Name: Labeotropheus fuelleborni|
Origin: Lake Malawi (Africa)|
I have had three of these fish for about a year now. They have tripled in size and love nothing better than to swim up and down the side of the glass, cleaning. I have not yet been successful in breeding this species, but I have two males and one female and they do not fight that much among each other at all. One male is paired with the female, therefore the other male stays well away from them. I keep them in a tank with other cichlids and they seem to be able to handle themselves rather well.
I have 3 of these beautiful creatures. One male and 2 females. My male is only 5 cm and the females are much smaller, around 3 cm. There's a variety of color morphs and I have the orange blotch. The males when mature turn blue in color, while the females are orange with brown patches. Both males and females can have egg spots present at their anal fins. There's also a case of 1 out of 100 that a male can have the female coloration. They have a unique nose, as they usually eat and scrape algae from rocks. My wife had nicknamed them buttons, because of their cute noses. They're a great addition to the tank and, to my observation, they're semi aggressive to other tank mates. You will often find them nibbling on the rocks/rockwork and even the airline. Mine starts from the bottom and works himself all the way to the top, then starts all over again. Very cool fish.
I have noticed that given a choice of flakes, pellets and discs, that these fish prefer the discs. They gnaw on them as if the discs were algae-covered rocks. They don't seem to know what to do with the other foods. They also go slowly up the glass, nibbling, just like the other fish we normally call algae-eaters. I had been apprehensive about including them in my mbuna tank, because I thought they were supposed to be very aggressive, but so far they seem more timid than either my Pseudotropheus sp. "Magunga Deep" or my Pundamilia nyererei "Makobe Island". I bought them all at a size of 3 cm. It is my guess that, because they are supposed to grow up to be larger than the others, they may be younger than the others at the same size. Perhaps they will not be so shy when everyone grows up.
I own a breeder pair of these fish, and I will tell you the picture does them no real justice. They are slightly temperamental to other fish, especially other fuelleborni. Breedeing this cichlid for me has been a breeze, just keep the temp a bit warmer than normal and cut back on feedings and they should do all the work for you.
I also have 1 male and 2 females. This must be a good combination, because within weeks of putting the three of them together both of the females had a mouthful of fry, and they haven't stopped breeding since. I find that mine aren't as aggressive as I was led to believe, but that's a good thing.
I have 4 females and one male in my 240 litre tank, and they get along with all of my fish. When I first got them I was told not to mix them with other cichlids, because they are aggressive, but I have only found them the slightest bit aggressive during their breeding. They love to dig up the gravel and create holes under ornaments. They also love all the foods I give them, including algae wafers which I feed to my plecos, but these fish are always there first nibbling on the algae. When they reach full size they are easy to breed, so you might need some tanks for the many fry that you get. The females are a very passive fish, but the male sometimes chases them around. This is usually during the breeding stage. These are a great fish and I recommend them to any fish enthuiast.
I first bred these around 1969-71. I bought my first in about 1969 and had added to my original trio from time to time. Back then, no one advised me and maybe because they did not know, that these fish are essentially vegetarian. However, they made a mess of my expensive plants. One day, in frustration, I thought "I will fix their little red wagon' so I went to the local river where I had observed Elodea growing wild. I brought back a large garbage bag full and planted that 470 liter tank so densely that you could not see one side from the other. Surprise, surprise! Within a few weeks, I saw dozens of fry. Now I grow Elodea in the bottom tank of a set of three 2 meter tanks so that I don't have to collect in the cold, deep winter river waters and each Spring I replenish my supply. I feed it to all my Malawis. They eat off the leaves, I throw the stalks back into the growing tank and mostly they recover to be cycled again. As I write this, I am looking at a Labidochromis trewavasae with a very big mouthful. Have to remember to bring brine shrimp nauplii into the office tomorrow.
I saw four L. fuelleborni adults in a tank in a local pet store, which were on sale for US$2.99 each. Two of the females were holding. I watched which of the other two was the dominant male, and had therefore bred with the females. I purchased the trio, took them home, stripped the females, and 10 days later I have 30 normal babies and about 10 albinos! I've never seen an albino fuelleborni here in Utah where I live. Breeding them should bring a nice new fish to the hobby in our area, especially since the Snow White Socolofi are so popular.
I have a 200 L community tank where I have a pair of fuelleborni. The male is very beautiful with dark stripes on blue, with an orange belly. His fins are very long and curving and when he displays for the female it is a sight! They are not very aggressive towards the other fish and hardly chase like the zebra do. I also have a male and three female Mbipia lutea with them who are the most docile fish in the tank. The most aggressive are the leleupi! My fuelleborni female had 53 babies at one time that are all alive and she once again has a brood in her mouth!
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