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'Haplochromis' cyaneus
by Greg Steeves

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'Haplochromis' cyaneus is known from three locations; Makobe Island, Chamagati Island and Nansio Island, all in the southern portion of Lake Victoria. Gut samples yield algae, diatoms and fly larvae, all obtained through grazing on large algae encrusted rocks (Seehausen, 1998). Male size at adulthood is 10cm while the female matures to a slightly smaller size of 9cm. In its native habitat, 'Haplochromis' cyaneus is found continuously grazing solitarily or in small groups. Breeding occurs year round.

Vertebrate Green Nature Organism Fin


The females (pictured above) sports a silver or beige colored body with the lightest portion prevalent in the underbelly. A midlateral black bar begins at the eye socket and continues in a straight line to the edge of the gill plate. Here it gaps slightly only to continue on to the end of the caudal peduncle. Another thin black bar begins beyond the gill plate and proceeds along the flank following the curvature of the back just under the dorsal fin. This bar ends in front of the caudal peduncle. Both paired and unpaired fins are translucent. Slight vertical barring is visible but not nearly as pronounced as the two horizontal bars. Females may sport solitary ocelli on the anal fin but it in not developed as seen in the male, lacking a clear orbit.

Male coloration is much more vibrant. In sexually mature fish, the vertical and horizontal crosshatching is visible albeit faded when in comparison to those of the female. The body is tinged light blue and intensifies to a solid pastel blue in the dorsal fin. A red edging lines the entire length of the dorsal fin. The caudal fin is solid red while the anal fin is almost white with tinges of red and blue at the base and at the extremities. Up to six ocelli dot the anal fin and
cross the fins rays. Pelvic fins generally have a blue tinge to them but when dominance occurs, these fins turn solid black. A face bar begins at the corner of the mouth and continues through the eye socket and stretching around the forehead. A metallic blue blotch is splattered from the top lip to the iris.

We received a small group of fry from an exchange with friends in the French Haplochromis Association in September of 2008. To our good fortune we ended up with a group of four fish, three females and a male. This group was raised in an 80 liter aquarium with an air driven sponge filter, thin sand substrate, and rocks of varying sizes piled along the back side of the aquarium. While still small fry, a daily regiment of crushed spirulina flake and frozen cyclops seemed to be an agreeable combination which resulted in steady growth. At a size or 1.5cm, feeding was cut to every second day. This is generally a good rule of thumb for all haplochromine cichlids as rapid growth results in a shorten life span and reduced breeding activity at adulthood (personal observation). Other than sporadic water changes of between 50% and 80% bimonthly, not much else in the way of upkeep was employed. Some small Anubias species along with several algae eating snails (Neritina reclivata) worked to enhance the nitrogen cycle. This tank was lit by a basic 20 watt florescent aquarium bulb. We generally try to add these snails or small Ancistrus species to the fry tanks. These creatures will tend to any flake food that is not consumed by the small fish eliminating the possibility of decaying food matter tainting the water.

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