A mature Gold Nasuta Ophthalmotilapia nasuta is quite an alluring African cichlid from Lake Tanganyika. It is large, reaching a length of almost 8" (20 cm), with a very attractive appearance. It can be colored in combinations of yellow, gold, green, brown and blue, all depending upon its place of origin. But its most distinguishing feature is its ventral fins that grow quite long, stretching beyond the body of the fish.
This fish is part of a group of Lake Tanganyika cichlids called featherfins whose most distinguishing feature is the ventral fins. In total there are three genera that make up the Featherfin Cichlids. This genus Ophthalmotilapia which contains 4 species, along with the genera Cyathopharynx and Cunningtonia, both of which monotypic, meaning they contain only a single species. All three of these groups are members of the Ectodini tribe, but with similar body shapes and distinguished by having such long, extended ventral fins on the males. That's about all they have in common though, as the three genera are quite distinct from each other in diet and aggressiveness.
The common names these fish are known by include Gold Nasuta, Tiger Nasuta, and Long-Nosed Gold-Tip Cichlid. Other names are used to refer to varieties of this fish based on the region where found or a color variation. These include names such as Chimba, Halembe, Kachese, Kala Island, Kalambo, Kambwimba, Katete, Kekese, Kipili Gold, Mabilibili, Milima, Moliro, Mzwema, and Ulwile to name most areas.
With the attractive coloration and unique look, these cichlids make great show specimens to add variety to a Lake Tanganyika aquarium. They are a more peaceful cichlid and not as aggressive as others in their genus, making for a nice addition to a community cichild tank. They can be kept with cave spawning cichlids, but will not do well with aggressive mouthbrooders from Lake Malawi or Lake Tanganyika. They also do well in a species specific tank as they are generally tolerant toward their own kind, but there does need to be more females than males.
These cichlids make a great choice for the intermediate cichlid keeper, and are appealling to the advanced aquarist as well. They are moderately easy to care for as long as regular water changes are done. Provide them with a sandy substrate for building nests along with lots of rock formations for places of retreat. This fish will breed in captivity, so to avoid cross breeding don't house them with other color varieties of Nasuta.