Polystigma | Nimbochromis polystigma

Cichlids / Africa / Lake Malawi / Polystigma

Profile: Polystigma
Nimbochromis polystigma Synonyms: Cyrtocara polystigma, Haplochromis polystigma
Physical description: An elongated fish. The coloration between the male and the female is very different. The female has a whitish-beige body color with overlaying brown markings. Large brown spots and small brown speckled markings make up this overlaying pattern. The fins have the same coloration. The male had a bluish-green head and a golden yellow to green body. Darker green to brown splotches cover both the body and the head. The fins are yellow and the dorsal fin has a bright yellow edging.
Size/Length: To 10" (25 cm)
Similar species: Elephant-nose Cichlid ( N. linni)
Habitat: Eastern Africa; found along the rocky coast of Lake Malawi.
S: bottom, middle
Aquarium: 48" (122 cm) or 55 gallons (209 L) is sufficient for young fish. Adult fish require large open swimming areas in order to prosper. A tank of 60" (152 cm) or 90-110 gallons (342-378 L) is usually adequate. Use large, sturdy rock structures, including caves, in the back of the tank. The edges and the back part of the tank should be heavily planted with Vallisneria.
Water chemistry: pH 7.5-8.5 (8.0), 10-22 dH (16), 73-79°F (23-26°C)
Social behavior: A territorial predator that will consume small fish. Combine only with other large, robust fish. This species is also aggressive towards other species. Keep one male with several females.
Suggested companions: Lake Malawi Haplochromines, Synodontis, mbunas, Polypterus, Afromastacembelus.
FOOD: Live; fish, Tubifex , aquatic insects, insect larvae, earthworms; large flakes; tablets; chopped meat; pellets.
Sexual differences: Male shave egg spots and are more brightly colored (See "Physical description:").
Breeding techniques: Use water with a pH from 7.8-8.5, a water hardness from 10-18 dH, and a temperature of 79-82 F (26-28 C). Conflicting numbers to the amount of eggs that are laid are given (20-200?), but usually 20-30 are mouthbrooded by the female. The eggs are fertilized by the dummy-egg method. Remove the other fish for best results. The eggs are incubated for 21-25 days. The young can be raised on Artemia and dry foods. The female continues her care for the young, taking them into her mouth at times of danger and at night.
Breeding potential: 7. Breeding is fairly difficult.
Remarks: Both captive-bred and wild-caught fish are available in the hobby.
Difficulty of care: 6. An aggressive fish that thrives when frequent partial water changes are made. The Polystigma must be kept in a large tank.