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Scientific Name: Oreochromis variabilis
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Tints and shades Font Rectangle Pattern Monochrome photography
Pronunciation:
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Font Tints and shades Pattern Electric blue Symmetry
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Tints and shades Font Rectangle Pattern Monochrome photography
Geo. Origin: Lakes Victoria, Kyoga, Sailsbury, and Kwania and Victoria Nile
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Tints and shades Font Rectangle Pattern Monochrome photography
Habitat: Over muddy bottoms near rocky shores
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Tints and shades Font Rectangle Pattern Monochrome photography
Diet: Herbivore
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Tints and shades Font Rectangle Pattern Monochrome photography
Gender Differences: Dimorphic
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Tints and shades Font Rectangle Pattern Monochrome photography
Breeding: Maternal Mouthbrooder
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Tints and shades Font Rectangle Pattern Monochrome photography
Temperament: Peaceful
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Tints and shades Font Rectangle Pattern Monochrome photography
Conspecific Temperament: Mildly Aggressive
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Tints and shades Font Rectangle Pattern Monochrome photography
Maximum Size: 12"
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Tints and shades Font Rectangle Pattern Monochrome photography
Temperature: 74-78°F
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Tints and shades Font Rectangle Pattern Monochrome photography
pH: 7.2-8.6
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Tints and shades Font Rectangle Pattern Monochrome photography
Water Hardness: Hard
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Tints and shades Font Rectangle Pattern Monochrome photography
Difficulty: 3
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Water Nature Fin Organism Fish
Water Fin Organism Fish Underwater
Water Fin Organism Fish Underwater
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Photo Credit: Kevin Bauman
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Images:
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Columbus Zoo
Columbus Zoo
Columbus Zoo
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Oreochromis variabilis is now extinct from much of its former range. It is now a rare find in Lake Victoria, once the predominant tilapiine species along rocky shores. In the wild, adults feed on loose algae along the bottom (diatoms and rarely phytoplankton). Juveniles feed on the algae growth on the rocks in shallow water. Males create shallow saucer-shaped nests in shallow, sandy areas during the spawning season. This nest is quite unique. The saucer is 5-11" in diamtere, with rim of raised sand (about 1" tall). The saucer is then surrounded by a larger circle of small pits, which forms the center of an even larger shallow pit approximately 3 feet in diameter. During spawning, the female will take the male's genital tassel into her mouth to collect the sperm to fertilize her eggs. She then broods the eggs in her mouth for 3 weeks before releasing them in the shallow water. Brooding females will congregate in small groups. The Adults have characteristic orange to red dorsal fin lappets. Unique among Tilappines, O. variabilis has a beautiful OB morph (in addition to the normal greenish-gray to blue color). It also has a piebald form (which is quite rare) and an O-form (even more rare). This polychromatism gave rise to its name: variabilis.
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