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CAM1808M

LABIDOCHROMIS CHISUMULAE *CLOWN LAB*

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Labidochromis chisumulae is an attractive little mbuna that should be kept by everyone at least once. It is often overshadowed by its more popular and well known cousin the “electric yellow” Labidochromis caeruleus. This is a shame because this Rift Lake jewel is one of the few Malawi mbuna that can be successfully maintained in smaller aquaria.

Labidochromis chisumulae is found in the sediment-rich rocky habitat around Chizumulu Island. Lone individuals can be seen “picking” amongst the rocks and caves in search of small insects and other invertebrates. This mode of feeding is identical to that of Labidochromis caeruleus, and as such both are classified as insectivores. It is important to note that not all mbuna are vegetarians as is commonly believed.

L. chisumulae will reach an adult size of 3 - 4” with the males being the larger of the two sexes. Females and juveniles have a beautiful iridescent white base colouration with a hint of bluish-purple stripes concentrated towards the head. Adult males will have very intense barring beginning at the eyes and continuing about two-thirds of the way down the body. The dorsal fin is almost black and blends into the barring, which changes from black to more of a purple colouration towards the belly. Similarly, the first stripe extends through the eye to the base of the cheek. The intensity of colouration depends entirely on mood and the individual’s social standing in the aquarium.

Accommodating the needs of L. chisumulae needs is quite easy to do. It is a good cichlid for beginners as it can live in aquariums as small as 30 gallons, although a larger tank would be preferred. Decorating the aquarium with some rocks and making sure there are a few small caves will help to bring out natural behaviours and allow for subdominant fish to seek shelter from any aggression. A sex ratio of one male to two females (or more) is preferred so that no female will be singled out by any overly amorous males. Breeding is easily accomplished in the aquarium and follows the standard mouth brooding sequence. Depending on several factors, including age and size, a female will typically release 5-20 fry after 18-28 days.

https://www.cichlid-forum.com/articles/l_chisumulae.php