The Large-Eyed Mouthbrooder Callochromis Macrops (previously Paratilapia macrops) is a very pretty cichlid. It has the most distinctive large colorful eyes and that is the one thing that you notice right away. Its body too is beautifully colored, but the coloring is quite variable depending on where its from. This species can range in color tones from beautiful reds, oranges, and yellows to bright blues, lavenders, and browns.
This is a moderately sized cichlid from Lake Tanganyika, Africa. the males males reach just over 5 inches (13.5 cm) in length, with females a bit smaller. It is often simply referred to by its scientific name Callochromis Macrops. But other common names used for it include Large-Eyed Mouthbrooder, Big Eye Mouthbrooder, Southern Large-Eyed Muzzle Cichlid, and Southern Bigeye-Mouthbrooder. Others are Macrops "Red", and in german "Southern Large-Eyed Muzzle Breeder" (Sudlicher GroBaugen-Maulbruter).
Each location in the lake has a different color variation, so these cichlids are also named for regions of the Lake where they are found. Some of these that are occasionally seen include Callochromis Macrops "Ndole Bay" or "Ndole Bay Red", Callochromis Macrops "Moliro" or "Red", Callochromis Macrops "Kasanga", and others such as "Tanzania", "Isanga", "Kafungi", "Kantalamba", "Katoto", and "Namansi".
This is a very beautiful sand dwelling cichlid, but it is also more aggressive. It can be kept with featherfins and other sand cichlid species, but will not get along well with conspecifics. It should be kept singly or in groups in a larger aquarium. They are actually only mildly aggressive to other fish that do not have a similar size or shape.
Popular because of its compact size and color, this cichlid is easy to moderate to care for as long as regular water changes are done to keep the water quality optimal. It is a fish best obtained by intermediate and experienced cichlid keepers as they need a large aquarium and are very delicate and sensitive to handling and shipping. Provide them with a sandy substrate along with lots of rock formations and plants. This fish will breed in captivity, building nests in the sand. The plants will provide cover for the the females and newly hatch fry.
It is much easier to tell the difference between male and female with this species than it is with other Lake Tanganyikan cichlids. The females are typically smaller and silver, making it easier to obtain a balanced group of one male and several females. Males of the "red" variety are very nicely marked adding a nice contrasting color to the tank. Tank raised males seem less aggressive toward females. Do not house more than one male. It is important to keep conspecific varieties and similar species separate as they will hybridize freely.
Habitat: This is the primary location where the cichlid is found and is a generalization. This does not
mean a fish cannot be found in other habitats.
Diet: Many cichlids specialize in eating one type of food; notwithstanding, some of these specialized
feeders are flexible and can be opportunistic feeders.
Temperament: This describes the overall demeanor of a cichlid toward other tankmates that
are of a different species. Consider that there is variability in temperament due to various factors,
including aquarium size, tankmates of similar appearance, stocking levels, and order of introduction.
There may even be some variability among individual specimens.
Conspecific Temperament: This describes the overall demeanor of a cichlid toward other tank-
mates of the same species. Consider that there is variability in temperament due to such factors as
aquarium size, stocking levels and order of introduction. There may even be some variability among
Maximum Size: This is in regards to total length (including the tail) of typical aquarium specimens.
Wild specimens may not attain this size, or may in fact grow larger than aquarium raised individuals
due to various factors. Also consider that this is the typical maximum size and there are exceptional
individuals that will exceed it.
Difficulty: This measure is a relative value, comparing a single species against all other cichlids.
This only accounts for maintanence in the aquarium and not breeding considerations.
1 = easy and forgiving, 5 = extremely challenging.
Breeding / Reproduction
The Callochromis Macrops has been bred in captivity and will often spawn in the community tank. Though they are mouthbrooders, males do not form a bond with the females. The females care for the young alone. The male forms a nest from a pile of sand that is about 13" (35 cm) and near a spawning platform. Thus the need to use sand as a substrate.
The male pursues the female to lure her to his nest. There he makes his egg spotted anal fin appear to be a 3 dimensional egg by folding it. This tricks the female into laying her eggs. Once she lays the eggs, she picks them up in her mouth. She then notices the other "egg" on the male's anal fin . She mouths that area until he releases sperm, which she takes into her mouth to fertilize the eggs. The female will carry the eggs for several weeks and can produce a clutch ranging from 25 to 60 fry. She will protect them for a few weeks after being released.
The Large-Eyed Mouthbrooder is susceptible to typical fish ailments, especially if water is stale and of poor quality and oxygenation. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Water changes, not overfeeding or overcrowding, and observation along with feeding your fish the proper foods (thawing frozen food and adding vitamins) will keep them in optimum health. For freshwater an optional practice is to add 1 heaping teaspoon of salt per 11 gallons of water. This is considered to be a simple and natural remedy for wounds, minor fungal infections and film over the eyes of fish in transit. Using a marine salt (used for salt water fish) will add some trace elements.
One common problem is Ich. It can be treated with the elevation of the tank temperature to 86° F (30° C) for 3 days. If that does not cure the Ich, then the fish needs to be treated with copper (remove any water conditioners). Several copper based fish medications are available for Ich. Copper use must be kept within the proper levels, so be sure to follow the manufacturers suggestions. A copper test also can be used to keep the proper levels. You can also combine increasing the temperature with an Ich medication treatment.
As with most fish they are susceptible to skin flukes and other parasitic infestations (protozoa, worms, etc.), fungal infections, and bacterial infections. It is recommended to read up on the common tank diseases. Knowing the signs and catching and treating them early makes a huge difference. For information about freshwater fish diseases and illnesses
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