One of the beautiful cichlid family is The African Butterfly cichlid. It is a small riverine cichlid from Western Africa. Specifically southeast Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Western Liberia. It rarely grows up to more than 4″ in total length and it has a temperament quite similar to that of the kribensis – relatively peaceful, rarely the substrate digger to, and it seldom bothers plants. Even in a mixed species aquarium they could pairs and tight family groups which allow them to breed successfully . Of course, it is an acceptable candidate for the comtank.
They are quite difficult to distinguish two sexes when they aren’t spawning. Both sexes are amber in color with blue spangling across the lateral scales from the eye to the caudal peduncle. Further, both the male and the female possess a forward pointing black cheek stripe, a black opercular blotch, and red and white edging on their dorsal fins. In additional random black blotches appear with changes in mood, and appear intensely on the female during spawning. The sexes also show no discernable difference in finnage. Thus, the only observable differences between the sexes are the female’s rounded abdomen is just prior to spawning and the male’s larger size about 4 inches, beside three inches in the female.
A group of six young fish was acquired from a local dealer and placed in a well-planted 30 gallon tank with several corydoras catfish and South American cichlids as tankmates. A number of flat stones were added to the tank as potential spawning sites. Local tap water was used and the temperature was maintained at 78 degrees. 50% weekly water changes and a good diet: pellets, various flakes, and live and frozen foods resulted in rapid growth and the fish reached adult size in less than 6 months.
At this moment, the males start to stake out territories around the tank. Fighting was minimal as heavy plantings till broke up sight lines and offered refuge to the losers of water sprite and Java moss . Spawning occurred at roughly ten day intervals immediately after a large water change and recurred. The quenn would start to clean several stones within the king’s territory. The king would soon join the quenn and one stone was selected as the spawning site. Spawning occurred in the usual manner, the female would lay a line of eggs across the selected stone , move away, and the king would follow to fertilize the eggs. This sequence was repeated until a clutch of approximately 250 eggs was deposited. The first and second spawns disappeared overnight, but the third was hatched successfully with both parents tending the eggs and fry. Post-hatching, the parents moved the fry to shallow pits away from the spawning site. The fry were moved several times before they were free swimming, at this point they began to feed on micro-organisms picked from the plants.
Micro worms and baby brine shrimp were added several days later as the fry grew rapidly. Losses were few even in a community tank, as the fry proved quite hearty and their parents were fearless in their defense.
Thus, Anomalochromis thomasi proved to be easy to breed. It is a beautiful, peaceful, and
worthwhile addition to any aquarium.
by Kenneth Balog
from Wet Pet Gazette, Norwalk Aquarium Society