The Malawi shell dweller, Metriaclima sp. lanisticola north lives in empty shells from the Lanisticola snail. Apart from a typical mbuna shape, lanisticola north has a smaller mouth and the head has a smooth slope. The body coloration is variable. The upperparts may be rusty brown while scales of the flanks are light blue and edged with copper. The body is marked with several vertical bands that may be apparent or inconspicuous. Female fish may be yellowish. The fins match the body color, except for the yellow anal fin. The caudal fin has irregular yellow and blue stripes. Females hold eggs for only 16 days. There are three populations. On the west coast north of Monkey Bay, the fish are 2.4 inch shell dwellers. Populations south of Crocodile Rock are larger and forage over sand. In between they use the intermediate habitat. At Kanchedza Island, lanisticola north has been observed cleaning fungus or parasites from the fins of other cichlids.
Pronunciation: Refer to our Pronunciation Key for an explanation of the phonetic symbols.
Habitat: This is the primary location where the cichlid is found and is a generalization. This does not mean a fish cannot be found in other habitats.
Diet: Many cichlids specialize in eating one type of food; notwithstanding, some of these specialized feeders are flexible and can be opportunistic feeders.
Temperament: This describes the overall demeanor of a cichlid toward other tankmates that are of a different species. Consider that there is variability in temperament due to various factors, including aquarium size, tankmates of similar appearance, stocking levels, and order of introduction. There may even be some variability among individual specimens.
Conspecific Temperament: This describes the overall demeanor of a cichlid toward other tank- mates of the same species. Consider that there is variability in temperament due to such factors as aquarium size, stocking levels and order of introduction. There may even be some variability among individual specimens.
Maximum Size: This is in regards to total length (including the tail) of typical aquarium specimens. Wild specimens may not attain this size, or may in fact grow larger than aquarium raised individuals due to various factors. Also consider that this is the typical maximum size and there are exceptional individuals that will exceed it.
This measure is a relative value, comparing a single species against all
This only accounts for maintanence in the aquarium and not breeding
1 = easy and forgiving, 5 = extremely challenging.