Black Diamond Cichlid (Paratilapia Polleni)

Black Diamond Cichlid (Paratilapia Polleni)

Black Diamond Cichlid (Paratilapia Polleni)

Black Diamond Cichlid (Paratilapia Polleni)

Black Diamond Cichlid (Paratilapia Polleni)  A couple of days ago, while writing about the Madagascar Rainbow Fish, I came across an article that mentioned the eainbow fish can be used as dither fish when breeding Paratilapia species. Not being familiar with the genus, I did a quick search and was rewarded with information about the Black Diamond Cichlid and a handful of others collectively called the Madagascar Cichlids. If I had just seen a photo of the beautiful black diamond, I would never have guessed it was an African species nor a near relative of the tilapias. Although I have never had experience with this fish, there are several videos on YouTube showing that it is available to hobbyists. And the more I read about it, the more impressed I became. In nature it can be found in waters with temperatures between 12 and 32°C, 53-90°F. And it can handle pH from blackwater conditions to the alkaline waters favored by lake cichlids. Unfortunately, this adaptability has not saved this fish from near extiction in the wild. One article mentioned that its decline was due to the introduction of invasive species. Curiosity led me to search for what invasive fish species could outcompete such a versatile animal. It turns out that Madagascar’s waterways are victims of many inrentional releases for sports fishing and aquaculture. Among the non-native fish that have decimated the black diamond’s population are largemouth bass, rainbow trout, brook trout, roack, grass carp, common carp, redbelly and Mozambique tilapia, and Northern Pike! And that list does not include invasives that were released for mosquito control and by thoughtless aquarists! It is no wonder that these cichlids..and the Madagascar rainbow fish..are faced with the very real possibility of extiction in the wild. Fortunately, this fish can be bred in tanks, and if you decide to keep it, your aim should be on reproducing it. A mated pair can live in a 200 liter tank, but larger is better especially when breeding or with other fish. They are fish-eating by nature so you do not want to house them with smaller African cichlids, though they can be housed with larger ones. And, while I don’t usually recommend keeping African Cichlids with New World cichlids, because of their versatility regarding water conditions it is possible to house black diamonds with some of the stronger Central American cichlids. Do not house with other Paratilapia species however because they could crossbreed destroying the possibility of preserving the species.
Origin: Madagascar
Size: 25cm/10″
Temperature: Can be kept at room temperatures
Feeding: Thet are unfussy eaters. Even though they feed exclusively on fish in nature, they have adapted readily to non-living substitutes..even flakes. They love earthworms and frozen bloodworms and prawns.
Habitat: They like to have some cover in the tank in the form of flowerpot, tree roots or large caves. They will not harm plants. They tend to be prone to catching ich if their water is not kept clean
Breeding: They become extremely territorial when breeding. Both parents take care of the broid but with specific roles. The mother tends the eggs and babies and does not even let the father near them. The father defends the territory and should be given dither fish for him to chase. If he has nothing to defend the eggs from, he is likely yo atrack the mother. Both parents continue to take care if the young fish until they are about a month old. They babies can be raised together until individuals begin to show aggression to their siblings which, depending on the personality of the fish, can be between 2 and 10 months old.

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