Ivo Fernandes, 2003
Cichlid Room Companion
Breeding tanks

Protomelas sp. 'steveni taiwan'

By , 2004. image

Classification: Captive maintenance, Lake Malawi.

Protomelas sp. 'Steveni Taiwan'

A beautiful male of Protomelas sp. "Steveni Taiwan" in the home aquarium of Ivo Fernandes. Photo by Ivo Fernandes.

Protomelas sp. "Steveni taiwan" is a undescribed species from Lake Malawi. His common name came from the area where the species was first discovered, Taiwan Reef.


According to Ad Konings, this species is restricted to three isolated areas: Taiwan Reef and in Tanzania at Higga Reef and Mbamba Bay Island, where we can find almost identical populations known as "Chimoto Red" (red anal fin) and "Chimoto Yellow" ( yellow anal fin) respectively.

They are open water fish, needing aquariums over 300 liters in volume, where the rule of 1 Male for 3 Females is perfect.


The males from Taiwan Reef and Higga Reef are characterized by a metallic blue head and back, a gold flank and belly, a red anal fin, and a white-bluish blaze on the forehead. Females are characterized by six or seven broad vertical bars on a silvery body. The species length varies between 12-15 cm.

Male Protomelas sp. 'Steveni Taiwan' Female Protomelas sp. 'Steveni Taiwan'

Male and Female Protomelas sp. "steveni tawain" Higga Reef (chimoto red), on Ivo Fernandes home aquarium. Photo by Ivo Fernandes.

I obtained my "chimoto red" trio in December 2002, from a German firm through my friend, a local fish dealer. The fish where about 7 cm (1 male; 2 females).

I keep them in my 370 liters tank, with the following tank mates: Aulonocara maylandi sulphurhead; Aulonocara stuartgranti maleri chipoka Chidunga rocks; Copadichromis mloto midnight mara rock; Cyrtocara moorii; Otopharynx lithobates Zimbabwe Rock; Placidochromis electra; Protomelas taeniolatus namalenje and Sciaenochromis ahli.

Aquarium of Ivo Fernandes
Aquarium of Ivo Fernandes, 2003. Photo by Ivo Fernandes.

Water chemistry ant temperature:

  • PH: 8,2
  • KH: 8
  • GH: 10
  • Nitrates: 0
  • Nitrites: 0
  • Temperature: 25.5ºC

Tank and Equipment:

  • Tank: 130x60x50
  • Filter: Eheim 2229 wet & dry;
  • Powerhead: BOYU 1900 L/h
  • Heater: 300 Watt Jager Thermostatic heater
  • Filter media: Ehfisubstract, Ehfimech; biobols
  • Lighting: fluorescent tube 32 Watt from Zoomed "Reef Sun lamp"(50% actinic; 50% white)


Limestone rock collected near my local area, in Amadora, Serra da Mira. A background made by painted and twisted card. Crushed coral substrate, the substrate height is about 0,5 cm, only to fill the tank´s bottom (it´s easier to clean.)

Maintenance and prevention tips:

  • 50% weekly water changes adding a dechlorinator, plus I add for 100 L of water:
  • 1 level table spoon of magnesium sulfate + 1 level table spoon of sodium bicarbonate + 1 level tea spoon of de calcium carbonate to maintain a hard water.
  • 1 level table spoon of marine salt to increase the fish defenses and prevent external parasites
  • Every two months I use Paragon, from Waterlife to prevent diseases.
  • Two times a year I use Fluvermal to prevent internal parasites.


I fed my fish 5 times a week with a mix of NutrafinTM Discus Pellets & Cichlid Pellets JBL Novo RifTTM Sera GranumeatTM and GranugreenTM.


Protomelas sp. 'Steveni Taiwan'

Fry raising tank. Photo by Ivo Fernandes.

Spawning starts when they reach 7 cm. After the male fertilize the eggs, the female takes them and incubate them in her mouth for about 20-34 days, (depending on the females). The fry (around 20 to 40) are released and are able to feed themselves.

In an effort to increase the number of spawns and success, I elect to strip the females after 24 days and let the fry in 20 l tank.

Fry care:

Raising the fry is not very difficult, the water chemistry and the temperature are the same than in my 375 l aquarium. The fry stay in the a 20l, then I transfer the babies in to a 75 l tank,They are fed twice a day with a mix of Sera micropan plusTM, a crushed Nutrafin Discus PelletsTM and JBL Novo RifTTM. I give the fry 50% water changes every 3 days 75L raise tank.

Fry raising tank

Fry raising tank. Photo by Ivo Fernandes.

Despite in youthful they may not look so appealing and not awake the attention of many cichlid keepers. In adulthood, this fascinating fish, is certain one of the more desired and beautiful species of lake Malawi.

Special thanks to my Association, APC ( who gave me the opportunity to meet the Malawi cichlid experts in Portugal and share their knowledge.


Fernandes, Ivo. (Jan 13, 2004). "Protomelas sp. 'steveni taiwan'". Cichlid Room Companion. Retrieved on Dec 06, 2023, from: