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The Ruby Green Haplochromis – a Victorian Gem

Hey folks, I wanted to do a real quick entry about a beautiful Lake Victorian cichlid called the Ruby Green (Haplochromis sp. “Ruby Green”). I kept my first pair of Ruby Greens when they first appeared in the hobby, I’m always on the lookout for species that aren’t “mainstream” or kept by a lot of hobbyists. These beauties fit the bill, and with their natural habitat dwindling, it’s a matter of conservation. Serious hobbists play a role in prolonging these and many other species by captive breeding and keeping lines pure.

This particular species can easily be mistaken for Hap sp. Flameback, but is set apart by several minute color differences (these are more green and the red does not extend as far as the Flameback).  In breeding dress the male sports a red top that extends from the tip of the mouth to the middle of its back. His sides are yellow down to the lateral line and green on the bottom half. The pectoral fins turn black and the anal fin is orange to red with vibrant egg spots. Females are rather drab, gray with a yellow anal fin. There is also the albino version of the Ruby Green that is quite stunning.

Full grown at 3.5 inches, this species is not as aggressive as other vics, even towards their own kind. Having another male in the tank will keep the dominant male in full breeding dress all the time, just make sure you provide hiding places with escape routes in the form of rocks or pvc pipe. This is a species I would recommend for a 30 gallon tank or larger.  Use caution in choosing tank mates, for if the Ruby Greens are bullied you won’t see the vibrant colors this fish can exhibit.

Water conditions are not that critical as long as the tank is not too acidic. My spawns came in tap water with a pH of 7.6 and a general hardness of 9 degrees. Like most vics they will spawn at a very young age. My first pair spawned for the first time when the male was about 1.5 inches and the female was about an inch. Unfortunately, I did not see any fry from that batch. Feeding these fish is easy as they will take just about any type of food, though my guys were not wild about floating pellets. Just be sure to supplement their diet with the occasional green flake.

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About Jose Mendes

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That Fish Place’s resident “Cichlid Pro.” In addition to working at TFP for 13 years, Jose’s been breeding Cichlids for over 14 years and has produced over 200 different species. Jose is the man to question for everything cichlid. Check out Jose’s work in the article: Keeping and Breeding African Cichlids in Small Aquariums, and his many other contributions on cichlid husbandry, behavior, and his personal experiences with keeping cichlids from across the globe.