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Pelvicachromis taeniatus
By.....Susan Bradley

Click on All Pictures to Enlarge
All Pictures by: MFJacobs...2004

Africa!!! It conjures up the imagination of even the most hardened tropical fish keeper. The tropical fish that have been coming out of Africa for years and years is seemingly endless. The "Lake Cichlids" have captured the pocketbooks of many a newcomer to the hobby and plenty of the old timers as well. This is for good reason too. Some of them have the colors of the saltwater fishes and for sure some of the "Lake Cichlids" have really unusual spawning habits and of course they are hardy "to boot".

There are other African fish that have attracted my attention and the first one of those was the Pelvicachromis pulcher, the Kribenses. What a very nice and attractive fish. Actually the very first Krib I saw was an albino that was in a fish shop almost three years ago and I purchased a pair and they lasted in my 55 gallon community tank for almost 2 years. I began to get interested in the real krib, as opposed to the albino form and I tracked that form of the Pelvicachromis pulcher until I found a pair and I was a bit disappointed because it was evidently terribly in-breed and the colors were very subdued. I understand that the "old" Krib was really quite a striking fish.

Pelvicachromis pulcher. . . the Red Krib

This leads us to lately. A friend of mine had a bunch of Pelvicachromis taeniatus "Nange" for sale. I read some literature about this "new" African species and all of it's color forms and decided that this is a nifty fish and probably not as inbreed as the Kribs I had seen so I grabbed a pair and went home to give them a tank of their own. What a great idea that was. This is a tremendous fish. Colorful, hardy, relatively new to the hobby, you don't find them at the local fish stores and I think I have something pretty special.

My friend had told me that there would be a transformation of colors under two conditions: Age and Spawning! For starts the "Nange" is a pretty fish anyway but there really was a big change and it was for the better. As pretty as they are in the beginning they became more striking with age.

The original coloration is a darkish brown/gray, it's hard to describe but there are hints as to the color that is coming. The beautiful deep purple on the male is very obvious and there is a hint of the yellow on the chest. The females are always plump, like the kribs, and carry the same basic coloration of the females but the red belly of the Krib gives way to a beautiful very intense purple.

A young group of Pelvicachromis taeniatus "Nange".

Individual fish from the young group of Pelvicachromis taeniatus "Nange".

I have not been successful with raising the young so far but the pair has spawned. The colors the pair took on were almost stunning! The pair turned a copper color and the purple lit up like a Christmas tree. The people that saw these wonderful fish were just amazed at the beauty.

The Pelvicachromis taeniatus fishes come mainly from Northern West Africa to the southern parts of Cameroon, and there are plenty of choices as to color varieties:

1. Nigeria-Yellow
2. Nigeria-Red
3. Nigeria-Green
4. Moliwe
5. Muyuka
6. Wouri
7. Dehane
8. Lokoundje
9. Kienke
10. Nange
11. Lobe
12. Lobe-Red

I am told that these locations may not be all that there are in West Africa but for the moment we have plenty of new fishes to choose from and an exciting group of fishes it is indeed! Here are some maps to get you located as to where the wild Pelvicachromis taeniatus roam.

Click on Maps to enlarge.
Map of Africa and Cameroon, West Africa

Map of Cameroon in West Africa

Nigera is the country immediately to the North of Cameroon and is the location of the northern most Pelvicachromis taeniatus. It will be a lot of fun seeing what the future holds for this very interesting tropical fish. They are colorful, relatively peaceful and are very hardy. You will be glad you took the time to track some of these beauties down and give them a home. They will fascinate you for quite some time.

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