwarf cichlids on our list. Seems how you’re looking at the list I would recommend getting a school of Ladigesia rollofi “Jellybean Tetra” to go with them. These petite Characins pack an amazing amount of color, and will make great dither fish above the dwarf cichlids.

Ladigesia roloffi

See you all next week!

Anthony Perry
Sales Manager