As the Fish of the Month for September, there will 2 lots of bags of 8 x of Ctenochromis horei available at the PCS Meeting for auction. These are special lots to raise money for Stuart Grant Fund for Cichlid Preservation and have kindly been donated by one of our PCS Members - Joel (Extend). Joel has also written this months FotM profile -
Ctenochromis horei is a medium to large cichlid from Lake Tanganyika and some of the lower reaches of the rivers that feed Tanginyika. According to Pierre Brichard, C. horei was classed as Haplochromis horei in 1888 and later reviewed by P. H Greenwood in 1979 to become Ctenochromis horei.
According to Ad Konings in back to nature guide to Tanginyikan cichlids, C. horei males reach 18-20cm and females 12-15cm.
Order: Perciformes Family: Cichlidae
C. hoeri are found throughout the lake and are also encountered in the rivers that feed into and out of Lake Tanginyika; river such as Lukuga River, Ruzizi River and Nua River. C. horei are most often found lurking around vegetated habitats in shallow water between 1-2m but will also venture out to the open sand and around rocky areas close to their preferred aquatic plant hangouts.
Ctenochromis horei are omnivores and will eat plant matter, small fish and invertebrates. In the aquarium they thrive on New Life Spectrum cichlid formula as a staple diet, baby guppies as treat but don’t seem to take much of an interest in frozen brine shrimp. They eat lots and females that have just come off holding fry, should be fattened up before they are allowed to spawn again.
C. horei should be provided with a large tank, minimum 4x2x2ft (6x2x2 if other species of Tanginyikan cichlids are to be kept in the same tank) for a colony of 4 or 5 fish. Fine, sandy substrate like playground sand, mixed with a small amount coral or aragonite sand (to buffer the water quality) is perfect.
Water conditions for C. horei are similar to keeping most Tanginyikan cichlids i.e. pH 8.5-8.7 or higher say 9.0, 24-26 degrees celcius and a kH of 10-15 are ideal for these fish to thrive.
Being an aggressive fish by nature provide adequate rock work and caves for the females and non-dominant males. If you can grow Vallisneria sp in the Tanginyikan tank, plant this and it not only makes a more natural habitat is provides extra cover and food for the fish.
A conspecific aggressionist, meaning that you can keep C. horei with other species of Tanginyikan cichlids, as the males are only aggressive towards other males all the time and females at breeding time. This being said, keep one male to 3 or 4 females; any other non-dominant male is harassed to the point of death or serious injury. C. horei have been kept in a 6x2x2.5 along with Cyprichromis sp, Julidochromis sp and Synodontis sp, with the only harm being done to the other C.horei
Maternal mouth brooder. Males construct a bower in the sand (size depends on each individual male) or clear a place among aquatic plants to spawn. There is a display, which consists of the male’s colour becoming brighter and short bursts of shaking in front of the female before getting down to business.
Ctenochromis horei is not a hugely popular aquarium fish due to its size and conspecific aggression. However the ease of care and breeding should ensure that those with little to moderate experience in cichlids should be able to keep and breed these fish with ease provided adequate cover and supervision is given. Males, when fully coloured up are among the most striking fish in the lake; with their black face mask, bright yellow lower jaw, red and green spotted 10 bar flanks and bleeding heart spot under the pectoral fins, they really are a sight to behold.
The other fish that is a close relative is lobochilotes labiatus. A similar looking fish, with rather distended lips.
Joel (Extend) took these two awesome pictures below himself of his livestock. Don't forget he has donated some of these great fish for you to bid on at the September Meeting. Learn about the fish and then own the fish. Funds raised go Cichlid Preservation.