Looking For Aggressive Fish? Species Recommendation For You: Pundamilia Nyererei

Pundamilia nyererei

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Pundamilia nyererei  Makobe Island male pictured.

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  • Common Names:
  • Locations collected from: Makobe Island, Ruti Island, Python Island, Igombe island, Nyegezi Rocks, Senga Point, Anchor Island, Ndurwa Point (“Black and Orange nyererei”), Zue Island, and Mabibi Island are the (“Red Head nyererei”), Ukerewe Island (Nansio), and Bwiru Island Lake Victoria.  Each location has a slightly different male breeding coloration.
  • Approximate Size: 4 – 4.5 inches.
  • Food: Not picky, will eat flake, brine shrimp, daphnia, mosquitoes larvae, spirulina, and pellets. In the wild, this is a plankton and insect larvae-eating species much like the Utaka fishes of Lake Malawi.
  • pH:  7.6 – 8.4
  • Temperature:  76 – 82 degrees F.
  • Breeding Behavior: Mouthbrooder.  Males are highly aggressive to every other fish in the tank even the females join in on chasing the other fish around.  Several females for 1 male and 1 male per tank is recommended.   They like a lot of rocks and caves to hide in. Can have fertility problems. Even wild-caught males have been known to have a low fertility rate. Probably will crossbreed with other Victorians and some Malawi Cichlids and Haplochromis burtoni from Lake Tanganyika.
  • Care of the Fry:  Newly released fry can eat crushed flake food, baby brine shrimp, and other small foods.  They should be given several small feedings per day.  Spawns can be kept in a 20 – 30 gallon tank up to an inch in size.  They are not picky about their water conditions.  Males start to develop adult coloration at around 2 inches.
  • Tankmates: This is a very aggressive species.   I have kept mine in with Labidochromis caeruleus, Labidochromis sp. perlmutt, Labidochromis sp. mbamba, Nimbochromis venustus, Copadichromis borleyi, Psuedotropheus zebra “Chilumba”, Psuedotropheus OB cobalt, and Altolamprologus compressiceps.   I have seen Pundamilia nyererei Ruti Island in a tank with Neochromis rufocaudalis (nigricans), Lipochromis sp. Matumbi Hunter, Paralabidochromis chromogynos, and Paralabidochromis chilotes kept in the same tank without problems.
  • Aquarium lifespan:  3 – 3.5 years.
  • Tank size:  I kept 1 male and 5 females in a 40 gallon cube (24x24x18) aquarium.
  • Additional notes:  This fish was formerly called Haplochromis nyererei but was reclassified under the new genus Pundamilia by Ole Seehausen in 1998.  This species is sometimes referred to as Haplochromis nyererei “Flameback”.  While the color pattern is somewhat similar, they are different species.  Pundamilia nyererei has a red upper body from the lips to the tail with a yellow center body, and a black lower body with black barring on the body.   Haplochromis sp. Flameback has a reddish orange upper body from the lips to the tail and a turquoise lower body with a few darker bars. 

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