Labidochromis caeruleus

Labidochromis caeruleus Labidochromis caeruleus is another example of the splendour to be found in Lake Malawi. There are a number of colour varieties of Labidochromis caeruleus - ranging from yellow, blue to white. This specimen pictured is a subdominant male and thus not showing off his true colours. Like most cichlids of this type they tend to be aggressive towards other members of the family.

An aquarium filled with plenty of rock work which contains caves, nooks, crannies and overhangs provides an ideal habitat for this active fish. In aquarium conditions they can grow to about 4 - 5 inches in length. Temperatures of between 25 - 27°C are favourable.

Breeding this species is a matter of relative ease. If the water quality parameters are good this species will propagate without any major effort on the part of the aquarist. Provided that you have a pair of course - as both males and females of the species are the same colour. Another important factor is feeding your fishes a well balanced diet. This is not a problem as L. caeruleus is easy to feed to the point of being greedy - just like most other Lake Malawi Cichlids. The key to feeding a balanced diet is - variety.

When getting ready to spawn the male performs a dancing display toward the gravid female. Spreading his fins and shaking rapidly from head to tail. At this time, aggressive behaviour increases as the pair prepare to spawn. A pit is dug in the gravel bed - where small stones and gravel are scattered in all directions.

The eggs are picked up by the female and fertilized when she attempts to pick up the egg spots on the anal fin of the male. The eggs are incubated in the females mouth for approximately three weeks - this can vary depending on water temperature. If the female is spawning for the first time it is not uncommon for her to eat the first batch. When the fry emerge they are fully developed and can immediately start taking food. Newly hatched brine shrimp is an ideal first food.