Two photos of the same fish. At the age of 6 months (upper photo) and 28 months (bottom photo; March 2000). The fish in the photo is a male (the dominant male in the tank). The old photo shows the fish in the juvenile age dressed in the female colors. The fish (also called Giraffe cichlid because of its spot pattern) is very aggressive and intolerant of his own (and other) species. Very territorial, needs a lot of space and grows to 25 cm (females grow smaller - around 17 cm). An active predator will not allow any fry to survive if given the chance. Will eat almost anything but it pays to feed it frozen food twice per week.
A very intelligent fish will always try to get your attention if not chasing some fish in the tank (recommended tank size min. 600 liters). Space is of outmost importance for this fish : it needs room for spawning, a relatively large territory (if you are to avoid the aggression) and it gets quite big by African cichlid standards. It may eat the soft leaves of plants and it digs a lot. A way to minimize the risk of collapsing rock piles it to use a bottom layer of small rocks, then add the sand and on top of this you may add the rocks. The coloration of the male ranges from solid gold with a blue face (as seen here) to gold with dark brown spots. When kept with fish of the same genus (e.g. Nimbochromis livinstoni) they keep a permanent breeding coloration. They spawn near rocks in pits.
Minimum tank size : 180 cm / 600 liters,
Recommended tank size : 200 cm / 750 liters, only one male per tank.
See next pages for close-up photo and photo of fry.