Tropical Fish Site

Profiles Reviews Guides for Tropical and Marine

Christmas Fulu – Xystichromis Phytophagus


Common name: Christmas Fulu

Scientific name: Xystichromis Phytophagus

Average Adult Fish Size: 11 cm / 4.25 inches for males, females are slightly smaller

Place of Origin: Lake Victoria

Typical Tank setup: Rocky Victorian tank but also appreciates pieces of driftwood

Recommended Minimum Aquarium Capacity: 40 gallon / 160 litre minimum for one male. An 80 gallon / 320 litre aquarium or larger is best when keeping 2 males and up to 6-8 females.

Compatibility: Mildly to moderately aggressive. Best kept with other Victorians of the same size.

Temperature: 27 Deg C / 80 Deg F is preferred with a range of 25-32 Deg C / 77-90 Deg F

Water chemistry: pH 7.5 – 8.2

Feeding:  Christmas Fulu are primarily vegetarian in the wild and subsist mainly on algae, but do very well on an omnivorous diet. Feed spirulina-based flake food or the appropriate sized pellet supplemented with fresh green vegetables such as romaine lettuce and spinach. Frozen or fresh brine shrimp can be fed as an occasional treat.

Sexing: When the males are in breeding color, the Christmas Fulu has both red and green coloration given by many to a Christmas coloration. Often males display blue in the facial area & dorsal fin as well. The female Christmas Fulu is a flat gold color with a yellow tinge to the fins. Of course to be 100% accurate, sexing is best performed by venting.

Breeding: The Xystichromis phytophagus is a polygamous maternal mouthbrooder. It is however important to keep male aggression under control during the breeding period. One male will establish dominance in the aquarium and show this by making his colors more pronounced. This male will also chase any other males present out of sight and keep the territory free from females not ready to breed. A pit will be dug out by this dominant male and he will actively start to court the ripe females. Females release their fry after approximately 15 days. Feed fry very small foods such a Hikari First Bites, crushed flake, or baby brine shrimp is recommended.

Additional Information: A gorgeous, but endangered species. It is already considered extinct in Lake Victoria, but is still quite common in Lake Kanyaboli, a nearby lake in the Kenyan Yala Swamp. Captive breeding is the primary source for specimens. Please breed and re-distribute when found.