Pseudotropheus elongatus 'Mbenji Brown'
I have a P. elongatus 'Mbenji Brown', one of the numerous varieties of the
P. elongatus species. This particular variety is not very commonly seen, but still is exported widely from Mbenji Island in Lake Malawi. As the name implies, it is a shade of brown, but really that is just the vertical lines. This fish is striped with dark brown stripes all across the body, and they make a contrast with a much lighter white brownish colour with some blue iridescent hues. Colour intensity depends on each individual fish. The dorsal fin has a blue whitish edging that makes this fish look attractive. There are also yellow shadings on the caudal fin and spread out over the rest of the fins.
This fish can be housed in a mbuna community of 150 L and up, with lots of rockwork from the base and all the way up to the water surface. These fish do need good quality water, and well oxygenated too. Water should be hard and alkaline and water changes of 20-35% weekly are very much appreciated. Some open spaces also are a good idea with some sandy or fine course substrate. Vegetation is not seen in its natural habitat, but it might help it to become more acclimated to the tank environment. They tend to graze on algae that grows on rocks and on the glass mostly. Algae is to be supplied, but if it is not possible then they should be fed heavily on algae flakes and spirulina foods. An important thing to remember for all Mbunas is that they shouldn't be fed with live foods such as bloodworms or brine shrimp.
Elongatus are maternal mouthbrooders and breeding may not take place after a long time, as it takes the fish a long time to get comfortable in the tank, although sometimes you may be lucky and the female spawn right after being added. Caves nooks and crannies are necessary and they will keep in there for most of the time, while holding the eggs.
This fish is not particularly aggressive, but has a habit to pick on my Lombardoi females and can become very territorial towards non-aggressive species. It can be added to most Mbuna communities and it becomes very strongly coloured when it displays itself to other inhabitants. They are quite beautiful and are best kept with similarily sized cichlids for best results.
IMHO one of the most beautiful Malawis. Mine are light blue with black vertical stripes and yellow fins. I would say it's medium aggressive, and if the tank isn't too small it can be mixed with most other mbunas.
I am very suprised by the dominance and aggression displayed by this interesting fish. I have one of these guys in my 200 L mixed Malawi tank. He is constantly chasing the other larger fish around despite his smaller size. He displays beautiful color when he is aggressive and/or hungry. Very fun fish to watch and own!!
I have had my male elongatus cichlid for almost two years now. He is about 18 cm long, living in a 100 litre on his own for a very good reason: he loves to kill. When he was about 15 cm I kept him in a 600 litre tank with a 20 cm male jaguar cichlid, an 18 cm female green terror, a 10 cm female kennyi, two 12 cm red zebras and a 16 cm synodontis. He ended up killing my other three Malawi cichlids, he seriously beat up my green terror and synodontis. The only thing standing in his way of becoming king of the tank was my male jaguar. Even so, he would try and attack my jaguar which eventually would over power the elongatus. After his killing spree I moved him into his own 100 litre tank where he lives hapilly. Elongatus cichlids are really beautiful fish with a lot of character, unfortunately mine was a psychopathic killer.
Whenever I read that these mbuna are aggressive, I think that there should be mention made of the size of their aquarium. Of course, housing these guys in less than 800 liters turns them into bad boys. I suggest that you observe them in a 2000 liter aquarium and you will see practically no aggression and nobody ever gets hurt or bullied. Since mbuna are essentially algae eaters, they like to be assured of an abundant personal algae supply via a nice sized algae garden. Whenever you can give each fish a bottom surface of at least 1 square meter, there will be little aggression.
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