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Ptychochromis oligacanthus, also known as the Nosy Be Cichlid, gets its common name from the collection point of Nosy Be island on the island of Madagascar (also Nossi-bé in Malagasy language). The fish was first described in 1868 by Bleeker as Tilapia oligacanthus nossibeensis. The species was later revised as Ptychochromis oligacanthus by Stiassny & Sparks in 2006.
Males Nosy Be’s are larger than females. Males can get up to 10 inches while females stay a couple of inches smaller.
Ptychochromis oligacanthus is not the best looking fish. They are grey to dark grey with black blotches extending thru the body. Males may have a longer anal and dorsal fins which turn red while he is courting the female. Males also have a blue upper lip and a more robust head profile. Both males and females take on a black breeding dress when courting.