Copadichromis sp “Mloto Fluorescent”
By Tony Jochman
Copadichromis sp “Mloto Fluorescent” is found and collected at Hai Reef in Tanzania. According to African Diving Ltd, "It is a rare cichlid that may be found in sediment rich biotope where rocks meet the open sand floor. Females gather together in small groups seeking plankton some meters up from the bottom." The males are bright blue with slight white blaze and green in the mouth area, and the females are silverish color with spots. From the trio that I have, I would say that they are semi- to non-aggressive with the male attaining a length of 5-6 inches with females being slightly smaller.
The tank I keep them in is a 40 gallon tank, with the temperature set at 78° F, and a Bio-wheel filter filtering it. A big mound of rocks keeps them happy and gives them a spot to breed. Mloto’s are cave-crater type breeders, meaning they dig a big pit next to the rock for spawning. When the male is ready to breed he does get a little more aggressive, but mainly just to protect his territory.
Come spawning time the male does his little dance, or jittering, in front of the females and if any are ready she will follow the male into the breeding pit. The male will then scrape his anal fin on the rocks to show the female a good place to place her eggs. The female will follow, lay her eggs, and then pick them back up very quickly. She does this in a number of times, and as she picks up her eggs the male rubs his egg spots on the rocks as well. The male does this to entice the female to try to pick up his egg spots also, when she tries he will release his sperm into her mouth to fertilize the eggs. This process takes but a few hours.
I will let the female hold the eggs in her mouth for about 8-12 days, at which time I will strip the eggs. I do this one of two ways. The first is to put her in a breeding contraption called Aqua-Nursery; the other is just a plain old breeding net. When the female is ready I open her mouth and out come lots of little baby fry. I just use a Q-tip, but there are many other methods out there. The fry accept crushed flake food right away, and seem to grow faster in a little warmer water, about 80° F.