Boulengerochromis microlepis from Lake Tanganyika

Boulengerochromis microlepis

Closeup Boulengerochromis microlepis. Photo by Ad Konings

Commonly known as the Emperor Cichlid, Boulengerochromis microlepis is a giant from Lake Tanganyika. Reaching sizes of 20 inches in length and rumored to reach up to 3 feet, B. microlepis is the largest known cichlid. Due to its size, it is unlikely that anything other than a juvenile will be seen in the hobby. Outside of Lake Tanganyika adult B. microlepis can sometimes be found in public aquariums.

In the lake Boulengerochromis microlepis are found along the rocky shores when they are very young. As B. microlepis mature they make their way into deeper waters reaching depths of 100 yards or more. They prey on smaller fish and will consume anything they can fit into their mouths. When not spawning, adult B. microlepis form small groups and swim around looking for food. Spawning takes place in a sandy dugout and can number in the thousands although very few offspring reach maturity. Both parents will care for the young until they are large enough to swim off on their own. To discuss Boulengerochromis microlepis visit the Lake Tanganyika Species forum.

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