Photo © Michael Persson
Sciaenochromis fryeri male.
Trade names and synonyms
Haplochromis ElectricBlue, Haplochromis jacksoni, Haplochromis cf. ahli, Haplochromis ahli, Cyrtocara ahli, Sciaenochromis ahli.
Size and appearance
The size of males varies between 10-15 cm, in aquarium they could reach a maximum length of 20 cm. Females are a few centimetres smaller. Coloured males are metallic blue all over the body while the females are brownish-grey. Small geographical differences occur, e.g. older males from the south part of the lake get a white stripe from the snout to the end of the dorsal fin. Also the colour of the anal and caudal fin differs between different populations.
It's best fed with shrimpmix and mysis but the most food are accepted, however. In the lake it's feeding on small fishes, especially fry's from Copadichromis and Protomelas are appreciated but also mbunas are accepted.
At least 400 litres (88 gal.).
Occurs mainly in rocky habitat and in the intermediate zone at depths between 10 and 40 metres (33-131 ft.).
This cichlid is relatively easy to breed and usually produce big broods with up to 70 fry's. The problem with this species are how to get the females to feed properly between the broods, most often the females becomes too thin after a few broods and they will fade away. The fertilization of the eggs takes place outside the female's mouth before she picks them up.
Sciaenochromis fryeri is a classic cichlid in malawitanks, which has been exported for a long time. The origin of the name comes from Dr. Geoffrey Fryer that worked as chief researcher for Joint Fisheries Research Organisation at Nkhata Bay. It's a rare cichlid in the Lake Malawi, however it has a lakewide distribution, which indicates that it is an old species. This beautiful cichlid, which is easy to maintain in an aquarium, is best kept together with other peaceful cichlids. Because of its slowness it could have difficulties towards mbunas and other greedy cichlids.