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[DRAFT] Protomelas taeniolatus "Red Empress"
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Joined: 12 Jan 2005
Location: Vero Beach, FL

PostPosted: 2005.01.12(Wed)21:56    Post subject: [DRAFT] Protomelas taeniolatus "Red Empress" Reply with quote

Figured I would start an article on the Protomelas taeniolatus, the red empress! If people would like to help with information and whatnot, I would really appreciate it. Info on breeding is much desired. I will be replacing this photo with a higher-res, improved version in the future as well as adding more photos.

Adult male in breeding colors

Name: Protomelas taeniolatus (Red Empress, Super Red Empress)
Origin: Lake Malawi, Africa. Line bred strain of P. taeniolatus "Namalenje Island" variety.
Size: 8"-9" (22 cm) max, females smaller. Max size is generally 6" (15 cm)
Tank: 75 gallons (280L), 100 gallons or more preferred
pH: 7.6-8.2
Water hardness: Very hard
Temperature: 76-82 degrees F (25-28 C)

The Red Empress is a beautiful haplochromine line bred from the Namalenje strain in Lake Malawi. As is usual for haps, the males are the showy ones whereas females are drab gray/brown with black horizontal striping. The males generally color up around three inches. During courting and breeding, the male will actively and aggressively defend a large territory, driving out any fish that may inadvertently enter the territory. When not breeding, the male will no longer defend this territory and will allow any fish to go into it and be overall very peaceful. They are very aggressive against other males of their kind and it is not recommended to have more than one male in a tank unless the tank is very large.

They are herbivores but very opportunistic feeders. They will do fine on a varied diet including spirulina as well as meaty flakes/pellets. I feed a mix of spirulina flake and color-enhancing pellets. Empresses are bloat-prone, thus small, frequent feedings are preferred over one or two large feedings. The empress is not so much a digger as it is a relentless sand-sifter, at least in my experience. In a tank with sand as the substrate it will regularly scoop up sand in its mouth and scatter it all over the tank, on plants, on rocks, and yes, next to the filter intake. Therefore, an intake with a sponge prefilter and/or the heavy pool filter sand are recommended to protect the filter impellor from sand damage. Generally, they will not bother plants and appear to appreciate a planted tank with some room to sift. Mine also enjoys the rock structure in my tank for hiding whenever something strange is happening in the tank such as an invading siphon tube. Rocks and caves are needed, but these structures must be planned to allow for plenty of available swimming room.

The empress is a fantastic addition to larger African setups. They also seem to show a great interest in the world outside their tank; mine watches my activities just about as much as I watch his!

So that's what I've got so far. I welcome any and all additions/corrections. I have photos of my male before he colored up completely, with a black horizontal stripe, and of him in his breeding suit, but I do not have photos of fry, very young juveniles and females. These would be appreciated! Also, as stated above detailed breeding information would be greatly appreciated.
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Marcos Avila

Joined: 05 Feb 2003
Location: Hiroshima (JP)

PostPosted: 2005.01.18(Tue)3:31    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, that is an absolutely gorgeous hap, too bad the name "gorgeous hap" is already taken by Protomelas similis Wink

The generic description you've provided looks great, but to add a more personal touch to your comment it'd be nice if you also talked a little bit more about your own fish in your own tank, what's the tank size, how old your fish are, how much they've grown in how long a time, any particular antics, etc...

Excellent submission though, it'll be a great addition to the Gallery!
Are you a Fish-HAVER or a Fish-KEEPER?
Success with a fish/tank is measured in YEARS, not months or weeks...
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Joined: 12 Jan 2005
Location: Vero Beach, FL

PostPosted: 2005.01.19(Wed)20:06    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, Marcos! I'm holding off any updates for now because I just added a fish that I think (hope) is a female empress but I'm not sure, and until I know beyond a reasonable doubt, I'd like to hold off on further updates to this profile. In a few days or weeks or so I'll post some more on here!
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