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CHILOTILAPIA EUCHILUS








CHILOTILAPIA EUCHILUS (both photos: male)

A very beautiful fish closely resembling the Red empress at least as far as the females are concerned. Its unique fat lips are coupled with an interesting color combination which includes an intense yellow, red, green and blue (look at the second photo - though no photo can fully reproduce these colors). Grows to more than 25 cm (the female up to 17 cm). Frankly, I can't wait to see the male reaching its final adult size. Judging from the photos I found in some books, it should become a magnificent fish. If a male Red Empress is already in your tank, you should introduce a Chilotilapia euchilus considerably bigger than the empress because aggression is guaranteed. 

I do not have any experience with breeding it but I am afraid that cross-breeding (with the Protomelas taeniolatus) may occur because the females of the two species look very similar. Well this was not the case and the spawning has finally taken place. Two of the females are now carrying. This advanced my knowledge on this fish very much. Chilotilapia euchilus was proven to be a very territorial fish and very aggressive, too. It has recently occupied one third of the tank as a spawning place and chases any intruder ferociously. There is absolutely no hesitation no matter who the intruder is or what the size of it is. It should be noted that his courting is very "intense" and he will chase the females all over the tank almost all day long. In view of that (one of the very few species to do this all the time) it is recommended to have more than one females in order to split the harassing. It is definitely not a fish to be kept in small aquariums or with slow swimmers. 

This species in captivity is also a herbivore (one of the very few species to feed on Vallisneria) and unique in that it eats in the vertical position, probably because of the shape of its lips. In nature it feeds mainly on invertebrates which he vacuums from rocks with his specially designed lips which form an air-tight trap. Due to its large final size and the fact that it is an open water swimmer,  the fish should be kept in a big tank. Relatively peaceful with other species (except the P. taeniolatus). However there is a lot of intraspecies aggression and this is evident even between females. Missing scales and intense fighting is all too common. If I were to start all over again I would not get three females. I feel that one would do the job. Of course this comes in contradiction to what I said earlier about the continuous chasing by the male but one has to follow one of the two alternatives. 

 The hobbyist should know that males of this species - as with many other Malawi Haps - takes a very long time to reach sexual maturity, final size and develop its magnificent coloration. In view of that, the hobbyist should either wait patiently until this happens or buy already adult fish, which do not come cheap. Many thanks to Samuel Li from the African cichlid list for correctly identifying this fish.

Minimum tank size : 200 cm / 750 liters. This species is a good swimmer so provide a lot of swimming space. Hiding places for the female is recommended. Specimen in photo : 20 cm

For a close up of the male and a photo of the male see next page. There are even more photos in subsequent pages including photos of the female, fry and a photo of the carrying female.

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