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Paretroplus maculatus (Kiener & Mauge, 1966)

Photo by Dave Tourle

Photo by Dave Tourle

Drawing by Dave Tourle

New Photos - October 2004

The fish have grown considerably during the last year and some spawning attempts have been noticed. They still swim together as a group except when the pair tries to spawn. In the top left photo you can see one of the large specimens in detail. In the bottom photo you can see all of them waiting for food. Click on any image to see the high resolution photo. Photos by G.J.Reclos/MCH

A 6 cm P. maculatus juvenile in my 100 l tank. Photo: G.Reclos /MCH

A P. maculatus (right) and a P. damii (left) juveniles sharing the same tank for the moment. Photo: G.Reclos /MCH

This particular P. maculatus, most probably a male, has grown from 6 to 8 cm in 45 days. Not a bad performance for a slow grower. Photo: G.Reclos /MCH

Those six pictures were taken during February 2004 (starting from top left and ending in bottom right) and show the same fish which has grown considerably since the previous photos were taken. The king of the tank measures 11 cm now and its growth rate is not reduced. Click on the thumbnails for larger pictures. Photos: G.J.Reclos/MCH

The conservation status of this species is extremely endangered so breeding it in captivity  is of primary importance.

Paretroplus maculatus is very closely linked to Paretroplus menarambo (the pin stripe damba). It is therefore possible to hybridize if given the chance. Since all Madagascan species are seriously threatened or already extinct in the wild, it is of paramount importance to keep those species "pure" and invest in one additional large tank. The cost is definitely not negligible but our feeling is that if a new tank can't be built, serious hobbyists should refrain from keeping both species. Thus the former will be kept in my 1300 liter tank while a second (1000 liter) tank will be built to house the latter whenever it becomes available. All Paretroplus species are snail eaters so you can have a separate tank to grow them if you want to see their natural behavior. The Aquascape of the tank should include sand (all Paretroplines are sand shifters), bogwood and stones. They do not seem to care about plants and their tendency to re-decorate the tank is not a strong one, so plants can be added. Plants planted to form "fences" or natural "dividers" can serve more than one purposes and may reduce aggression. In my case, water parameters are: pH=7.8, GH=8, KH=8, nitrogen compounds not detectable. I perform weekly water changes of 50% with the exception of grow out tanks for which I perform two water changes of 50% per week. I feed the fry and juveniles 4-5 times daily a variety of foods (finely chopped frozen mussels and shrimps, sinking pellets) while there are plenty of small snails in their tank. Not surprisingly, the snail population gets reduced by the day. A new bogwood covered with young snails is added in their tank every week, while the old one is put again in the snail tank (which happens to be the tanks housing the Paratilapia polleni large spot which don't seem to care about the snails. The fish - as with most Paretroplines, is reported to be a really slow grower and it will not reach sexual maturity before the age of 2.5 - 3 years (in contrast to Paratilapia polleni which will breed at the age of 1 year). However, the dominant one has already gained 2 cm of body length in less than two months. All Paretroplus species are substrate spawners and their eggs are individually adhered on a solid surface (usually bogwood). After one year, the fish have grown from 3-4 cm to over 20 cm TL. Heavy feeding and regular, massive water changes have played a key role in keeping this growth rate which is not usual for Paretroplines.

Those fishes (shown in the pictures I took above) were donated by Jean-Claude Nourissat - to whom special thanks - during our visit to the 2003 AFC Meeting in Vichy. Many thanks are also due to Patrick de Rham for his precious help.

We recently imported 20 more Paretroplus maculatus from www.oldworldexoticfish.com (Laif De Mason) which arrived in prime shape in our tanks. The fish are kept by Tolis Ketselidis and me. According to Laif de Mason "all collection sites are in the Northwest area of Madagascar.  P. menarambo is found only in one lake there, so it is from the original type locality, Lake Sarodrano (see Cichlid News July 1993 issue).  Likewise, lamena from the original type locality discovered by Nourisat and deRham, Ambomboa River ( see Cichlid News October 1993 issue).  P. maculatus was originally collected in Lake Ampijoroa in the part which is a forest preserve".

Update > You can read a report on breeding this species here.

Jean-Claude Nourissat & Patrick de Rham. "Les Cichlides endemiques de Magascar", Editions AFC, 2003 (in French).

Dr. Paul V.Loiselle, in "The Cichlid Aquarium", Tetra Press, 1994, pp. 187-201

Sonia Guinane. The Madagascan cichlid genus Paretroplus. Cichlid News, 2000.

Jean-Claude Nourissat (translated by Mary Mailey). New surprises from Madagascar. Cichlid News, pp. 6-14

Sonia Guinane Experiences with Paretroplus menarambo and Paretroplus maculatus from Madagascar. Cichlid News, pp. 12-15

Laif De Mason and Roy Morris Notes on Madagascar cichlids The Cichlids Yearbook, volume 4 (1994): 56-58

Jean-Claude Nourissat. Rediscovering Madagascar: A Quest for New Cichlids - Part I Cichlid News, 1993 (3)

Jean-Claude Nourissat. Rediscovering Madagascar: A Quest for New Cichlids - Part II Cichlid News, 1993 (4)

Matt Clarke Saving Cichlids : An interview with Sonia Guinane and David Tourle. Aquarium Fish and Pondkeeper, June 2002, p. 97-98

The book entitled "The Endemic Cichlids of Madagascar" by Patrick de Rham and Jean - Claude Nourissat is now available in English. Click here to find out how to order and here to read the back cover page of the English edition.

See next page for more photos

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