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Maylandia livingstoni


Scientific name: Maylandia livingstomii
Trade name: Pseudotrophues lanisticola
Natural habitat: Sandy beaches
Food in the lake: Feeds on small invertebrates that live in the sand bottom.
Food in the aquarium: A mix of quality pellets, flakes, krill, artemia, etc fed sparingly. No mammal meat!
Behaviour in my aquarium:  The intraspecific aggression of the livingstonii was rather low. They did what every other mbuna did when they felt threatned: run for cover between the rocks! They didn't even bother about the shells that I gave them. 
Tank mates: Can be kept with other mid-sized Mbuna with preferably another colour pattern to reduce mutual aggression.
Aquarium: At least a tank of  >300L with only sand and shells? They'll be very happy in a "regular rocky" mbuna tank too! pH between 7.5 - 8.5, temperature about 25°C



Maylandia livingstonii in my 1000L aquarium where a group feeds on the algae that grow on the large rocks.

Personal notes: 

Maylandia livingstonii is a mbuna that intrigued me for a short while. It is the shell dweller from Lake Malawi that normally breeds in abandoned Lanistes nyassanus shells and lives in the sandy habitat where it feeds on invertebrates that are sifted from the sand. In the lake the carrying time of this species is shortened from about 21 days to 16 days because of the adaptation to their environment: the shell delivers further protection for the fry. Most geographical variants don't get larger than 6cm. According to my experience the natural behavior from this Mbuna fades away in a normal mbuna tank and although shells are provided for their use, they are barely used. Most probably they need a biotope that resembles nature very strictly: a mix of only sand and shells.


Lanistes nyassanus shells in my aquarium. Here a carying female swims between them, but in reality they were only colonized by a serious amount of algae.

 

All photos by Frank Panis.

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