Pseudotropheus elongatus

Common Names:
Synonyms: Nanochromis gabonicus
Parananochromis brevirostris
Parananochromis ornatus
Paranaochromis axelrodi
Pelmatochromis caudifasciatus
Pelmatochromis longirostris
Family: Cichlidae
Category: Cichlids
Distribution: Africa; Endemic to Lake malawi, Africa.
Main Ecosystem: Rift Lake; Found close to submerged rocks and rubble upon which mats of Aufwuchs algae grow.
Temperament: Aggressive; This is one of the most strongly territorial and aggressive of all Mbuna species, ranking alongside Melanochromis chipokae and the Petrotilapia species in terms of aggression – indeed, one source text describes the species as having “a lurid reputation as an aquarium terrorist”, which should warn prospective keepers that this fish is best left to the experienced aquarist upon account of its extreme willingness to engage in combat! Despite its relatively modest size, it makes large territorial demands in an aquarium, and defends its chosen area ruthlessly against all comers. Can only be kept in large aquaria alongside similarly aggressive species as a result, and the aquarist who is brave enough to take on this species should be prepared to intervene swiftly and resolutely should warfare break out in the aquarium, which is ESPECIALLY likely when the species begins to breed. Should be considered as a species capable of exhibiting hyperdominance in the aquarium.
Diet: Herbivore; Primarily herbivorous. This species is, like all Pseudotropheus species, an aufwuchs algal grazer in the wild, feeding both upon the algae and small invertebrates living in the algal mats. Should be provided with algae to graze upon in the aquarium, or equivalent dietary supplements containing vegetable matter. Celery tops, lettuce, shelled fresh peas and fresh spinach are suitable items to provide in the diet. Some animal matter is, however, essential, but should be a minority component in the diet. Failure to provide a significant amount of vegetable matter in the diet, or too heavy a feeding upon protein-rich meaty foodstuffs, precipitates the metabolic complaint known as ‘Malawi Bloat’, which is often fatal. Note that any vegetables used to feed this or any other fish with a herbivorous dietary requirement should be FRESH vegetables and NOT tinned – the additives in tinned vegetables could prove to be dangerous to the fishes!
Care: Due to its VERY strongly developed territorial instincts and the demands for space that it makes when breeding, this fish should NOT be housed in an aquarium less than 6 feet long – in smaller quarters, the fish is likely to engage in ruthless extermination of the other occupants, particularly if those other occupants are less aggressive. Aquarium should be furnished with rocks arranged so as to provide numerous caves for the fish to inhabit (along with other Mbuna species present). Standard water chemistry parameters for Lake Malawi fishes apply to this species. As with all Mbuna, should be provided with top quality filtration and regular water changes. It cannot be emphasised enough that spacious quarters are required for this species, as well as special care in the choice of other aquarium companions, as the fish is easily capable of turning its home into a species aquarium by wiping out unwisely chosen fellow occupants!
8 - 8.5
24°C - 28°C
75°F - 82°F
10 dH - 20 dH
Potential Size: Male: 12cm (4.7")
Female: 12cm (4.7")
Water Region: All; The fish will swim throughout all layers of the aquarium while remaining within close proximity of the rock cover provided.
Activity: Diurnal; Active throughout daylight hours. A grazer uon any algae present upon the rocks that form its home in the wild, and upon any rocks present in the aquarium.
Gender: Males are brilliant blue with black bars, while females are a brownish colour with a blue head, lacking the well-defined and obvious bands of the male. Males in addition possess 6 or so ‘egg spots’ on the anal fin, usually grouped toward the posterior edge of the anal fin.
Breeding: A mouthbrooding Mbuna, but one that differs from the ‘typical’ Mbuna protocol in that a male and female will form a well-defined pair, in a manner analogous to Central American Cichlids. Male and female co-operate in defence of their chosen territory. Female broods the young in buccal pouches until the fry are 21 to 28 days old – however, male is known to perform a strong defensive role of the fry once they are free swimming. During breeding, both male and female co-operate to clear their chosen territory of potential threats to the fry, and engage in what may be termed ‘search and destroy’ missions to deal with intruders, making them particularly troublesome in a multi-species aquarium while breeding. Any perceived threat to the fry is dealt with swiftly, ruthlessly and fearlessly by both parents, and the parent fishes are likely to consider the aquarist’s hands during maintenance as a threat to be dealt with!
Variants: Not known currently to exhibit major geographical variation from the ‘standard’ markings described above, but the ongoing study of the Cichlid fauna of Lake Malawi opens up the possibility that other colour forms may exist. However, all specimens circulating in the trade to date have exhibited the ‘standard’ colouration. Incidentally, that continuing study has resulted in several fishes being described using assorted odd taxonomic names, only to be discovered later to be yet more specimens of Pseudotropheus elongatus, hence the unusual plethora of taxonomic synonyms!
Comments: It is possible for the novice (and even some experienced aquarists) to confuse this fish at first sight with the similar Pseudotropheus minutus. However, Pseudotropheus minutus is a much mellower fish, much easier to integrate into a multi-species aquarium, and altogether much less problematic for the aquarist in this regard than Pseudotropheus elongatus. Obtaining the wrong species should be avoided, as placing individuals of Pseudotropheus minutus in an ‘aggressive’ Mbuna setup intended for Pseudotropheus elongatus will inevitable result in the demise of the minutus! In any case, the well-deserved reputation for ferocity of Pseudotropheus elongatus means that many specialist Rift Lake dealers reserve this species as a ‘special order’ species for experienced aquarists who know in advance the nature of the fish they are taking on – it cannot be sufficiently emphasised that this species can become, especially when breeding, a vicious demon with a positively pyroclastic temperament!
Main Colours: Blue, Black, Brown
Markings: Striped Vertical
Mouth: Normal
Tail: Flat
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Submitted By: Calilasseia
Contributors: Calilasseia
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