Placidochromis sp. Phenochilus Tanzania
Star Sapphire Cichlid

    Placidochromis sp. Phenochilus Tanzania, Star Sapphire Cichlid

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  • Max Size:

    10.0"

  • Temperament:

    Mildly Aggressive

  • Water Temperature:

    78-82°F

  • Diet:

    Carnivore

  • Min. Tank Size:

    125 Gal

  • Description:

    The Placidochromis sp. Phenochilus, or Star Sapphire Cichlid is a popular species of Haplochromis which are found along the shoreline between Makonde and Lupingu, Tanzania, and at Kasinda in Lake Malawi. Males of these species are highly sought after by aquarists for their stunning metallic blue color with glittering white and blue spots. Though females do not get the glittering spots, but instead display vertical bars and may develop the blue coloring over their entire body as they mature. Males can get to be about 10" in length and females are usually slightly smaller.

  • Compatibility:

    Star Sapphire cichlids are generally peaceful and only show minimal levels of aggression. They are best kept with other Haplochromis of a similar size and temperament. Dominant males may show increased levels of aggression towards other males, and may also show increased levels of aggression when actively breeding. Some compatible cichlid species are Peacock cichlids like the Red Top Lwanda and other Haps like the Yellow Blaze Lithobates, and the Red Fin Borleyi cichlid.

  • Tank Requirements and Feeding:

    Placidochromis sp. Phenochilus are native to the hard alkaline waters of Lake Malawi in Africa. Water conditions in a home aquarium should be much like the conditions found in the natural habitat in order for these fish to be healthy and display bright colors. The water temperature should be between 78 - 82°F with a pH between 7.8 - 8.6. Additives like Cichlid Lake Salt and Malawi/Victoria Buffer will condition the aquarium water for African cichlids. The substrate should be sand, and there should be some rocks to form caves and passageways along with an open swimming area.

    Star Sapphire cichlids are carnivores and should be offered a diet which includes a foods that are high in protein. In a home aquarium they will accept commercially prepared cichlid pellets iconalong with plankton based flakes, and live (or frozen) brine shrimp or krill. Such foods will help these fish display their bright metallic blue colors.

  • Breeding:

    Star Sapphire cichlids are sexually dimorphic, which means that males and females are display different colors as they mature. Males will develop the metallic blue with glittering blue and white spots, while females will remain a grey to blue color with black vertical bars on their body.

    Like most Lake Malawi cichlids, the Placidochromis phenochilus is a maternal mouthbrooder. When spawning, a female will circle around, pick up the eggs, and hold them in her mouth to protect them. Females may continue to carry the eggs and fry in their mouth for two weeks or longer. Keeping several females with one male when breeding is good for diving the attention of an aggressive male.

    All Lake Malawi Haplochromis species will hybridize with other closely related species. If you want to avoid hybridization, the Star Sapphire cichlid should not be kept with Placidochromis electra.