Common Names: Star Sapphire
Scientific Name: Placidochromis phenocilus
Origin: Northeastern shoreline between Makonde and Lupingu, Tanzania and at Kasinda, Malawi.
Habitat: Shallow Waters
Gender Differences: Dimorphic
Breeding: Maternal Mouthbrooder
Maximum Size: 9"
Minimum Tank Size: 60G
PH Range: 7.8-8.6
Water Hardness: Hard
The phenocilus was placed in the Placidochromis genus due to the similar resemblance females have with Placidochromis electra (Deep Water Hap). P. phenocilus are one of the most interesting fish to watch mature the males colours will change from all blue to having white and light blue spots all over it’s body. Within Lake Malawi there are two variants of this species those from Mdoka to Chirwa males are solid blue with white lips and those from Tanzania which are blue with these white and light blue spots.
The phenocilus follows other fish in the wild sieving through sand to get it’s meal, very similar in it’s feeding style to the Cyrtocara moorii.
Sex differences: As the Placidochromis phenochilus reaches maturity, the male will turn from a grayish color to a glitter-like blue, silver, and white color. Females will be smaller and remain a gray, blue, or violet base with black stripes on their body.
Observed spawning habits:P. phenocilus will start to breed at around four inches long. The fish will excavate a small pit in which they spawn. P. phenocilus are maternal mouthbrooders which means the female with hold the eggs in her mouth until they hatch and the fry develop. The females are usually good holders and will typically hold to term, which is about three weeks. Once the fry have been released from the female’s mouth you can remove the females to keep the fry safe and feed the fry on baby brineshrimp or crushed flake.