Champsochromis caeruleus (also Lake Malawi trout or
Haplochromis thola) is one of the largest predators of Lake Malawi.
The splendid large fins on the adult male is one of the reasons why
I keep this species, together with the elegant torpedo-shaped body
that's perfectly adapted for high swimming speed, needed for chasing
it's favorite natural food: the Malawi sardine Engraulicypris
sardella. With a total adult size of 40 cm this beast is best
kept in an aquarium larger than 1000L, with of course lots of open
This blurry photo shows the caeruleus when he was just introduced
in the tank (oct 2000). At this time the fish didn't show very much
colour and the fins were not grown to their final size. Also notice
the big mouth: large food like shrimp and most likely fish can
easily disappear in it.
Normally this cichlid doesn't leave much choice for
tankmates. Due to it's final size only large sanddwellers like
Fossorochromis rostratus or predators can be kept as company. At the
moment the juvenile caeruleus lives in an overcrowded tank together
with Copadichromis azureus, Aulonocara lwanda and stuartgranti sp.
"maisoni", Pseudotropheus saulosi and Placidochromis
phenochilus. No agression is shown yet and I hope it stays like
1,5 month later (dec 2000) the Champsochromis already gained much
colour and fins, but it still has to grow a lot. I hope it will pass
35 cm, what's not that easy. Feeding has to be very balanced to
obtain good results. Too fat food makes the fish loose it's elegant
slim shape. Also water changes have to be done on a regulary basis
to eliminate grow-reducing substances.
Like I wrote before the aquarium needs lots of open
space to give the fish the opportunity to stretch his fins. A few
large rocks are used for hiding. Breeding is not yet observed in my
tank but in nature the territorial male makes a flat hole by turning
around on the sand a couple of times. He displays to the female and
if she's ready to breed they will go down to the hole where they
Large fish need large food so the best diet is a combination of
shrimp, cocles, mussels, fishmeat and occasional pellets. Live
fish can be fed but that is the choice of the keeper.