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Nimbochromis linni


Most people like myself who get into Malawi cichlids started with the attractive Mbuna who can satisfy the keeper very much because of their vivid colours, remarkable behaviour and easy breeding. But Mbuna are not the only species in the lake. There are also fish that feed on them. One of them is Nimbochromis linni, a highly specialized ambush predator, and one of my most favorite Malawi cichlids. Through his perfect camouflage colours (shared with the close species Nimbochromis polystigma) he's almost invisible in the rocky habitat. There he moves from cave to cave to find young inexperienced Mbuna. When he sees one of these juveniles he settles down at the edge of a rock where he waits motionless until his prey shows up again. Once the young Mbuna gets within reach the linni sucks it in with his bulging out mouth. 

 



Nimbochromis Linni in it's typical hunting position: waiting motionless 
at the edge of a rock until a prey shows up.

First obvious and most important condition for keeping such large growing cichlids is a monster tank. The absolute minimum should be 750L or 200G for the 30cm linni. Of course they will survive in a smaller one but this won't let the fish stand out as it should. A rule of thumb on this is keeping fish in a tank with a length of 10X the adult body size. Also a decent aquarium depth is highly advisable. Decoration has to be adapted to let the Nimbochromis linni feel at home: big rocks with large caves for hiding and hunting combined with a sandy plain will do great.


    


Nimbochromis linni in action.

The picture above shows the male swimming in the open water with direct sunlight shining on his body. 


The picture left shows the fish upside down: he spares no effort to catch a prey. It also shows what kind of decoration is needed for such cichlids: BIG ROCKS!

 

Suited food for Nimbochromis linni consists of fish, shrimp or other sea products, combined with only small amounts of sticks, flakes or pellets. The question if live fish should be fed is up to the keeper. My opinion is that it's unnecessary. The occasional fry growing up in the show tank can stimulate the hunting instinct of this remarkable fish more than enough.
Breeding happens only in a short period of the year, especially with wildcaught ones. It's one of my goals when the new monster aquarium is built: breed the Linni!

Photos by Frank Panis.

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