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Scientific Name: Parananochromis ornatus
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Pronunciation: p
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Common Name(s): Formally Parananochromis sp. "Belinga"
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Geo. Origin: Irvindo and Ogowe River systems, Gabon
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Habitat: Shallow Forest Streams
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Diet: Omnivore
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Gender Differences: Dimorphic
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Temperament: Mildly Aggressive
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Conspecific Temperament: Mildly Aggressive
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Maximum Size: 3.5"
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Temperature: 70-75°F
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pH: 5.0-6.0
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Water Hardness: Very Soft
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Difficulty: 3
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Jaw Underwater Fin Fish Scaled reptile
Salmon-like fish Fin Fish Marine biology Ray-finned fish
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Photo Credit: Dr. Anton Lamboj
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Images:
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Male
Female
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Parananochromis ornatus is named after the Latin "ornatus" (handsome or splendid), in reference to this species' beautiful coloration. It is distinguished from the other species of the genus "by the possessioin of four (versus five) infraorbital bones (except P. brevirostris). It differs from P. brevirostris by the possession of a scaled chest, which is unscaled in P. brevirostris, a well-developed pharyngeal pad and, most of the time, 26 vertebrae (versus 25 in P. brevirostris)" (Lamboj & Stiassny, 2003).
P. ornatus exhibits high levels of sexual dimorphism and dichromatism (coloration). Males exhibit more pronounced pelvic, soft doral and anal fins than females. In both sexes, the first pelvic ray is the longest, but the second ray may occasionally be longer in females. Males sometimes exhibit a slight prolongation on the upper lobe of the caudal fin, as well as a more pronounced pattern of marginated flank scales than females. This latter characteristic is shared with P. brevirostris. Parananochromis are monogamous, bi-parental cave-spawning riverine species that, for the most part, are found in backwater streams and creeks in forestal biotopes. P. longirostris, however, is also found in some main rivers situated in southern Cameroon and Gabon.
In the wild, their water is generally soft, acidic to slightly alkaline (pH 6.1-7.4) and the conductivity is low 10-24 μS/cm at 22° C), depending on the biotope. P. ornatus, however, has been recorded in water where the pH was measured at 4.6 (Linke & Staeck, 1994:120). Water temperatues are fairly cool, from 21-24° C (70-75° F). Accordingly, these fishes should be housed in well-planted moderate to larger-sized aquaria, in soft, acidic water at moderate to fairly cool temperatures (</=75° F). Formal caves or cave-like structures need not be furnished. Parananochromis species are only marginally cave spawners that tend to spawn under objects in concealed areas. Due to their susceptibility to bacterial infection, water quality is quite important. Partial water changes should be performed weekly.
Parananochromis species seem to benefit from a diet similar to that which they encounter in the wild: algae, small shrimps, shrimp eggs, and insect larvae. Rich "meaty" foods should be fed sparingly. â€"Randall Kohn
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