This week’s Fish of the Week is a colourful cichlid from Africa that carries with it quite a misnomer. The Electric Yellow Cichlid (Labidochromis caeruleus) is a vivid yellow fish that inhabits the rocky shores of Lake Malawi. African cichlids from Lake Malawi require hard, alkaline water to thrive (pH >7.8, dKH >4). NT Labs KH Up - pH Stabiliser raises both these levels in an easy to use dosage rates (always raise pH and KH gradually).
The misnomer this fish carries is hidden within its scientific name. These names often describe a physical attribute to the fish (scientific description). The problem with this cichlids name is describes it not as a yellow fish, but as a blue one! Caeruleus comes from the Latin for blue (caeruleum). Why therefore would a yellow fish be described as a blue one? The answer is Lake Malawi is a huge body of water, estimated at 8.4 quadrillion litres (that’s 15 zeros!). With so much space, variation of a species can occur. The yellow morph of this cichlid is only found in one small area of Lake Malawi (Lion’s Cove). Scientific naming rules state the first name to describe the species sticks. This species was first described in the 1950s as a whiteish-blue fish. It was only in the 1980s the yellow variant was discovered but instantly became more popular in the aquarium trade.
The Yellow Electric Cichlid is considered one of the more docile African cichlid species. They are ‘mouthbrooders’ - a special technique for breeding and rearing young. The female carries the eggs in her mouth after fertilisation in a pit dug by the male. The males are generally more colourful than females and carry a significant yellow dot(s) on their anal fin. These ‘egg spots’ are to trick the female during mating into thinking there are more eggs near his vent, to guarantee fertilisation of the eggs. The female will carry the developing eggs in her mouth until they are fully developed, and will continue to provide shelter even once they are confident enough to leave her mouth.