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Metriaclima lombardoi
by Marc Elieson

Maylandia lombardoi maleIn the wild, M. lombardoi is found at Mbenji Island and Nkhomo Reef. It prefers depths of around 33 feet, and is abundant in the intermediate rocky-sandy and sediment-rich areas. This fish is not for beginners simply because it is an extremely ill-tempered fish. I purchased a lone male but had to return him to the store after an hour because he was so obnoxious; he threatened to impose anarchy in my tank. He tried to mate with anything that moved, regardless of gender or species. This is the most aggressive Mbuna I have ever encountered. Due to their aggressive nature, this species should not be housed in anything less than 75 gallons, especially if you plan to keep more than one.

These fish are very cute as juveniles, displaying blue and white vertical bars. As a result, this fish is easily sold to beginners, and consequently, is almost always available in local fish shops. Males turn a gorgeous orange, while females retain their original blue and white bar morphology, although the blue turns a very dark blue, almost black. Maylandia lombardoi femaleAn intersting note is that when mouthbrooding, females will assume the coloration of males. In addition, they will defend a small territory during this period. Males can reach lengths of up to 6", while females are about 2/3 that size. Broods consist of 16-22 fry.

M. lombardoi is often sold as Pseudotropheus sp. "Kenyi" or Pseudotropheus lilancinius. "Kenyi" or "Kenneyi" is an older name while lilancinius is incorrect. As confusing as this may be, Pseudotropheus lombardoi and Maylandia lombardoi are acceptable alternative names for M. lombardoi.

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