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Pseudotropheus sp. zebra gold


by Franzesco Zezza

This is a very beautiful picture of an Italian hobbyist Lorenzo Scarchini (lord65@libero.it). I met Lorenzo at AIC auction in September 2000 and all we did was trading fishes. Then we remained in contact, via E-Mail since we live quite far away, and when he sent me this pic I, immediately, decided it’s worth publishing. This picture further fascinates me for, at least, two reasons:

 ·        Upper fish (Pseudotropheus sp. "Zebra Gold") is, likely, one of the most coloured M’buna I’ve ever seen.

·        Lower fish (Pseudotropheus sp. “Msobo”) is a son (F1) of the fishes I brought home from Lake Malawi in 1997 (Tanzania)

Short info on Pseudotropheus sp. "Zebra Gold", as supplied by Lorenzo himself: 

This fish lives in rocky areas of Lake Malawi ranging (in depth) from 10 to 25 meters. It occurs in the North-West area of the lake from Nkhata Bay (Mundola point) to Charo which means an area as long as (about) 100 km. Pictured fish is a male of a colour morph known as "Kawanga". Breeding males chase only other males of their own kind that’s why all sub-dominant males live alone or, also, in small groups mixed with females. Among territorial males are also found "marmalade cats" specimens. Further information on this fish can be found in: Konigs Ad (1995) - Malawi Cichlids in their natural habitat. 2nd edition - Cichlid Press USA.

Pseudotropheus sp. “Msobo” (specimen pictured) is son (F1) of the “original” trio (I still have the male and one female) I got in Tanzania in 1997 (it’s only four years ago, but, to me, looks like ages!). This is not a bully fish but, all the same, has to be handled “with care” since they had managed to live very well struggling with other M’bunas and Victorians (and namely H. nyererei). I’ve noticed a sort of “territorial behaviour” also among females (fighting each other – even if not with the ferocity of the males) - for spots that are preferred to others. It can be a stubborn spawner : as a matter of fact; mine took 13 months (!), once back from Africa, to get the first batch of fry and, then, they had a break of over one year (with no detectable problems in the tan(s) they lived in). Definitely I like this fish since is the first wild M’buna (ever) I spawned and I’m, more than happy because other fellows can get the same satisfaction. The fish pictured in Lorenzo’s tank has just had its first offspring: 25 – fit ‘n strong - fry!

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