Care Level: Easy
Live Plant Safe: With Caution
General Description: The Hap Mdoka White Lip, also known as Placidochromis Phenochilus ‘Mdoka’ or the Blue Sand Dweller, is endemic to Lake Malawi’s open water with sandy areas. For this fish specifically, ‘Mdoka’ refers to the specific locale of where this population is found. The majority of specimens within the aquarium trade are commercially produced through aquaculture and farms, however. This fish is often referred to as a ‘Hap’ because it is within the tribe of African cichlids known as Haplochromines. Both female and young male Mdoka white lips have blue-gray bodies with several dark horizontal stripes and a tinge of blue. As adults both males and females will be a stunning metallic dark blue color, however it is only the males that develop very large white lips. Similar to the Star Sapphire cichlid (Placidochromis phenochilus ‘Tanzania’), however this species develops metallic white blotches with age and lacks the white lips. A relatively peaceful fish, Mdoka white lip would not fare well in aggressive African cichlid tanks such as those that contain various species of Mbuna. Mdoka white lip are quite active and would do best in a tank that provides such space for ample exploration and movement. This species would prefer to be kept in a group of at least 5 individuals. Sexing young fish can be challenging, however multiple males can be kept together successfully, as squabbling is often only observed during spawning. An adult Mdoka white lip can reach a size of approximately 6″.
Diet Requirements: Mdoka white lip are omnivorous. Various high quality vegetable and protein based flake foods and sinking pellet foods are acceptable. Frozen foods such as spirulina or standard brine shrimp, daphnia, and other mixed freshwater preparations should also be offered. Variety is the spice of life in order to maintain color, immune function and longevity of your fish.
Care Requirements: An established minimum 55 gallon aquarium is ideal for a small group of juvenile Hap Mdoka white lip. Biweekly water changes are encouraged to keep water parameters up to standard (Nitrates < 30 ppm). The aquarium should be aquascaped with some stacked rocks to create hiding spaces and caves, but for this species, more unobstructed and open swimming space should be provided. A sand-like substrate is needed because Mdoka white lip will spend a considerable amount of time sifting the sand. Too coarse of substrate can inhibit feeding, damage gills, and even cause internal blockages or damage if ingested. The aquarium also needs to be well oxygenated. African cichlid specific substrates are great choices because they will buffer the pH and alkalinity to levels characteristic of Lake Malawi. Mdoka white lip would thrive best in an African cichlid tank with more peaceful Malawian and Tanganyikan fish. Recommended water conditions, 74-80° F, KH 10-25, pH 7.5-8.5.
Purchase Size: Medium: 2-1/2” to 3”
Note: Your item may not look identical to the image provided due to variation within species. Purchase sizes are approximate.