Tropical Fish Site

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Kyoga Flameback – Haplochromis Xystichromis


Common name: Kyoga Flameback

Scientific name: Haplochromis Xystichromis

Average Adult Fish Size: 15cm / 6 Inches

Place of Origin: Lake Victoria

Typical Tank setup: Rocky Victoria tank

Recommended Minimum Aquarium Capacity: 40 gallons / 160 Litres

Compatibility: Keep with other mildly aggressive Victorians

Temperature: 24-27 Deg C / 74-79 Deg F

Water chemistry:  pH 7.2-8.6 with 8.0 being ideal

Feeding: Flamebacks are omnivorous. 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: Males tend to have better coloration; grow at a faster rate; and will display their adult coloration sooner than the females. Male coloration is also often more bold than females’ because they like to show it off when courting females. Adult males will also tend to have a deeper body, whereas females appear more slim and streamlined. While these characteristics may help an experienced hobbyist, venting is the only sure way to determine gender with Haplochromis species.

Breeding: As with most African Cichlids the Kyoga Flameback will readily breed in an aquarium, provided good water parameters, and nutrition are given. The males will try to lure ripe females to a spot in the aquarium they have picked out. They do this by flashing their brilliant breeding dress and they shake and shimmy their body for the female. They usually remove any sand or gravel to make a smooth spot for the female to drop her eggs. The male will then fertilize the eggs as the female picks them up. A medium sized piece of slate works well and will keep them from digging all the way down to the glass bottom of your tank. Kyoga Flamebacks are a mouth brooding cichlid. This means the female holds the eggs in her mouth until the fry has developed and is ready to be released. It typically takes about 18 days (more or less) for the female to release the fry. At this time the fry are fully developed and ready to eat very finely crushed foods. There is no need for expensive fry food as either frozen baby brine shrimp (bbs) or a good flake food crushed into almost microscopic pieces work just as well.

Additional Information: Even though  Haplochromis species are hearty, keeping them is not without challenges. Flamebacks are one of the most colorful fish from Lake Victoria. If you find them, be sure and breed them as they are endangered in the wild because of pollution and the introduction of the Nile Perch, which is rapidly eating all the fish in Lake Victoria.