As "Fish of the Month" a small juvenile group of these fish will be auctioned off at the next meeting. Proceeds to the Stuart Grant Fund for Cichlid Preservation.
HEMITILAPIA OXYRHYNCHUS - "Giant Hap"
Hemitilapia Oxyrhynchus is one of the most common haps of the lake Malawi, known by the locals as "Masimbwe" in the Chi-tonga/Swahili language.
Up to 20cm
It has a lake wide distribution and it is always found near beds of Vallisneria or other higher plants (Potamogeton, etc)
Herbivore - can be fed with a protein pellet in aquarium, if well mixed with some algae pellets. Be careful that it can outgrow its natural size!
You can find H. Oxyrhynchus near Vallisneria beds during mid-day/night time. In the morning, it hangs down deep below 20 mtrs. Make sure you have plenty of Vallisneria or Potamogeton (or plants with wide broad leaves) in your tank when keeping this fish.
Medium-aggressive fish, a bit shy when young, when it reaches 18cm it shows the other fish who is the boss. Can be put together with most of the Protomelas species,Taeniolethrinops, Dimidiochromis, Aulonocara, Fossorochromis, Naevochromis, some Otopharynx, Placidochromis, and very quiet Labidochromis (Caeruleus, Nkhali, Perlmutt).
In the lake: It usually takes place in a "scrape" cleared by the male in a Vallisneria bed.
In aquarium: Shy fish when it comes to spawning, they prefer to mate where they can't be seen, so expect them to create a hole in the back of your tank.
FUN FACT :
It is specialized in scraping aufwuchs (algae) from Vallisneria and Potamogeton leaves. It does not eat the leaves, but just "cleans" them from algae and invertebrates. Its feeding technique is very charachteristic and can be readily appreciated in the lake or in aquarium.
The leaves are scraped from bottom to top and the fish turns on its side before grasping the base of a leaf. It then slides the leaf through its mouth by jerking three of four times. When the leaves are thickly covered with aufwuchs, H. Oxyrhynchus can also be observed slowly nibbling its way to the top of the leaf.
Hemitilapia Oxyrhynchus Chiofu Bay (very rare)
Hemitilapia Oxyrhynchus in the lake
Hemitilapia Oxyrhynchus - Young male
Hemitilapia Oxyrhynchus - Female
Photos are taken from Google.
Description comes from Malawi Cichlids in their natural habitat 5th Edition and a bit from myself