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Protomelas virgatus



Protomelas virgatus, Haplochromis virgatus, Cyrtocara virgata, occurs naturally south of Nkhotakota in Lake Malawi, Africa. The fish can be found in the transition zone between sandy and rocky bottoms at depths of about 10-17 m, although in some places they can also be found in shallow water, in sheltered areas on top of reefs. The fish was first discovered in 1935, and described by Hans Bergquist, December 16, 2012. There are many beautiful color variations of this species.

The appearance of Protomelas virgatus males varies depending on where they are caught, the coloration can be metallic blue with a yellowish belly and anal. The female has a typical pattern with a pronounced horizontal line and less pronounced vertical lines on the sides. The male reaches a size of about 18 cm and the female 12 cm.

Protomelas virgatus

To keep Protomelas virgatus suitable aquarium of 450 liters with sandy bottom and rocks with caves that will serve as shelters for them. This peaceful cichlids, which get along well with other peace-loving fish of the family. Keep fish preferably with one male and 2-3 females. Should not contain more than one male in the same aquarium, as they begin to antagonize each other and all this can end badly for one of them.

Water parameters: temperature 24-28° C, hardness dH 10-25°, pH acidity 7,5-8,5. Requires filtration, aeration and weekly replacement of 1/3 of the aquarium water with fresh.

Protomelas virgatus

In nature, the fish eat algae growing on rocks as well as small invertebrates. In aquarium conditions they eat almost any food - live and frozen artemia, daphnia, moths, flakes and granular food containing spirulina. Feed the fish twice a day.

Reproduction

Protomelas virgatus reaches its sexual maturity by the age of one year.

In an aquarium, the female spawns on a pre-digged in a sandy substrate hole or a flat surface of the stone. Once the female will spawn, the male immediately fertilize the eggs, after which the female collects it to her mouth, where it incubates for three weeks. All this time the female does not eat anything. Also, the female should not be disturbed because she may swallow the eggs or spit them out when frightened. In total, the female hatches about 100 eggs.

From the first days of life fry are able to eat artemia. Feed them four times a day.

Protomelas virgatus

Protomelas virgatus has a lifespan of about 10-15 years.

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