Care Level: Easy
Live Plant Safe: No
General Description: The Hap Venustus Cichlid, also known as the Giraffe Cichlid due to its irregular pattern, is endemic throughout Lake Malawi in shallow waters of both rocky and soft substrates. Venustus was reclassified in 1989 as Nimbochromis rather than Haplochromis, or Hap, that is still commonly part of its description in the aquarium trade. Female or young male Venustus will have a silvery body with an olive-green mottled pattern, and yellow on its abdomen and within some of the fins. An adult male Venustus can be extremely colorful, showcasing brilliant blues and yellow throughout the body with a bold yellow sulphur-like forehead; these colors may also intensify during spawning. Venustus are ambush predators in nature, and therefore may not be a fish for the community Malawi aquarium. A solitary fish, Venustus (albiet males) can be quite aggressive toward each other, but are generally peaceful with species too big to be considered food. An adult Venustus can reach a size of approximately 10″.
Diet Requirements: Venustus, in nature, are piscivores but they do not require live fish in the aquarium to thrive. In fact, we discourage feeding live fish because they are often of little nutritional value and increase the risk of introducing disease. A diet made up of various high quality proteins are ideal, mainly frozen chunks of shrimp, silverside fish, and beef heart. Venustus will accept large sinking pellet foods and flake foods, but these should not make up a large portion of the diet. Variety is the spice of life in order to maintain color, immune function and longevity of your fish.
Care Requirements: An established minimum 75 gallon aquarium is ideal for Venustus. Biweekly water changes are encouraged to keep water parameters up to standard (Nitrates < 30 ppm). The aquarium should be aquascaped generously with stacked rocks to create many hiding spaces and caves, but some unobstructed and open swimming space should also be provided. A sandy or fine substrate is preferred and the aquarium needs to be well oxygenated. African cichlid specific substrates, or even marine Aragonite substrate, are great choices because they will buffer the pH and alkalinity to levels characteristic of Lake Malawi. Venustus are compatible with a number of Malawian and Tanganyikan fish, but should not be kept with overly pugnacious species, or species that can become a meal. Recommended water conditions, 74-80° F, KH 10-25, pH 7.5-8.5.
Purchase Size: Small: 1-1/4” to 1-1/2”
Note: Your item may not look identical to the image provided due to variation within species. Purchase sizes are approximate.