The mbuna is a species of cichlid endemic to Lake Malawi where it is known from Mkata Bay and Mbamba Bay. It prefers areas with rocky substrates where it can graze on algae. It can reach a length of 9.5 centimetres SL. It can also be found in the aquarium .
ENDEMIC TO: Lake Malawi - AFRICA
MAX SIZE: 30cm
WATER PARAMETERS: 24-26c / ph 7.2 to 8.5
CLASS: Mouth brooding Mbuna
SEXUAL DIMORPHISM: Males and females both begin life as a plain silver fish with two parallel rows of black markings from the first dorsal ray backwards to the tail. Sexually mature males begin colouring at approximately 12cm in size and transform into an attractive fish attaining a white mask over the head, blues and purples through the caudal (tail), dorsal fins and greens in the gill region. Their body colour darkens to a deep black with red edges around the scales. Females reach adult hood with the same juvenile patterns, some acquiring a duller silver with less black markings. Diagnosis in this species is most accurate via the vents of the fish especially if males are not yet coloured. TEMPERAMENT: Males can be extremely territorial. The Rostratus has size and strength all to its advantage. Males in breeding condition will terrorise females to a point of certain death so adequate space in the aquarium and caves for the female to seek refuge must be available. The initial generations of FossorochromisRostratus in Australia were accepted with much enthusiasm. A particular breeder collected 10 -12 specimens to rear for breeding purposes. Close to 12 months later the 5cm juveniles had reached 25cm as they were given ample growing space in a 3m aquarium however due to the unfortunate aggression of the males in the colony only 2 males and 1 single female survived. ￼ DIET REQUIREMENTS: FossorochromisRostratus are commonly found in shallow water regions in the wild sifting through sand with their extended snouts to source insect larvae and small crustaceans as food. In captivity, they readily take dry foods (sinking pellets/flakes), frozen blood worms/brine shrimp and live foods. It is recommended that you provide your fish with a varied diet by supplementing with frozen or live foods at least once a week to further ensure your fish remain vibrant and healthy. AUTHOR'S NOTES: Rostratus are more an open water species. They will enjoy defending caves however they are most suited to a habitat with fine substrate where they excavate pits for breeding and territorial purposes. Current strains of F.Rostratus have seen adapted to captive aquarium environments. Initial specimens did not begin breeding until they had reached aminimum of 25cm in length. At present, it is common to hear Rostratus in successful breeding colonies as young as 12-15cm. This lone species in the genus Fossorochromis are extremely boisterous and aggressive to its own family members but housing in a communal aquarium with other cichlidsis still possible. Due to the high level of aggression that the dominant males display, mouth brooding females that do not have enough space to evade the harassment are more inclined to abandon their mouthfuls by spitting or swallowing the young. Mouth brooding females are defenseless when they are brooding and do not have enough energy to fend off their persistent counterparts. Buying juveniles to rear for a breeding colony - Always only select 1-2 largest ones from the same batch and 3-4 smaller ones to enhance the possibilities of a higher ratio of females to males. Rostratus are most successfully bred with more counterparts in the colony allowing mouth brooding females better opportunities to escape constant harassment from dominant males. If not enough numbers of the same species, introduce other cichlids to provide distractions for the male. It is rare for this cichlid to be associated with interbreeding. Generally an adult mouth brooding female will hold up to 90 eggs. From date of spawning, fry should be free swimming after 14 days depending on water temperature. Easy to House and rear. Raise temperatures and feed live foods to optimise breeding. On a scale of 1-10 (ten being hard) the Rostratus species scores a 6 for ease of breeding. Rostratus males display wonderfully in a community aquarium and may socialise with many types of ornamental fish with the provision they do not fit into their mouth. photo courtesy NEMO AQUA PETS