Approaching adulthood

26 01 2010

One of my juvenile Melanochromis dialeptos is changing from the juvenile colours seen here to his adult male colouration (which is midnight blue). He’s not quite there yet, and is currently a rather unattractive shade of brown:


The survivors

22 01 2010

Here is a pic of the Metriaclima pyrsonotos girls that are left. Fortunately I will be getting another 2/3 males and 4 more females to go with them – should make a nice breeding group!

Pyrsonotos Update

21 01 2010

I have been asking around forums, looking for input on what may have killed my Metriaclima pyrsonotos. Unfortunately it seems likely that it was ‘bloat’ rather than bullying. Bloat is a catch all term for a issue in the digestive tract, the first symptoms are a lack or absence of appetite – the balloon like swelling doesn’t occur until much later on when its too late. There are number of potential causes but stress and an overly protein rich diet are the main ones.  Once a fish has succumbed to bloat, it can spread rapidly to other fish so I will have to be on the lookout. I have also got some Octozin to use if I need it! Fingers crossed I don’t….

Special thanks to Colin @  Natural World and Mike Whitaker for their help and advice.

Labidochromis freibergi

19 01 2010

I recently set up a 3ft tank for my Pseudotropheus minutus as they were looking a bit sheepish in the big tank with the big fish. I also got a pair of Labidochromis freibergi. These are cute litte fish, the males are blue with diamond barring and the females are similar in silver. 

Unfortunately the male is in rather a hurry to have babies and was really giving the Mrs a hard time so hes back in the big tank for now. When the female is looking plump and ready I will repatriate him for a brief liason.

A sad day…

17 01 2010

On Saturday morning I woke up to find my Metriaclima pyrsonotos male struggling at the surface. He seemed to be unable to swim properly and was biting at the air. More worrying still he was so immobile that I was able to catch him with my bare hands! I quickly looked over him and their appeared to be some darkening round the underside of his belly which was also a little swollen and he had a very inflamed anus. I put him in a bucket with an air stone straight away but within 30 minutes he deteriorated very badly, lost the ability to stay upright and died.

I’m not usually too bothered about loosing a fish, its part and parcel of the hobby, but this was different. It seemed such a shame for this fish from come all the way from Malawi just to keel over in my tank. He was just starting to settle into the tank, and was beginning to show excellent colour too. Unfortunately I never managed to get a decent photo of him. Here he is in a coloured down state:

And this is what he looked like when coloured up (this is pic of a wild one taken by Ad Konigs):

I think now its obvious why I was so sad to loose this fish!

It was important to work out what happened to the fish, so I examined the body….


Read the rest of this entry »

Makokola Mayhem / Latest Stocklist

6 01 2010

My wild pair of Makokola have been getting increasingly frisky and correspondingly aggressive with it. Even the female has now become prone to chasing fish and my new patricki have been getting an especially hard time of it. They aren’t dangerously aggressive and haven’t killed any other fish but they are becoming over dominant and most of the other fish are showing very little colour – especially and most disappointingly my new wilds. They are very much bigger than all the fish in my tank bar the acei which are extremely passive. So very reluctantly, I am lending them to a friend who has a tank with plenty of other large aggressive adult mbuna as im not ready to part with them entirely.

I have also moved on a few bits and pieces, here is my current stocklist:


1m/2f Metriaclima pyrsonotus ‘Nakanthenga’

1m/1f Metriaclima patricki ‘Chidungu’

1m/1f Labidochromis freibergi ‘Likoma’

1m/1f Pseudotropheus cyaneorhabdos ‘Maingano’

1m/1f Pseudotropheus minutus ‘Manda’


7x Pseudotropheus sp ‘Ndumbi Gold

3x Melanochromis dialeptos


3x Labidochromis caeruleus

4x Labidochromis hongi

2x Pseudotropheus acei ngara

1x Pseudotropheus acai yellow tail

Mike’s Rifts

3 01 2010

Towards the end of what is now last year I took a trip upto Mike’s Rifts in Liverpool. In the end it was a very scarey ride. This was the weekend following the big snow in. While the area immediately around me was badly hit, the North wasn’t so I thought it safe to drive up. After gingerly making my way out of Hertfordshire, I hit the M1 and headed out into the sunshine and above zero temperatures. All was fine until I got towards Manchester and hit a blizzard. The conditions went from fine to terrible almost straight away and the motorway was becoming very dangerous with plenty of cars driving an awful lot faster than they ought to have been. The blizzard subsided and was replaced with torrential rain turning the new snow into 6 inches of mucky slush. After a few near misses and scares I finally made it to Mike’s house albeit a little shaken up.

After a nice brew we went to the fish house which more closely resembled an Aladdins Cave than a garage / shed. I can quite easily say that it contailed some of the most impressive cichlid fish that I have ever seen. Unfortunately the snow had started falling again so I could not stay long – fearing a difficult return to London. The wild tropheus and haps were especially impressive. I have attached a picture of an Aulonocara Maylandi which is probably the best Malawi cichlid I have seen yet – the photos do the fish no justice at all. Mike has an interesting approach to his tanks – they have no substrate and are filtered by a large chunk of filter sponge that covers a side panel of the tank. It clearly works, almost all of the fish were in full colour.

In the end I left with a pair of Labidchromis freibergi ‘Likoma Island’, Metriaclima patriki ‘Chidunga Rocks’, and a trio of Metriaclima pyrsonotus ‘Nakanthenga Island’. I will post about these fish individually in due course along with plenty of photos.

Mike kindly packed my fish with ammonia lock in the bags and gave me a heatpack for the polybox I had brought so in theory the fish would be safe for upto 24 hours. The drive back was indeed pretty long, 5 hours in total but the fish were all fine and are now settling in….