I originally purchased this fish as Parachromis friedrichsthalii. I have been looking for freddy for quite awhile then a local store got some in. They were expensive little guys. I had to take a loan from a friend to acquire them. After some begging a pleading with my friend I finally managed to get six of them. Several months had passed and they finally got some size to them. But they looked strange, they looked nothing like what I seen in the pictures. I thought I been ripped off! I was mad! And gave up on them thinking they were some kind of hybrid. Then one day I came home and the Alpha male completely changed color.
He was gorgeous! He became a orange hue with a blue sheen throughout his entire body.
He eventually paired off with one of the females. I wanted to do some more research to find out what this fish really was. I went to the local cichlid club, the PCCA (Pacific Coast Cichlid Association) and asked around there and finally concluded that my fish was not Parachromis friedrichsthalii but actually P. motaquensis.
The pair eventually ripped apart their tankmates so they were removed. They eventually bred, and bred and bred. I have never seen such a prolific fish before. There was nothing I could do to stop them from breeding. All I had was two 8 inch flower pots inverted on their sides along with basic black gravel. I kept the water at 82 degrees F and just used tap water which had a pH of 8.0. The water around where I lived was always soft. About 3-4 dkh.
I eventually ended up with 10,000 fish before I unplugged their heater to slow down their metabolism. I wondered why this fish was so rare. This was back in 1982 I had paid Fifteen dollars for each of them and at 1.5". That was a lot of money at the time. I was mad though, because when I went to sell them back to the store who sold them to me they would only give me Fifty cents each!
Ten years had passed and as my knowledge grew on cichlids by joining other clubs like ACA (American Cichlid Association), and The Cichlasoma Study Group. I learned that my fish wasn't even Parachromis motaquensis! I was wrong again. I believe the fish is now known as Parachromis loisellei.
The true Parachromis motaquensis is more of a Parachromis dovii shape. Very elongated. Perhaps they are all synonyms? I don't know. I'll leave it to the scientist to figure out. But getting back to the fish. Parachromis loisellei grows to a maximum size of 12" Males can be separated from females by their reticulated body and tail pattern. Males tend to have a blue sheen throughout it's body whereas females tend to remain tan with black markings. This is a very easy fish to breed and is certainly worth keeping. Pairs can be bred in forty gallon tanks, but be careful because they are aggressive toward each other. Males are extremely colorful. They are not shy fish like the true Parachromis friedrichsthalii and P. dovii. I eventually lost the female due to aggression. I believe with most Parachromis when you remove their eggs from the tank you are jeopardizing your female. With my experience males tend to kill off females as though he is blaming her for the egg lost. So be careful when ever you remove eggs! Chances are that your female will be floating in the morning.