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The Little Known Arrow-fish; Yssichromis
by Greg Steeves


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This is another small cichlid with a maximum length of 8cm. Both females and quiescent males display a body coloration of metallic silver. All fins both paired and unpaired are largely translucent. The sexually active male sports an orange-red blaze with a prominent eye bar. The pelvic fins are black with orange dorsal, anal and caudal fins. One to three ocelli dot the back portion of the anal fin. The head is arrow shaped with a sleek tapered body akin to other Yssichromis species.

Scaled reptile Fish Reptile Marine biology Tail

Yssichromis pyrrhocephalus

These fish make ideal aquarium residents providing that the aquarium sports some sort of décor.

Yssichromis fusiformis (Greenwood & Gee, 1969)

From the Buuvuma Channel west of Nienda and Vuga Islands in Uganda (Lake Victoria), Yssichromis fusiformis was taken from deep waters in open expanses. The body shape is of the "classic" arrowhead form common to this genus. Males grow to 11cm while females rarely reach 9cm. This is a very colorful fish with males having a purple coloration on the top portion of the body blending to a golden yellow color at the belly. The pelvic fins are black while the other fins are mostly colorless. Usually three orbited ocelli dot the anal fin. Females have a bluegrey back shading to sliver on the abdomen.

Yssichromis sp. "argens"

Originally catalogued from the Tanzanian waters of Lake Victoria, Yssichromis sp. "argens" is widely considered to be extinct in the wild. A small population is presently maintained in captivity within the AZA's (American Zoos and Aquariums) Lake Victoria Species Survival Plan (LV-SSP). As far as I can ascertain, these fish are held in a single institution. One can only hope that the colony is still strong and can be filtered to dedicated hobbyists who have repeatedly proved their worth in dealing with propagation of endangered haplochromine species from Africa.

This zooplankton feeder was a schooling open water species before massive ecological changes took place in the 1980's. The maximum length of this species is 9cm with no noticeable difference between the sexes. There is considerable evidence suggesting that Y. sp. "argens" may be synonymous with Yssichromis fusiformis. Captive care for Y. sp. "argens" should pose no difficulty as it has been reared successfully in captivity for over 20 years. One should employ a similar husbandry strategy as needed for other members of the genus.

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