Coptodon bythobates (Tilapia bythobates)

I’m happy to report that I’ve had a successful (free-swimming fry) spawn from my Coptodon bythobates (Tilapia bythobates). I picked up a group of four juveniles this past fall, and they’ve been growing up in my tanks ever since. It appears that I’m going to have 2 pairs when all is said and done. I had been keeping them in a 30 long aquarium, but it seemed as though they might be getting a little aggressive (especially the proven pair), so I moved them to a 135 gallon tank just before going to Iowa for Christmas/New Years. When I got back, the pair was definitely in charge of the tank, constantly chasing the other pair (?) away from one end of the tank. I wasn’t sure what to look for as far as a spawning site, but I did have several flower pots and gravel on the bottom. Once we got back, I did notice several small “pits” in the gravel, but never did see any eggs. When I checked the tank this morning I found probably 50-100 free-swimming fry being guarded by the parents.

Coptodon bythobates are endemic to Lake Bermin in the Cameroon. At this point that is the only place they have been found. Lake Bermin is a crater lake with a volcanic caldera, and is only around 800 yards across. The fish is listed on the IUCN Red List as Critically endangered due to environmental pollution and sedimentation, as well as possibility that the lake could “burp” CO2 causing a lack of oxygen in the water.

This is a very attractive little cichlid, having a green body with red on the underside, especially when in breeding condition. One unusual feature is that as the fish mature, they develop what looks like white lipstick on their mouths. When I first saw that, I was worried that they had a mouth fungus, but it has proven to be part of their natural coloration. Most of the pictures I’ve seen haven’t done justice to how colorful they are, but at some point in the future, I’ll try to take some pictures which will capture their true colors.

Denny Rogers 1/8/2015

By Denny | January 8, 2015 @ 10:48 am | No comments

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