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Eastern Happy – Astatotilapia Calliptera


Common name: Eastern Happy

Scientific name: Astatotilapia Calliptera

Average Adult Fish Size: 15.2cm / 6 inches

Place of Origin: Lake Malawi

Typical Tank setup: Rocky Lake Malawi

Recommended Minimum Aquarium Capacity: 300 litre / 75 gallon

Compatibility: Semi-aggressive. Best kept with other Malawians of the same temperament and size.

Temperature: 24-28 Deg C / 76-82 Deg F

Water chemistry: pH 7.5 – 8.5

Feeding: Omnivorous and do well on cichlid flakes when small, and pellets when larger. Will also readily accept frozen brine shrimp chunks. Sufficient protein is necessary to bring the female into full breeding condition.

Sexing: Male coloration varies from olive green to bright yellow in courting males. The anterior of the dorsal is edged with black fading to red at the posterior. The caudal fin is translucent blue along the fin rays and also edged faintly in red. In keeping with the Astatotilapia designation, the anal fin is adorned with true occuli in a single row. The anal fin is attractively adorned with red edging on a light blue base. The pelvic fins are black with a light blue/white edge to the first fin ray. A distinctive black line runs from the corner of the mouth through, through the eye, and ending at the top of the eye socket. The lips are bright blue. Faint vertical body bars number between 6 and 8. Female body coloration is olive green to yellow. Fins are mainly colorless.

Breeding: Astatotilapia calliptera are substrate spawners and maternal mouthbrooders. The female cichlid will lay her eggs and immediately gather them up in her mouth. The female will be attracted to the males’ egg-like spots on his anal fin, thinking that they are more eggs to gather up in her mouth; she will try to gather them and will receive sperm from the male, which fertilizes the eggs. The female will carry the eggs (usually a clutch of 25-50) for around 25 days before she releases free-swimming fry. The fry can be fed and raised on Artemia nauplii (baby brine shrimp/bbs) .

Additional Information: While 1 male and his harem of 2-3 females can be raised in a 300 litre / 75 gallon tank, an additional male and his harem will necessitate the use of a 500 litre / 125 gallon aquarium of larger.