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Cyphotilapia gibberosa "Cape Chaitika" 2.5"

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Cyphotilapia: from the Ancient Greek κυφός (kyfós), meaning ‘a hump’, and the generic name Tilapia, itself a latinisation of the Tswana word tlhapi, meaning ‘fish’.

gibberosa: derived from the Latin gibber, meaning ‘a hump’, in allusion to the hump on the head of adults.

Endemic to the southern portion of Lake Tanganyika where it is distributed between Kilewa Bay on the western coast and the Mahale Mountain National Park on the eastern coast.

It occurs throughout this area, but localities popular in the aquarium hobby include: Kapampa, Kitumba, Mikula, and Moba in Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly known as Zaire, which is still used in reference to some populations’); Bismark, Chaitika, Nangu, and Samazi in Zambia; Mpimbwe, Ikola, Kantalamba, and Mabilili in Tanzania.

C. gibberosa is most commonly observed in littoral, sediment-rich, rocky environments at depths of 6-120 metres, typically among boulders with patches of open substrate between 15-70 metres. Such habitats contain relatively few available shelters, and this appears to have exerted a direct influence on the species’ reproductive strategy (see ‘Reproduction’).

It forms large aggregations which sometimes contain 1000 individuals or more, with older, larger individuals displaying a preference for deeper water.

A well-structured aquarium comprising some sheltered areas with plenty of open space is considered ideal. A natural set-up could consist of a sandy substrate plus some piles of water-worn rocks of various sizes, some of which can be arranged to form cave-like structures, and perhaps a few large boulders.

Alternatively, aquarium gravel can be used as a substrate, and items such as earthenware flower pots utilised as refuges, but in all cases sharp edges should be avoided in order to prevent the fish injuring themselves.

The alpha male(s) tend to select a particular cave or other sheltered area, thus it is beneficial to provide enough structures of sufficient size to accommodate the largest males present. If some smaller caves are provided, females will make use of them when holding eggs (see ‘Reproduction’).

Water quality is of the utmost importance since these cichlids are extremely susceptible to deteriorating water quality, and should never be introduced to a biologically immature aquarium. 

This species is a generalised predator feeding on smaller fishes, macro-invertebrates, and molluscs, plus some algae and organic detritus which is presumably ingested when the fish are browsing the substrate or the surface of rocks.Ezoic

In the aquarium it will accept high quality prepared foods plus live or frozen Artemia, mosquito larvae, shrimp, etc. At least some of the dried products should contain a significant proportion of vegetable matter, such as Spirulina or similar, while chopped peas and suchlike are also useful supplements.

It should not be offered mammalian or avian meat such as beef heart or chicken since some of the lipids contained in these cannot be properly metabolised by the fish and may cause excess fat deposits and even organ degeneration. Similarly there is no benefit in the use of ‘feeder’ fish such as livebearers or small goldfish which carry with them the risk of parasite or disease introduction, and tend not have a high nutritional value unless properly conditioned beforehand.

 

Cyphotilapia gibberosa "Cape Chaitika" 2.5"
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