Leone, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Nigeria,
Senegal, and even the Congo. They appear
to be unspecialized feeders in the wild and
feed on anything that is small and available,
from algae to shrimp eggs and even detritus.
C. g. guentheri form very stable pair bonds
prior to spawning. Egg laying takes place
on the substrate, and on completion the
150 or so fertilized eggs are taken up by the
male while the female engages in territorial
defense. Free-swimming fry are released
within two weeks and are defended for
another two weeks; parents will take the fry
in their mouths when they are in danger.
A pair of mango tilapia Sarotherodon galilaeus galilaeus.
Tilapia mariae BOULENGER 1899 is
sometimes known as the spotted tilapia and
is available to the aquarium trade from time
to time, as it is a colorful species. These
deep-bodied cichlids can grow to over
15 inches, although females are usually
smaller. Additionally, males tend to have
longer dorsal and anal fins, which together
with the caudal fin are adorned with spots.
Adult fish tend to have a greenish back and
a yellow lower body. On the midline, there
are six large black spots and one on the gill
cover that vary in intensity according to the
mood of the fish.
These tilapia inhabit many of the small
rivers and lakes of West Africa, such as the
Ivory Coast, Ghana, Benin, and Cameroon.
Here it feeds on algae and plants but also
filter feeds on phytoplankton and diatoms.
During the breeding period, T. mariae form
stable pair bonds, tending to spawn on
flat rocks, under which pits can be dug
Spotted tilapia Tilapia mariae.
to transfer wrigglers after hatching. The
female does lay several hundred eggs, which
take around two days to hatch and several
more days to become free-swimming. Fry
are aggressively guarded by both parents,
and this continues until the fry are about
an inch in size.
Hemichromis elongatus (GUICHENOT
1861)—also known as the banded jewel
cichlid, the five-spotted hemichromis, or
the five star general—is a spectacular-looking fish that can grow up to 6 inches.
Juveniles are elongated and have an olive-green body transcended by narrow red
stripes and five variable black blotches:
the first on the gill cover and the last on
the caudal peduncle. These cichlids do
bulk up in adulthood and show a lot more
red color along the lower part of their
body as they reach sexual maturity. Their
aggression probably stops them from being
more popular in the aquarium hobby.
H. elongatus does have a very widespread
distribution that stretches from West Africa
(Sierra Leone) to South Africa (Botswana),
inhabiting both fast- and slow-flowing
waters of even large rivers. Here its main
diet is made up of small fish, shrimp, and
other crustaceans. In the wild, breeding
pairs defend a large patch, with female
fish laying as many as a thousand eggs
on the substrate. The fry—until they are
an inch long—are well defended by the
parents, who attack anything that dares
(SAUVAGE 1882), or Guenther’s
mouthbrooder, is often available in Europe.
There is also another subspecies, C. g.
loennbergi. Males can grow to just over 6
inches, while females stay smaller than 5
inches. The dorsal body coloration is brown
with a tinge of pink in the lower body.
However, as females approach spawning,
they develop a rosy belly and an iridescent
white stripe on their dorsal fin.
These cichlids are found in rivers running
through forest or savannah areas in Sierra
Hemichromis guttatus GÜNTHER 1862 are
known as jewel cichlids and have a mixed
reception in the aquarium hobby. Near
spawning time, the ovoid bodies of adult
fish turn a bright red, while the red dorsal,
anal, and caudal fins are covered in small
blue iridescent spots, with some on the body
too. H. guttatus males grow to 5 inches, but
females are a lot smaller. Several small red
Hemichromis cichlids are generally available
to the aquarium hobby in London, but
these are just known as jewel cichlids with
no reference to their species name.