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Labeotropheus fuelleborni
by Marc Elieson

L. fuelleborni seems to be one of the more common African Cichlids in the hobby. They do not get as large as their cousins, L. trewavasae, but many of their physical features are the same. Labeotropheus fuelleborni maleL. fuelleborni will reach sizes of 12-17 cm (4.5-6.5 in.). They have the curved-over upper lip; males are solid blue while females are marmelade (or marbled). Males are a dark blue with orange fins, unless excited, then the blue turns a lighter shade. Am orange tint is also apparent when the male gets excited. I have only heard of marmelade males, but they apparently can be spawned (1 in 100) by normal parents. These marmelade males are marbled brown, blue, and green on a pinkish background, and the fins will be a soft blue.

L. fuelleborni grows to about six inches, wtih males being slightly larger than females. L. fuelleborni is a heavy algae eater in the wild, scraping algae of off rocks. I have even witnessed juveniles trying to scrap algae off the glass in my grow-out tank. I guess that curved upper lip really helps out here. Spirulina is the food of choice for this fish, with other vegetables such as frozen peas and romaine lettuce. They grow quickly and are not overly aggressive, but are territorial.

Labeotropheus fuelleborni femaleThis fish inhabits the upper rocky regions of Lake Malawi, areas with a lot of turbulence in the water. These areas are rich in oxygen because the waves will wash over the rocks. They have apparently adapted to this environment because they require a high degree of oxygenation in the aquarium. This fish, like its cousin L. trewavasae is found all over the lake in many different color morphs (I am aware of at least 30). Currently there is not a very good system for differentiating between them all. □

 

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