Chipokae Cichlid (Melanochromis chipokae) are from Lake Malawi. A very attractive fish thatcan easily reach 15cm as adults and are aggressive and territorial. Recommended for the intermediate to advanced aquarist with tanks at least 300 litres. If you have a large aquarium, then they are well worth keeping.
They are found around Chipoka (from which they are named), and are common at Chidunga Rocks & Nakantenga Island. They are also known as Malawi Pike Cichlid.
Males have a dark grey-blue body with electric blue highlights to their flanks. Females have a bright yellow belly, orange tail and alternating tan and brown stripes that extend into the dorsal fin. As the chipokae begins to mature, the males will begin to change color, to an attractive dark blue/purple, with lighter blue stripes. This is a large and robust fish, that grows to 17cm in the wild, but has been known to grow even larger in the aquarium.
In the wild the males are only weakly territorial in the defense of their spawning sites. This contrasts severely with their behavior in the aquarium, where they can be one of the most aggressive mbuna. They are usually aggressive to all species in the aquarium, but particularly so with their own kind. It is best to keep at least three females for each male. If you keep less, it is likely that the females will be chased relentlessly, with deaths being a real possibility. It is best to provide multiple hiding places, for chased fish to hide from the aggression of the chipokae.
Typical of most fish from Lake Malawi, they prefer an aquarium with harder water, with a range of 7.6 to 8.5 being ideal. An ideal hardness would be considered to be in the range of 7 to 18 dh. Lake Malawi has very stable temperatures, and in the aquarium this fish is best kept in the 24-26°C range. It is found in the intermediate habitat, mixed between the rocky areas, and the sand areas. It is also a fish that stays in relatively shallow waters, between 5 to 15 meters deep..
They are cave dwellers so numerous shelves, caves and or hiding places are recommended.
Appropriate mbuna (pronounced boo – nuh, the common name for a large group of African cichlids from Lake Malawi) tankmates include Metriaclima lombardoi (kenyii), Metriaclima “zebra complex fish”, Metriaclima crabro, Tropheops, Labeotropheus, and Pseudotropheus “elongatus complex fish”. In tanks of six foot and larger, they can also be kept with larger more aggressive Haplochromines. If attempting this, it is much better to start with much larger Hap’s, in order to avoid them being overly harassed by the chipokae. Appropriate “Hap’s” would include Nimbochromis, Dimidiochromis, Tyrannochromis, Fossochromis and Buccochromis varieties.
Click for all Malawi Cichlids at Rebel Pets.
Flake food & small pellets. Frozen Foods: brine shrimp, Mysis, pacifica plankton, bloodworms. They’re considered omnivorous, but it’s primary diet is crustaceans, insect larvae and small fish. In the aquarium they will readily accept any diet that includes flake foods, high quality pellet, brine shrimp and Mysis shrimp.
Aquarium water shouldn’t contain ammonia, thus regular water changing (25-40%) is fundamental. Mixing African with South American cichlids can increase the chances of getting a disease because they have evolved different immunities.
See Fish Disease Diagnosis and Treatment at Rebel Pets for help with diagnosing and treating diseases.
|Adult Size:||17+ cm|
|Aquarist Experience Level:||Intermediate to advanced|
|Minimum Tank Size:||300 litres|
|Temperament:||Aggressive and territorial|
|Tank Level:||Middle/bottom dweller|
|Diet:||Omnivore, eats most foods|
|Lifespan:||5 – 8 Years|
|Temperature:||24 to 28°C|
|pH:||7.6 – 8.2|
|Hardness:||7 to 18 dGH (soft)|