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Enantiopus sp. "Kilesa"
by Benjamin L. Smith

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Enantiopus sp. "Kilesa" is an absolutely beautiful fish from the waters of Lake Tanganyika. It is a sand sifter that builds very interesting nests which the males guard with great zeal, but little true aggression. The males swim in partial circles letting the sun reflect off of their colorful sides as the females swim by in schools searching for the most attractive mate.

Underwater Fish Iris Marine biology Electric blue


These fish come from the western shore of the lake between the cities of Kalemie and Kavala, Zaire1 which is only a 50 Km stretch of its 1828 Km shoreline. The water is very hard and alkaline and temperatures range from 77-79° F3.

Enantiopus sp. "Kilesa" is cigar shaped and attains a total length of 6 inches. As juveniles, they are silver in color. As adults, the females remain silver, whereas the males attain their characteristic yellow lips as well as iridescent green on their snout and iridescent blue down their sides. They have black in their pectoral and anal fins and yellow and blue spangling in their dorsal fin.

Fin Water Fish Underwater Marine biology


In nature, the males construct nests that consist of a shallow depression in the sand with small mounds or turrets of sand lining the edges. He will build a number of nests in his territory but when a female comes to spawn, they will only utilize one of his nests2. In the aquarium, my fish were not able to construct the full 2 foot diameter nest. Rather, they placed their small mounds on the edge of the glass along the outer perimeter of the nest but also constructed a smaller, inner circle of mounds approximately 6-8 inches in diameter.

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