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'Haplochromis' thereuterion
by Greg Steeves (Gas)
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The male 'H.' thereuterion grows to 12cm while the female generally reaches a maximum size of 8cm. A mature male in breeding coloration is extremely beautiful. The overall coloration is smoky-black with a metallic sheen to the scales. The head has areas of light blue markings contrasting with the deep black mask. The pectoral fins are clear while the pelvic fins are solid black. The anal fin has a black base with blue and red edging. The caudal fin is mostly back with red blotches along the outer extremities. The dorsal fin is blue at the forward portion fading to black while bordered in red its entire length. The amount and distribution of color in the unpaired fins can vary from individual to individual. Females have a tanned upper body while a cream-white abdomen. One thin dark bar dissects the torso in the middle while another thin bar runs along the top portion of the flank right below the dorsal fin. When breeding the tan color of the female transforms to mostly silver body coloration.

Although 'H.' thereuterion appears to be a rather robust species, it is easily bullied by other more aggressive fish in the confines of an aquarium. It really does well in a species only setup but one might have success housing with other non aggressive species such as Lipochromis sp. "Matumbi hunter" or Haplochromis sp. 'ruby'.

Our colony is housed in their own 55 gallon (210 liters) aquarium. The bottom is a sandy substrate with a number of large rocks scattered about the bottom. Some Anubias nana and Anubias congensis are scattered throughout. A "hang on the back" type power filter turns over 300 gallons (1136 liters) per hour. Biweekly 50%+ water changes assist in maintaining water quality. Our water is quite hard with a high pH as well (8.3) but others we have spoken with maintaining this species, report no ill effects in softer water conditions with a lower pH. The water temperature in this aquarium can reach 95F (35C) on the warmest summer days and 70F (21C) in winter. A close fitting lid is a necessity as this fish has the body shape of a jumper.

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