Callochromis melanostigma male in the home aquarium of Sergey Anikstein. Photo by Dmitri Waniushkin.
Out of the four different types of Callochromis living in Lake Tanganyika, Callochromis melanostigma in my opinion is the nicest. The first impression my wife and daughter had was to compare it to a parrot, for it's strong bright colors.
The slender body with the large head and very large eyes is colored in a brilliant red-yellow tone. A blue-black throat, with gold eyebrows that add unimaginable charm and a combination of a several greens color the body. On a whole it gives a strong impression, especially during the conjugal dance executed by the male in front of the female.
I obtained six Callochromis melanostigma out of Germany in February 2001. The fish arrived in good condition, and were young juveniles, almost already adults. In March just a few months later two females were holding fry.
Callochromis melanostigma is endemic to Lake Tanganyika, and reach a length of about 15-16 cm. The live among the sandy substrate with stone boulders, where they graze and forage for food. The fish are constantly eating, and in the aquarium they dig and chew the sand constantly in search of food. Sand does appear to have a significant place in the life of Callochromis.
The male constructs from the sand a crater or bower around 20-25 cm in diameter, and in the middle of this nest is where the spawning will take place. This maternal mouth brooder will hold the eggs in her mouth about 3 weeks at 25-27 degrees C. You can artificially raise the eggs (tumble) in an incubator for about 20 - 23 days. The size of the spawn can be from 10 to 50 fry, and they begin to eat at once after they have been released and begin to free swim. The first few weeks of life, they forage on a standard of freshly hatched baby brine shrimp, and shallow Cyclops.