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Neochromis omnicaeruleus
by Greg Steeves
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Two decades ago, when we were all infatuated with the haplochromines coming out of East Africa, the new choices available to the hobbyist were almost overwhelming. So many beautiful new fish were accessible that I donít believe many gave them the attention they deserved. We didnít know that many of these fish were a one shot deal and might never be seen again. We unfortunately lost several species because, quite frankly, the significance of their being in the hobby was not realized until they were gone. Then it was too late.


Neochromis omnicaeruleus Makobe Island

Many species have lingered around although not in great number. In some cases, it is the work of a single or few hobbyists that have been responsible for keeping lines of these fishes in existence today. In other instances, a species has been commercially produced by the fish farms (primarily in Florida) and have been accessible to the hobbyist via their favorite retailer. While the second option has been the best for the survival of the species in captivity, with pressures facing the independent fish farmer, pond space is usually needed for a crop with a larger market production value. That said, there are still several farmers who seem to have a special place in their heart for several haplochromine species and have devoted space to their existence. One of the cichlids fortunate to be included in this group is a beautiful Lake Victoria species known as Haplochromis sp. 'tricolor fulu'.


Neochromis omnicaeruleus Ruti Island

In my experience, this fish grows to 12cm with the male always a little larger than the female. The male is a dark blue coloration with 7-9 vertical bars lining the flanks. The rounded forehead is similar to what we seen in Neochromis species such as N. nigricans. The mouth is structured a little differently but with Seehausenís description of Neochromis in 1998, included were several species that did not contain the 'Tropheus- like' mouth structure. The pelvic fins have the salmoniod characteristic of being bright red with black border on the first extended rays. The anal fin is red at the beginning fading to light blue and then to hyaline. A small number of orange ocelli dot the posterior portion. A red tinge can be found on the caudal fin. The dorsal fin is colored a beautiful cyan with red edging. Female 'tricolor fulu' are marbled orange-blotched. No two fish are colored exactly the same so it is possible to have some aesthetically pleasing individuals and, due to patterning, some that are not visually outstanding.

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