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Astatotilapia latifasciata
by Marc Elieson


Astatotilapia latifasciata is commonly referred to as the "Zebra Obliquidens." This Victorian Hap is very common in the hobby, which is fortunate because it is now presumed extinct in the wild. It is easily distinguished because of the vibrant bursts of red and yellow on its belly with thick, vertical black bars on its silver body.

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Females are also considerably colorful, although they lack the bursts of red and yellow that the males possess. Furthermore, they are prolific spawners and females will actually guard the fry for up to two months after release. That means they can be raised in the same tank with the parents.

This fish has a mild temperament for a Victorian Hap, which are renowned for their ability to terrorize. When they do display aggression, its directed towards conspecifics (fish within the same species), even though multiple males and females can be peacefully housed together. They do best in ratios of 1 male to 2 or 3 females. Lots of rockwork or plants are always helpful in reducing the effects of a dominant male's aggression.

Males can reach a handsome size of five inches, while females are slightly smaller. This fish has several advantages over other Victorian Haps. We have already mentioned its milder disposition. This means you can keep another Victorian species in the same tank, provided there is no risk of hybridization. A. latifasciata can also be housed with many of the Peacocks and Utaka species from Lake Malalwi.

A. latifasciata is an omnivore, eating primarily the diet of an insectivore, but may go as far as to eat the fins and scales of other fishes, although this behavior has not been documented in captivity. As an omnivore, care should be taken that it receives a lot of protein (krill, mysis, daphnia) in its diet in combination with a color-enhancing (carotene-containing) flake food.
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