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The Placidochromis sp. Phenochilus, or Star Sapphire Cichlid
Scientific name: Placidochromis sp.
Common name: Star Fire Cichlid, Mirror Ball
Usual size in fish tanks: 10 - 12 cm (3.94 - 4.72 inch)
Recommended pH range for the species: 7.5 - 8.5
Recommended water hardness (dGH): 16 - 24°N (285.71 - 428.57ppm)
0°C 32°F30°C 86°F
Recommended temperature: 24 - 26 °C (75.2 - 78.8°F)
The way how these fish reproduce: Spawning
Where the species comes from: Africa
Temperament to its own species: peaceful
Temperament toward other fish species: aggressive to smaller
Usual place in the tank: Middle levels
Food and feeding
Star Sapphire cichlids are carnivores and should be offered a diet which includes a foods that are high in protein. In a home aquarium they will accept commercially prepared cichlid pellets, and live (or frozen) brine shrimp or krill. Such foods will help these fish display their bright metallic blue colors.
The Placidochromis sp. Phenochilus, or Star Sapphire Cichlid is a popular species of Haplochromis which are found along the shoreline between Makonde and Lupingu, Tanzania, and at Kasinda in Lake Malawi
Star Sapphire cichlids are sexually dimorphic, which means that males and females are display different colors as they mature. Males will develop the metallic blue with glittering blue and white spots, while females will remain a grey to blue color with black vertical bars on their body.
Like most Lake Malawi cichlids, the Placidochromis phenochilus is a maternal mouthbrooder. When spawning, a female will circle around, pick up the eggs, and hold them in her mouth to protect them. Females may continue to carry the eggs and fry in their mouth for two weeks or longer. Keeping several females with one male when breeding is good for diving the attention of an aggressive male.
The expected life span for Ruby red peacock is 5-10 years.
Star Sapphire cichlids are generally peaceful and only show minimal levels of aggression. They are best kept with other Haplochromis of a similar size and temperament. Dominant males may show increased levels of aggression towards other males, and may also show increased levels of aggression when actively breeding.
Placidochromis phenochilus are known as “Blue Followers” because of an unusual feeding strategy this species has adopted. In open sand areas of the lake, the big cichlid Taeniolethrinops orbitalis looks for food by filtering the sands through its gills, in the process stirring up a lot of detritus.