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Fish Of The Month - Hemitilapia Oxyrhynchus

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#1 Mattia


    1st International Club Member

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Posted 30 May 2016 - 03:24 PM

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 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.



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




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 :)

Attached Images

  • hemi female orazio.jpg
  • hemi chiofu.JPG
  • hemi orazio.jpg
  • hemi wild.jpg
  • hemi robi.jpg
  • hemi orazio ok.jpg

#2 Chopstick_mike

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Posted 31 May 2016 - 10:02 AM

There feeding habits are very similar to the Victorian cichlid "red back scraper " that's quite interesting considering it's a hap which are usually carnivorous

#3 Poncho


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  • Location: Warnbro

Posted 31 May 2016 - 03:30 PM

A small juvenile group of these fish will be auctioned off at the next meeting

#4 Stormfyre


    PCS President, Secretary & Sponsor Liaison.

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Posted 31 May 2016 - 06:30 PM

Learn about it then own it! Come bid at the monthly auction and proceeds go to Stuart Grant Fund for Cichlid Preservation.

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