Name: Pseudotropheus elongatus|
Origin: Lake Malawi (Africa)|
There are several types of P. elongatus. The one shown here is the most common and they all with one exception make really good additions to a mbuna tank. There is one variant which is extremely aggressive and should not be considered for normal compatibilty and he has no bars across his forehead - solid colour. Any of the P. elongatus variants with stripes across the forehead may be considered OK. We presently have the variant 'Neon Spot', which is solid midnight blue with electric blue spots (sort of like truncated stripes) along his back just under the dorsal - the females are the same, but less impressive. Really neat fish, fights his corner but doesn't seek trouble, good breeder and not too big. Everyone's favourite when they first see our tank. Feed with good flake and lots of veggies, peas, zucchini, blanched lettuce etc, as for any mbuna, get 2-3 females for one male - sit back and enjoy!
I purchased this fish at the same time as a livingstoni, a yellow lab, a moori and a red fin. They all got along really well for the first 3 weeks (280 liter tank). Then the elongatus started digging tunnels big time! When he got the 5 caves the way he wanted them, he claimed them all as his territory. He has become an extremely aggressive fish. He is half the size of the Livingstoni and the Moori, but bullies them anyway. This fish is really nice looking, but due to the endless fin nipping, biting and fighting I'm going to try and sell it back to the pet shop.
Mbuna thrive in really crowded conditions, for example 15-20 adult fish in a benchmark 170 L is not too many, as long as you have really good filtration and do plenty of water changes to keep nitrates to under 25 ppm. They also need plenty of rock and are best not mixed in high intensity set ups with other malawis such as Haps and Utaka - the mbuna are just way too boisterous and the others will be stressed out. There is one Ps Elongatus variant which does not have any bars across its face, it is solid Indigo across its face with lighter blue and indigo striped body and it exhibits the levels of aggression like M. Auratus and Ps Lombardoi - they're a real pain in the butt. All the others have bars and they are in my experience very striking fish, not too hard on the ladies and keep to themselves. In my set up the two dominant fish are the Elongatus and a big F1 Caerulius and, the elongatus just about holds his own - ie not the most feisty fish in the world!
I bought 2 of these little devils at the same time than 2 electric yellows. They were all young and small (the biggest was an exception at a little under 5 cm long). I prepared a beautiful 110 liters brand new aquarium to try cichlids. I created many caves and hiding places. Of all sizes as I knew they were going to grow. Pfew! This was a bad experiment. The salesperson told me that in such an aquarium, I could easily get 3 couples together. Forget it! The day after they were introduced, the hierarchy was already made. The biggest tropheus, then the smaller one, then the biggest labs, then at last, the smaller one. Everyone of them was chasing the ones under it, and being chased by the ones over it. It was more of a ring than an aquarium. The biggest tropheus explored the aquarium, chose a permanent "home" in the middle of the tank, chose a secondary "residence" at one end of the tank, and "bought" a holiday one at the other end... and declared them as "his territory". Leaving no places at all for all three others. 2 days later, the labs had anal fins damaged and I had to put them in my 110 liters community tank. In that new tank, both labs are fine...for now. I rearranged the "cichlid tank", so that there are no caves in the middle, and 2 at each end of the tank. A small one, and a big one. They each chose one of the small so they feel safe. But at the beginning (and still now), the big bully felt so confused, that he is now still the "king of the tank", but he is much much more shy, only pointing his nose out of his lair to eat; putting an end to the endless chasing.
P. elongatus in my mind has to be one of those fish you just don't want in a community tank, unless you enjoy seeing the other fish attacked over and over again! I've seen these fish take over entire tank bottoms with what has to be regarded as sheer brutality. However, if kept in a tank over 400 L, they seem to become a bit less nasty. They are a very high strung cichlid with extensive territorial demands, that will be met one way or the other...buyer beware!
I currently have one in a 200 litre tank with a red zebra, a crabro cichlid and 2 yellow labs. This fish is the least aggressive and stays to his area in the rock work in the back of the tank. He will occasionally nip at the red zebras tail and swim as fast as he can to his cave. Other than that he's always swimming in and out of the rocks and adds a lot of color to the tank. He will even come to the top of the tank and eat out of my hand.