Astatotilapia latifasciata

Astatotilapia latifasciata pair. Photo by Robert De Leon​

It is a common misconception that all Victorian cichlids come from Lake Victoria. The term "Victorian cichlid" is used as a catch-all for cichlids from Lake Victoria and the smaller surrounding lakes, rivers, streams and swamps. Astatotilapia latifasciata were originally native to Lake Kyoga until pollution and predation from non-native species wiped them out. A small population may still exist in neighboring Lake Nawampasa. The two lakes are separated by a swampy area and it is believed that the Lake Nawampasa population made their way across before they disappeared from Lake Kyoga.

Both sexes have the black bars on their backs, but only the males sport the bright red and yellow on their sides. Astatotilapia latifasciata was one of the first species of Victorian cichlids I ever kept. These fish are prolific spawners and my trio quickly spawned out of control. I couldn't give them away fast enough. They are generally not very aggressive and make a great addition to many different types of aquarium setups. They can also be housed with certain other Victorian cichlids without much risk of hybridization. If you would like to read more about Astatotilapia latifasciata, take a look at the Species Profile by Marc Elieson.