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Chromidotilapia guntheri
by Duc Nguyen
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Chromidotilapia guntheri (Gunther's Mouthbrooder) hails from West Africa. There are two subspecies inside of C. guntheri: C. guntheri guntheri and C. guntheri loenbergii. These two subspecies are very similar to each other. Based on photos I saw from Anton Lamboj's book - 'The Cichlid Fishes of Western Africa', the fish I obtained were C. guntheri guntheri. These fish range from Sierra Leone and parts of Guinea to Cameroon and Rio Muni (Lamboj, 2004).

C. guntheri guntheri males can reach a size of up to 15cm and females obtain a smaller size of approximately 10cm. In these fish, the females are more colorful then their male counterparts. Body coloration is brown with the dorsal regions darker than ventral ones (Lamboj, 2004). Males are rather drab and will get horizontal barring when in subdominant and/or stressed conditions. Females have a very distinct rose colored belly which is more intensified during spawning. Both male and female fish may have a white border in their dorsal fins.

I started with two pairs of adults which I split into two 55 gallon tanks. The tanks were decorated with numerous Anubias plants and I placed various caves because these fish were extremely shy and I found them to be very skittish as well. The substrate I used was sand. These fish like to sift through the sand picking up food particles. This behavior is similar to the sand sifters from Lake Tanganyika. For food, I fed them life brine shrimp, various flake as well as spirulina. They are very voracious eaters and not picky at all. The pH was 7.8 and I kept them at a temperature of 73F.

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