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Dimidiochromis compressiceps
Dimidiochromis compressiceps, Boulenger, 1908
Malawi eyebiter

Origin: Lake Malawi

Etymology: Compressiceps, refers to the body shape of the fish.

Synonyms: Cyrtocara compressiceps, Paratilapia compressiceps, Halplochromis compressiceps.

Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) Order: Perciiformes Family: Cichlidae , subfamily:

First European import: Germany, 1964, by W. Griem.

Description: See picture, variable species, some specimens are more colorful, with a reddisch anal fin and a red margin on the dorsal fin.

Care: Some fish of this species are extremely aggressiv, while others are quite peaceful. The malawi eye-biter has been reported to attack the eyes of other fish, but only if no other food is available. They can only be kept with similar sized fish, any fish half as large as the Dimidiochromis compressiceps can be considered food. Keep the fish in larger tanks, with a sandy soil, and lots of large stones, providing the fish with proper hideouts. Large bushes of vallisneria are obligatory, in the bushes the fish can hide and wait for prey to swim by.In a tank with Dimidiochromis compressiceps few fry will make it to adulthood. The fish don't hunt them, but wait until they are close enough, and attack. Water should be medium hard to hard, 10-15 dGH, with a pH around 8, and not too much current.

Temperature: 22-28°C

Feeding: Predator, fish, worms, molluscs, but also algae and dried foods.

Size: Up to 25 cm.

pH: 8.0-8.5 Hardness: 10-15 dGH

Breeding: Well fed fish in large tanks will spawn regularly. Dimidichromis compressiceps is a maternal mouthbrooder. The males will become extremely aggressiv during and after spawning, and all of the other fish will be located at the far end of the tank. He will dig a small ditch in the sand, and display to the females. The female carries the eggs and fry for a period of around three weeks. If fry are desired, it's better to remove the female to a separate breeding tank after the fish have spawned. The male will sometimes harass her, causing her to eat the eggs.The fry can be fed on small live food.

Sexual dimorphism: Males with egg spots.

Prices: Between 10-15€

Additional: These fish require a bit of addiotional care! They have slightly different requirements compared to other Mbuna cichlids, and one of the most important things to watch out for is to provide them with proper hideouts! If kept in brightly lit aquaria, without plants, the fish will become stressed, and prone to disease.

Picture references:Picture 1: E. Naus

References:Baensch, H. A., Riehl, R.(1982): Aquarien Atlas I. Mergus Verlag, Melle, Germany.(click on the link to buy this book)

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