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Astatotilapia flaviijosephi - The only Non-African Haplochromine
by Greg Steeves

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The population I am working with originated at a location known today as the Hakibbutzim Stream Nature Reserve in Israel. This is a heavily vegetated stream. It has since become a highly protected area and, as such, hopefully a stronghold for this amazing cichlid for years to come.

Water Fin Underwater Scaled reptile Fish


I am truly fortunate to have wonderful friends all over the world. Anyone who knows me knows well my attraction to the haplochromine type cichlids. I count myself extremely privileged to have such great people always in the hunt for a new species for me to try. Perhaps one of the greatest international fish ambassadors in recent years is my friend Dr. Anton Lamboj. There is no way I could possibly give him the acknowledgement he deserves for introducing so many beautiful cichlids into the aquarium hobby. It was through Anton that I was able to acquire A. flaviijosephi. On a visit in August of 2009, with a large smile, Anton presented me with five A. flaviijosephi of slightly over 1cm in size. Once they settled in to their prepared aquaria, growth was rapid and the biggest, a male, began to color. These fish are a basic tan-silver coloration with twelve faint vertical bars crossing the flanks. Fins are transparent. Dominant male coloration is spectacular! The entire underside is jet-black as are the pelvic fins. Two or three large orange egg spots adorn the anal fin. These ocelli cross the fin rays. The bottom lip is bright blue. A black bar begins at the top of the eye socket and continues downward past the corner of the mouth and merging with the black of the throat. The base coloration of the head is tan while the body is a similar coloration with a slight reddish tinge. Beginning around the pectoral socket and continuing rearward towards the caudal peduncle is an orange splotched area. This coloration is restricted to the abdomen. Dark blotching along the flanks occurs in both sexes when stressed. The male overall is a much darker fish than the female.

The manner in which I fashioned the aquarium used to house A. flaviijosephi was rather simple. I do enjoy my aquariums to be ascetically pleasing so limited aquascaping was employed. First the tank was a small 29 gallon bow front. This was meant to be a grow-out tank and my intention was to move the fish once they got larger. I hadn't expected to have a successful spawning from such small fish. An aquaclear power filter coupled with bi weekly water changes maintained pristine water quality. A small piece of driftwood with several sprigs of Anubias nana attached provided a centerpiece. Two larger rocks were situated to one side. The substrate was light pool filter sand. These simple elements seemed to be all that was necessary to allow the fish comfort enough to grow and spawn.

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