Name: Pseudotropheus sp. 'kingsizei'
Origin: Lake Malawi (Africa)
We have (I think) 3 of these fish in our mbuna community set up. When I say I think we have three, it seeemed clear when we first purchased the fish (from a specialist African breeder/importer) that we had a male and two females with the male looking exactly like the picture here and the two females looking similar but less colourful and slightly smaller. However, one of the 'females' has become darkly striped and has taken up a territory under a rock ledge which 'she' defends but not rigorously. The larger male takes no interest in this which leads us to suspect that the territorial fish is either a male of another similar species or is genuinely a female Kingsizei - but we are not that experienced with Africans and would not expect a female taking a territory. If it was another conspecific male I would expect one of them to be chased off and beaten up. Anyway I guess we'll find out sooner or later as each of the fish are breeding one after the other and it must be the Kingsizei's turn soon. We keep the Kingsizei with other mbuna - Labidochromis caeruleus, Ps. elongatus 'Neon Spot', Ps. tropheops, Maylandia estherae, Labeotropheus trewavasae, and the totally brilliant Ps. saulosi and I would say the Kingsizei are the least aggressive of the lot, very much keeping to themselves. The larger male shows the normal colouring but then fades himself to solid ice blue when he doesn't want to be noticed. They eat anything from peas to shrimps and take flake but are the slowest growing fish in the tank despite their appetite. My verdict on them is they are a good looking and highly compatible fish for the normal mbuna community.
An update on the Ps. kingsizei: they have just spawned. The male, who is now quite spectacular with a glowing powder blue ground with navy stripes, took up an unobtrusive territory at one end of the tank seeming to wish to avoid any conflict with the more dominant males, and started to show in a modest kind of way to the two females. One of these we are still not sure because she is highly coloured and has egg dummies on the the anal fin but is kind of submissive. The male bred with the smaller female who is now just about 5 cm long; the male is around 7 cm himself and the other 'female' is 6 cm. He is still not particularly aggressive and will always (eventually) concede ground to all the other males except Ps. saulosi when he is coloured. Interestingly, while Kingsizei is coloured up now from the spawning activity, the Saulosi male has lost his stripes and is uniformly pale blue, presumably to reduce his appeal as a target, and is actually so submissive that his female chases him off. Slightly off topic but of possible interest, 'top gun' Ps. tropheops 'Red Fin' spawned yesterday and had every one of the other 17 fish in the tank in the rock work for the duration - really spectacular and highly entertaining; he was a man on a mission.
The worm has turned and how. For the past couple of months, I was concerned that my male Kingsizei was going to be a victim of aggression by the male Estherae who for that time terrorised the larger Kingsizei so much that we only really saw him at feeding times. He was fit and healthy but got chased every time he showed his nose. He tried to loose his stripes and pretend to be a female but he got trashed just the same by the blue Estherae. They do look very similar in shape and colour (if you can ignore the stripes) and the Esterae was actually trying really hard to breed with the female Kingsizei (who actually looks nothing like the female Estherae who is orange blotch). As an aside, I think Kingsizei is the same Maylandia genus as is Estherae rather than Pseudotropheus. This week however the Kingsizei just seemed to flip and seriously beat up the Estherae and I am now concerned as to his safety - he is a shadow of his former glorious arrogant self with scales missing and fins torn. Funnily enough I expected him if anything to trash the second male Kingsizei thatīs in the tank, but I really think these guys have vendettas and harbour grudges - the other male has never bothered him whereas the Estherae did. Anyway, I've got to leave him in the tank because we took poor advice from a leading UK fishkeeping magazine and siliconed the rockwork together. Anyone ever tried to remove 30 kg of rock in one lump out of a tank - great advice from people who should know better - can't be done so you can't get any fish out once you have the rockwork effectively glued in. Put a net in and bye bye not a fish in sight. We do need to start removing the fry we've bred so far before they become an overstocking problem. Anyway, Kingsizei is now 'top gun' and awesome colours - aren't these mbuna cool - never a dull moment.
Kingsizei is still top gun but he and the Estherae (who took 6 weeks to show again - we thought he was dead) now maintain an uneasy truce. I however would only recommend this fish with more aggressive tankmates (not the ones I've described above) and therefore in a tank of at least 1,20 m. He's not big but boy he's mean. Good breeder though and spectacular colouration - he would glow in the dark.
This is one the most attractive fish I have ever seen in my entire life. It is very agile, funny and colorful. This is not that expensive to keep in your mbuna community setup. They have the tendency to take up territories under rock ledges. It has spectacular coloration and glows in the dark. They are very funny to watch.
I have previously kept this fish, having purchased it as Cynotilapia afra, although I later learned that due to the similar size and markings this fish is often sold as C. afra. In reality I found this fish was virtaully no different from an afra in behaviour and temperament, showing only mild aggression from time to time. This mbuna will also dig a fair bit, either sifting for food, or excavating itself a cave. I found this fish an interesting and welcome addition to my mbuna community.
Pseudotropheus kingsizei are definitely a fish to be wary of. I bought mine at a LFS labeled as Cynotilapia afra. After a few months of uncertainty, I found out that it was a P. kingsizei. The fist nine months I had him were great, but in the past two months I have lost one Aulonocara baenschi, one Pseudotropheus lombardoi, and just last night an Aulonocara hansbaenschi which was considerably bigger than the P. kingsizei. The aggression level just seems to keep going up the older it gets. This fish should definitely be kept with tough Mbuna.
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