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Species Profile: Pelvicachromis taeniatus “Moliwe”

Today we have a new guest blogger on That Fish Blog, Brandon Moyer. Brandon has worked in the fish room here at That Fish Place for the last couple of years, he is a Marine Biology student at Millersville University, and an aquarium hobbyist. Brandon wrote this blog to share his experiences with a recent aquarium that he started.
Welcome Brandon.

Species Profile: Pelvicachromis taeniatus “Moliwe”

General Information

Pelvicachromis taeniatus is a smaller, more colorful cousin of the popular P. pulcher, or Kribensis as they are commonly named. They are found in rivers throughout West Africa where the water is soft and slightly acidic. There are several variants of the species which differ in coloration. Each variant is named for the area they are found in the wild.
The “Moliwe” is named for the village in Cameroon, Africa, where the variant is most commonly collected. The Moliwe females are very striking. They have an orange-gold dorsal fin, bright purple stomach, and a yellow face with a blue edge to the gills and around the eyes. Males, which grow larger than females, have a dark cross-hatch pattern on their sides, blue eyes, and a mix of reds and yellows in their dorsal, anal, and caudal fin. This is a general description of their color, which may change as a result of Age, mood or environmental conditions. As a pair they draw a lot of attention within the tank.
I began setting up the tank with Eco Complete Planted Aquarium Substrate and a few plants including Sagittaria platyphyllia and Cryptocoryne petchii for cover. I also added a small hiding cave usually used for reptiles, but figured that it would be a good breeding area as Pelvicachromis species are cave-brooders. After the tank cycled with the help of some ghost shrimp, I added my pair of Moliwes. They acclimated well but were very shy. After adding a few zebra danios as dither fish, my Moliwes became more active and began to explore their new home. They spend most of their day close to the bottom of the aquarium digging in the substrate looking for food. Regular water changes and filter maintenance will ensure good water quality.
Taeniatus will take a variety of food, but to help ensure vivid colors and good health try to feed them with a mix of frozen and dry foods. I feed my Moliwes Boyd’s Vita Diet, Prime Reef flakes, and several types of frozen foods including spirulina enriched brine shrimp. A variety of food will ensure that they receive a complete, nutritious diet which will reward you with healthy, happy fish. Carotenoid pigments in their food will help bring out the fishes red colors and spirulina and other algae will bring out blue.
One day I noticed that the entrance to my Moliwe’s cave was barricaded with substrate. The female managed to squeeze out the only hole remaining in the entrance, and the male was preoccupied with keeping the danios in the top half of the tank. After a few days I spotted fish fry within the cave. Much like their cousins the kribensis, taeniatus will breed fairly readily. The usually calm parents will become territorial as they guard over their offspring, making close attention to the well-being of the other fish within the aquarium necessary. Days later the fry began to leave the shelter of their cave behind. Led by their mother and father they began to explore the tank looking for food. The fry will eat prepared foods given it is the appropriate size. I crushed flake and pellet food into a fine powder that the fry readily ate once it reached the bottom of the tank. My first spawn did not last: I assume the danios picked them off one by one, so if you are trying to raise the fry, choose dither fish carefully.
Thanks Brandon, those are really great little fish, I hope you have inspired someone to give them a try!
Untill next blog,
Dave

3 comments

  1. avatar

    Ok, ok, I admit that your taeniatus are nicer than my kribs…they’re jealous… =)

  2. avatar

    i am looking to buy 2 pair of pelvicachromis teeniatus. need help locating this type of fish

  3. avatar

    We carry several different variants of the species. You can see these here: http://www.thatpetplace.com/pet/group/5174/product.web
    Though they are not always in stock, we may be able to special order them for you. Please contact someone in the fish room or email marinebio@thatpetplace.com if you are interested.

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