Placidochromis sp. “phenochilus Tanzania”

placidochromis

Placidochromis sp. “phenochilus Tanzania”. Photo credit: Placidochromis phenochilus.jpg, © MdE at Wikimedia Commons, GFDL 1.2+ or CC-BY-SA 3.0

Placidochromis sp. “phenochilus Tanzania” is a unique fish found along the Tanzanian coast of northern Lake Malawi. Commonly known as the Star Sapphire Cichlid, it gets its name from its blue color and bright white blotches. This yet-to-be officially described species is similar to Placidochromis phenochilus, but with a couple obvious differences. P. sp. “phenochilus Tanzania” does not develop the bright white lips of P. phenochilus. Also, P. sp. “phenochilus Tanzania” has the characteristic white blotching not seen on P. phenochilus.

In the lake Placidochromis sp. “phenochilus Tanzania” spends most of its day feeding over the sandy bottom. Its feeding behavior is unusual as it follows other sand-sifting fish species when they feed. Any small invertebrates missed or expelled through the gills of the other fish are scooped up by P. sp. “phenochilus Tanzania”.

The white blotching is what makes Placidochromis sp. “phenochilus Tanzania” stand out from other species. As male P. sp. “phenochilus Tanzania” mature they begin to develop their blue color. As they get older, the white blotches begin to appear. The pattern and amount of blotches is unique to each fish. This species can get quite large in the aquarium. Best kept over a sandy substrate in groups of a single male to multiple females. A short article by Marc Elieson can be found in the library. Discussion can be done in the Lake Malawi Species forum.

 

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