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Taeniolethrinops praeorbitalis

Taeniolethrinops Praeorbitalis

Taeniolethrinops Praeorbitalis

Taeniolethrinops praeorbitalis is a peaceful, solitary cichlid endemic to Lake Malawi that is found over sandy substrates in relatively shallow depths of up to 160 feet.

Taeniolethrinops praeorbitalis can be distinguished from it’s close relative Taeniolethrinops laticeps, by it’s longer snout and the absence of an oblique dark diagonal line that crosses the upper portion of the body in adults.

Taeniolethrinops praeorbitalis

Taeniolethrinops praeorbitalis

Juvenile Taeniolethrinops praeorbitalis have a bright yellow head which becomes less vivid in adult specimens.   Adult males have a blue background coloring especially during breeding, while females remain a drab silver gray color.

Although Taeniolethrinops praeorbitalis are found throughout Lake Malawi, most of the specimens collected for tropical fish keeping enthusiasts are from Senga Bay.

Taeniolethrinops praeorbitalis are a peaceful species that can be housed with other peaceful, similarly sized cichlids such as cyrtocara, copadichromis, protomelas, etc.

Taeniolethrinops praeorbitalis are best housed in an aquarium of at least 150 gallon capacity with a sandy or fine gravel substrate and some large stones strategically formed into hiding places.    Aquatic plants are not necessary and would undoubtedly be dislodged by their digging activities.   They require good filtration, regular water changes, and are good candidates for wet/dry, multiple bio-wheel, or canister filtration systems.

Taeniolethrinops praeorbitalis are maternal mouth brooders that have been farm raised for the tropical fish keeping community.   They have been bred in an aquarium environment by hobbyists using the classic methods for oral incubators.

During breeding, to attract pregnant females, the males construct large craters in the sand that often exceed three feet in diameter.   The males stay in the depression until a pregnant female is attracted and breeding takes place.   The females will incubate the eggs for about three weeks and should have several rocky hiding places available during this time to seclude herself and minimize stress from other tank mates.

In their natural environment in Lake Malawi, Taeniolethrinops praeorbitalis roam the shorelines digging deep into the sandy substrate with their long snouts looking for insect larvae, small crustaceans, and invertebrates.   They are often shadowed by C. moorii and P. annectens that take advantage of Taeniolethrinops praeorbitalis’s digging to feed on the exposed leftovers.

In an aquarium environment, they can be fed live, frozen, and freeze dried mysis shrimp, shrimp, prawns, krill, along with a quality sinking carnivore pellet.

Although Taeniolethrinops praeorbitalis are considered common, they are not readily available.  They can be purchased from specialty fish shops or online from a variety of sources, including Cichlid forums, auctions sites, importers, retailers, wholesalers and collectors at a variety of sizes.

Taeniolethrinops praeorbitalis

Taeniolethrinops praeorbitalis

 

 

 

 

 

Minimum Tank Size: 180 gallons
Care Level: Mildly Difficult
Temperament: Peaceful
Aquarium Hardiness: Hardy
Water Conditions: 71.0 to 82.0° F, dH 6-10°dGH, pH 7.5-8.6
Max. Size: 13.5″
Color Form: Yellow, Blue, Green
Diet: Carnivore
Compatibility: Single species or peaceful Malawi
Origin: Lake Malawi
Family: Cichlidae
Lifespan: 8-10 years
Aquarist Experience Level: Advanced

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