Electric Blue Ahli- Sciaenochromis Fryeri Breeding colony 6 fish totall
The Electric Blue Hap Sciaenochromis fryeri was described by Konings in 1993. They occur in the Africa rift lake area and are endemic to Lake Malawi. It has an amazing history of repeated ms-identification. It was first described by Trewavas 1935, and then imported for the hobby as Haplochromis jacksoni (now called Copadichromis jacksoni). This was clearly and error as these are two totally different species. It went through a couple more now defunct descriptions, and then finally it was correctly identified and officially described by AD Konings in 1993.
This species is listed on the IUCN Red List as Lease Concern (LC). It is endemic to Lake Malawi but is widespread throughout and there are no recognized threats at present. Other common names it is known by are Electric Blue and Hap Ahli.
They inhabit the rocky coasts of Lake Malawi as well as rock clusters and reefs down to depths 82 feet (25 m). They are fish eaters, piscivores that prey mainly upon the fry of Mbuna as well as the young of other Haplochromine cichlids. They hide in the caves or cracks of the rocks looking for small fish to eat.
Scientific Name: Sciaenochromis fryeri
Social Grouping: Varies - This fish is never found in very large numbers, but probably comes together, forming harems, to breed.
IUCN Red List: LC - Least Concern
The Electric Blue Hap has the classic cichlid shape with a stocky and elongated body. They reach up to about 6 inches (15.5 cm) in length, and sometimes a bit bigger in the aquarium. Cichlids from Lake Malawi generally live from 7 to 10 years..
All males are electric blue with some variations depending on location, and have 9 to 12 dark vertical bars. They all have yellow, orange or red in the anal fin. Southern populations of Lake Malawi differ in having the top of the dorsal fin trimmed in white. Northern populations of Lake Malawi lack this white accent, unless they are very large. Males can take up to a year to develop the intense blue coloring. Females are silver, but mature females can at times have hints of light blue. Juveniles are generally similar to females. Developing immature males are a light blue.
All cichlids share a common feature that some saltwater fish such as wrasses and parrotfish have and that is a well-developed pharyngeal set of teeth that are in the throat, along with their regular teeth. Cichlids have spiny rays in the back parts of the anal, dorsal, pectoral, and pelvic fins to help discourage predators. The front part of these fins are soft and perfect for precise positions and effortless movements in the water as opposed to fast swimming.
Cichlids have one nostril on each side while other fish have 2 sets. To sense "smells" in the water, they suck water in and expel the water right back out after being "sampled" for a short or longer time, depending on how much the cichlid needs to "smell" the water. This feature is shared by saltwater damselfish and cichlids are thought to be closely related.
Size of fish - inches: 6.1 inches (15.49 cm) - These cichilds grow to a length of about 6" (15.5 cm), and are sometimes larger in home aquaria.
Lifespan: 7 years - They can have a lifespan of 7 to 10 years with proper care.
Fish Keeping Difficulty
These cichlids make a great choice for the beginning cichlid keeper and are appealling to the advanced aquarist as well. They are moderately aggressive cichlids, but not a community tank specimen that can be kept with fish other than cichlids. The aquarists must be willing to do frequent water changes and provide appropriate tank mates. They are susceptible to Malawi bloat as well as the typical diseases that effect all freshwater fish if the tank is not maintained. In the proper setup they will easily adapt to prepared foods, breed readily, and the juveniles are easy to raise.
Aquarium Hardiness: Moderately hardy
Aquarist Experience Level: Beginner
Foods and Feeding
The Electric Blue Hap is carnivorous In the wild they prey primarily on the fry of other cichlids. In the aquarium they will eat any fish small enough to be consumed. They should be fed a quality cichlid pellet, occasionally supplemented with frozen krill, mysis or brine shrimp.
Fry can be fed crushed flake and crushed protein pellets. Generally feed several times a day in smaller amounts, though feeding them everyday is not always necessary as they have a tendency to overeat and this can contribute to Malawi bloat. All fish benefit from adding liquid vitamins to dry foods.
Diet Type: Omnivore - They are primarily piscivores that feed mainly on small fish, and on rare occasions may nibble on some vegetation.
Flake Food: Yes
Tablet / Pellet: Yes
Live foods (fishes, shrimps, worms): Some of Diet
Vegetable Food: Some of Diet
Meaty Food: Most of Diet
Feeding Frequency: Several feedings per day - Generally feed several times a day in smaller amounts, but use caution as they have a tendency to overeat.
Malawi Cichlids will deteriorate under poor water conditions. Water changes of 10% to 20% a week depending on bio load. Malawi bloat is a typical disease especially if over fed.
Water Changes: Weekly - Water changes of 10-20% weekly are suggested, depending on the bio load.
The streams that flow into Lake Malawi have a high mineral content. This along with evaporation has resulted in alkaline water that is highly mineralized. Lake Malawi is known for its clarity and stability as far as pH and other water chemistries. It is easy to see why it is important to watch tank parameters with all Lake Malawi fish.
Rift lake cichlids need hard alkaline water but are not found in brackish waters. Salt is sometimes used as a buffering agent to increase the water's carbonate hardness. This cichlid has some salt tolerance so can be kept in slightly brackish water conditions. However it not suited to a full brackish water tank. It can tolerate a salinity that is about 10% of a normal saltwater tank, a specific gravity of less than 1.0002.
A minimum tank size is 55 gallons and at least 4 feet in length, but to be most successful provide them with a 6 foot long tank. They do fine in either freshwater or brackish freshwater but need good water movement along with very strong and efficient filtration. Keeping the ph above neutral is important. A very slow acclimation to different pH levels can sometimes be achieved. Sand used for saltwater fish or freshwater can be used and if keeping them with a higher ph, the saltwater sand can help keep the ph up. Crushed coral or aragonite sand can also increase the water's carbonate hardness, and tend to dissolves easier than salts. Keeping a higher pH however, means that ammonia is more lethal, so regular water changes are a must for these fish.
Having a decor with some rock work and wood to provide hiding places is necessary, but they need open space for swimming at the bottom and middle areas of the tank. Plants may be included, but only robust types such as Java ferns should be used. They may occasionally nibble on them and can uproot them as they dig in the sand to create pits for spawning.
Minimum Tank Size: 55 gal (208 L) - A minimum of 50 gallons is the suggested, with a length of at least 4', but for best success provide a 6' long aquarium.
Suitable for Nano Tank: No
Substrate Type: Sand/Gravel Mix
Lighting Needs: Moderate - normal lighting
Temperature: 73.0 to 82.0° F (22.8 to 27.8° C)
Range ph: 7.7-8.6
Hardness Range: 5 - 10 dGH
Brackish: Sometimes - Salt is not found in their natural environment, but they do have a slight tolerance, keep levels below 10% - a specific gravity of less than 1.0002.
Water Movement: Moderate
Water Region: Middle - These fish will swim in the middle and bottom areas of the aquarium.