Another representative of the Nimbochromis genus, very closely resembling the livingstoni species both in coloration and behavior. A fast swimmer needs a lot of space. A piscivorous species hunts mainly with ambush but it is not rare to chase its victim. It is regarded as the most voracious piscivore of the genus. Besides good quality pellets (and flakes sometimes - though they do not prefer them) they need some frozen food to keep them in good shape. I regularly feed them shrimps (the ones we consume) chopped to very small pieces so every fish has a chance to eat. Otherwise the Nimbochromis species with their very big mouths will get as much as they can carry leaving the other species without any food. They will take really big mouthfuls and then spend much time chewing. They also prefer frozen bloodworms and the "shrimp mix" food described in Ad Koning's book "Enjoying Cichlids".
Males are very aggressive as is the whole genus and keeping more than one male per tank is to be strongly avoided unless a really big tank is used (more than 1000 liters). The males will spend almost the whole month in peace but when it comes to spawning even the 2,8 m tank is not too big. Though the females of this genus look very much alike the N. Livingstoni still the males can pick the right partner so there is no increased risk of cross-breeding. They will spawn very easily (in a tank with ample space) and produce relatively large broods. Unfortunately not all of the fry survive and I have experienced very heavy losses while raising it. The fry of all Nimbochromis species grows unequally and cannibalism is very common therefore it is wise to separate the smaller fry from the bigger (at about 1 month) if you want to increase the survival rate.
As with other Nimbochromis species the male will dig huge amounts of sand in order to prepare its spawning pit. If you have a substrate of sand or very fine gravel you will observe males movind it around while testing its size (by lying in there) to see if the dimensions are OK. It will chase its female all day long when in the right mood so it is advisable to have some hiding places available for her or else, keep more than one females in your tank. The species will ferociously protect its territory when spawning. Nimbochromis polystigma grows to more than 20 cm (mine are already 22-23 cm long ) and it is not recommended for small tanks even if kept alone. However, it is possible to keep two males in the same tank if ample space is provided. The males will coexist in harmony and only during spawning you will observe some serious fighting . Of course, fighting between two 23 cm males is quite a spectacle. It is then that the big tank comes in place. After some jaw locks, the second male will go to the other side of the tank and the first will spawn with the female. Even hiding places for this genus should be really big caves proportional to their size. N. polystigma lacks the vivid coloration of most Malawi cichlids (except for the male breeding coloration) but has a very distinct and interesting dot pattern. Its addition in a non-mbuna Malawi tank should be considered on the basis of adding a classic representative of the Nimbochromis genus - besides the venustus which is found in almost every tank (even mbuna tanks).
Minimum tank size : 200 cm / 750 liters. If more than one male is to be kept than 250 cm / 1000 liters is the minimum recommended size.
See next page for close up photos of male and female