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Placidochromis milomo
by Marc Elieson

Placidochromis milomo is best characterized by its rubber lips, which are recurved and swollen in all directions. In the Placidochromis milomowild, it is found in the deeper, rocky habitats of Lake Malawi. This species has a genetic propensity for developing these thick lips as is demonstrated in the aquarium, but those who live in turbulent habitats develop especially enlarged lips. This is due to the fact that the aglae in these habitats are very tightly anchored to the substrate. Harvesting them requires not only strong jaws but increased development of the fulcrum. Consequently, the harder and more frequently the lips are pressed against the substrate, the thicker they grow.

Placidochromis milomo is found singly at all locations around the lake. It is a solitary fish, swimming and wandering through its habitat alone. Due to the fact that this fish has a low population density, males only defend a territory if another male in breeding dress is encountered; otherwise, this fish is not territorial. In the wild, sexually active males will approach females (when seen), and if she is interested, she will spawn right there, "on the spot." Only interested females will come close to sexually active males.

Placidochromis milomoPlacidochromis milomo can attain a maximum length of 20 cm. In the wild, it feeds on insect larvae and crustaceans found in the biocover as well as mbuna fry. In the aquarium they readily adapt to flake food. Larger fishes from the species should be fed pellet food. I also recommend the European Shrimp Mix.

Peter Davies dubbed this Hap the Super VC-10 because of its speedy escape at the appearance of a net. The Super VC-10 was a type of plane that flew between Malawi and London for a number of years. □

 

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