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Copadichromis borleyi
by Marc Elieson

Water Nature Underwater Organism Fin

Copadichromis borleyi is quite common in the hobby, perhaps due in part to the several variants that have been collected and exported. While the pictures featured here are unique to the "Red Fin" variant from Kadango, C. borleyi "Red Fin" is also collected from Tawain Reef, Mbenji Island, Nkhungu Reef, and Ntekete. Each locale has a strain that has slight, yet noticeable characteristics. Another popular variant of this species is Copadichromis borleyi "Gold Fin", differing in that the male has a yellow body instead of the orange. C. borleyi is also distinguished by its long ventral fins. Some variants have much longer ventral fins than others, with the longer ones tending to extend the whole length of their body when tucked.

Only males are brightly colored, while females are black-bodied with orangish-red fins. C. borleyi is one of the largest of the Utaka species.

Water Nature Organism Fin Fish

Males attain sizes of six toseven inches in length, while females are just slightly smaller. Females of this variant seem to differ the most in appearance from locale to locale. Some females are very black while others are more silver.

Currently, I have four wild-caught females and one wild-caught male. When they arrived, they were all very dark, lacking any color. In fact, other than the shape of their fins, the male could not be readily distinguished from the females.

Within about a week, however, the male began to lighten up and his blue and ornage color returned. And after about three weeks, he spawned three times. These five fish (1m, 4fm) are usually seen schooling together. The male is very gentle with his females, and rarely displays any aggression towards them or any other tankmates, except during breeding when he will defend his territory against intruders.

Organism Food Fin Fish Adaptation

This aggression is more show than anything else. His claimedterritory at the time of spawning did not appear fixed, but instead, he chose a new location each time, however he always seems to pick an area next to a rock.

Incubation lasts a little longer than three weeks. Fry emerge already colored with a dark gray body and their fins are either yellow or orange, depending upon their geographic origin.

Copadichromis borleyi belongs to the Utaka group of Cichlids, meaning they feed on plankton in the open water. Notwithstanding, this speices lives in and around the rocks at a depth of 5-20 meters. In the wild, they can be spotted in and around rocks, within just a few meters of the bottom. In the aquarium, it is important that these fish be fed a good nutritious flake with lots of protein. Spirulina flakes and brine shrimp flakes are readily accepted. A good pellet for larger fish is best.

Water Fish Underwater Fin Marine biology

Due to the large size of this fish, it is best kept in tanks no smaller than 75 gallons. It is also a good idea to keep it with other similarly mild Cichlids, such as those from the genus.Aulonocara and many of the peaceful Haps. Avoid mixing Copadichromis species, as they may hybridize, limiting their biodiversity. For example, I found my Copadichromis azureus dancing to one of my borleyi females, but fortunately no interest was returned.
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