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Astatitilapia latifasciata
(previously classified as Haplochromis obliquidens


Haplochromis obliquidens

Haplochromis obliquidens is a cichlid from Lake Victoria which is quite common in the hobby (as common as Victorian cichlids can get). A really nice fish it is easily distinguished by the band / color combination (thick black bars and red / yellow hues on a silver body). It is a relatively peaceful fish (for an African and especially for a Victorian) with some aggression shown against conspecifics while other fish are even allowed to enter its territory in some cases. This doesn't mean that the fish is a peaceful one, ideal for freshwater community tanks. Tankmates should be other Victorian haps or Malawi cichlids. If Malawians are chosen the keeper should go for either moderately aggressive mbuna (e.g. Labidochromis, Cynotilapia) or mild, small sized haps (e.g. Aulonocara). 

An advantage of this species is that it will allow you to keep a second Victorian species in the same tank without the risk of hybridization. In this case, a species with a different melanin pattern should be chosen (Haplochromis nyererei,, flameback cichlid etc.). Species with very close melanin patterns (like Zebra obliquidens or sp 44) are to be avoided. Will grow to about 10 cm (males may exceed this limit in an aquarium). Thrives in alkaline, moderately hard water (a pH 7.5 - 8.5 is enough, while a pH about 10 is OK). This is an omnivorous species and this should be taken care for in their diet (a good mixture of various foods is preferred). Once they start spawning they become very prolific and they become exceptionally good parents. Females can stay with the fry for months without any problems. In contrast to other Victorian haps, the brood can be raised in the same tank (no need to change tanks every now and then as with Hap. Nyererei for instance).

On August 7, 2001, we received the following message from Greg Steeves, a Victoria cichlid fan and Webmaster of the Gas Station African Cichlids :

You have a fish misidentified. In your Victorian photos you have listed Haplochromis obliquidens. I have taken it upon myself to try and educate people concerning this issue. The true Haplochromis obliquidens is thought to be extinct in the wild and has never (to my knowledge) been exported from the lake. This fish is not in the hobby. I can certainly understand your post however as "obliquidens" has become a generic name for a number of species from the Victorian region. The fish you have posted is the beautiful Astatotilapia latisfasciata. This fish is not from Lake Victoria but rather a satellite lake. It was originally confined to Lake Kyoga but sadly is extinct there now as well. The only wild population of this fish now resides in Lake Nawampasa.  It is becoming increasingly threatened in the wild but thankfully appears to be doing well in the hobby. I thought I would just pass this on because I'm sure that like myself, you endeavor to provide as much accurate information as possible.  I have a link to this species at: http://www.africancichlids.net/A_latifasciata/index.htm If I can ever be of help with Victorian content or species identification I would be more than happy to assist. 

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