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MELANOCHROMIS CHIPOKAE



 

MELANOCHROMIS CHIPOKAE (male)

 

MELANOCHROMIS CHIPOKAE (females)

 

MELANOCHROMIS CHIPOKAE (males)

The unchallenged king of the tank. A clear case of a hyperdominant species M.chipokae justifies its reputation as - perhaps - the most aggressive of the mbunas. A beautiful fish with light blue horizontal stripes running along its body and a yellow edged tail. The female closely resembles the M.auratus female the only difference being the absence of the white stripes along the black ones. Females of this species are very prolific, sometimes spawning every month. The existence of a second male in tanks smaller than 180 cm is not recommended. The fish is a real killer, very territorial and intolerant of its own species. When spawning it becomes ferocious and may kill any fish that challenges it. Even very aggressive species like Ps. lombardoi and M. auratus have a very hard time in these occasions. 

The fish will sooner or later become hyperdominant and you should keep that in mind when acquiring it. My M. chipokae was the last mbuna to be added in my tank. Though much smaller than the other mbunas already housing the tank, it established itself as the ruler within a couple of months. There are many people that, after keeping it for some time, try to get rid of it because of its nasty behavior. Its aggression is far more pronounced in smaller tanks and is definitely not a fish to keep in anything smaller than an 80 cm tank. In smaller tanks, even if kept alone with its own females, chances are it will kill the females. However, if fish are acclimatized, you can have many males in the same tank as shown in the picture above. 

This photos shows an adult male (12 months old) next to its father (fish facing the lens) Its dietary needs are the same as with the rest of mbuna. The male digs enormous amounts of gravel prior to spawning. It will carry gravel that can barely fit its mouth and spit it all over the tank. Minimum tank size : 150 cm / 500 liters - not to be the first species added.

Close-up shot: 100 ASA film, 125 mm lens, f/11, 1/60 sec, auto-bellows, Sunpack flash taped over the lens, shot at a distance of 10 cm.

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