Christophe de Medeiros, 2009
Cichlid Room Companion
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Haplochomis sp Kenya gold

By , 2006. image
Last updated on 06-Jul-2006

Haplochomis sp Kenya gold

Genus: Haplochromis
Sub genus: unknown
Species: not described
Sub species: unknown factor
Common name: Haplochromis "Kenya gold"
Distribution: Lake Victoria, Kenya, Hippo point or Mbita point
Trophic group: unknown
Habitat: Hippo point is a rocky zone, Mbita point is a sandy zone with a rocky zone
Size: 12 cm
Description: The dominant male body form is somewhat extended. The species has a chess board melanin pattern, with between 5 and 7 vertical black bars on golden yellow flanks. A horizontal black band consisting of three segments begins just beyond the eye, continues the length of the body between the abdomen and dorsum, and ends parallel with the caudal peduncle. A second horizontal band runs along side the first, beginning on the nape of the neck and connected to the last two soft rays of the dorsal fin. The belly is white; the abdomen is bright yellow while the nape of the neck and caudal base is a copper colored
The yellow colored snout is pointed bordered by white lips. The jaw is narrow and isognathe (the outer and inner bones of the mandible are equal in size). The facial markings are typical of Lake Victoria haplochromines. A vertical black bar runs the length of the gill plate while the cheeks are bright yellow. The eye has a black iris bordered with yellow orbit and black pupil.

The spinous and soft rays of the dorsal fins are translucently hued yellow with a red edging. The tail is gray-blue along half of the fin, with a small black spot just after the caudal peduncle and luminous red on the remaining portion. The anal fin is white with small yellow-gold ocelli laid out on a horizontal plane in a cluster on and between the soft rays. The first three rays of the pelvic fins are black in color while the remaining rays are transparent yellow. The pectoral fins are clear with a yellow hue. In a stressed male, the yellow color is much more indistinctive, almost silver and a pale green nuance is visible. The mid horizontal band is the only visible bar. The red of the caudal fin is hardly visible and the first two rays of pelvic are white. The females are grey-yellow with an uninterrupted horizontal band. Very little red is visible on the caudal fin. The first two rays of the pelvic fins are and much less developed than seen on males. The dominating or incubating females have very dark black vertical and horizontal bars Subdominant males have the yellow coloration but are much less intense as seen in males of dominance. The red of the caudal is also more intense on a dominant fish.

Particular form

Dimorphism: Adult size ranges from 10 to 12 cm for the male and 8 to 9 cm for the female. A more brilliant yellow coloration is found in dominating males with more pointed and elongated pelvic fins. The soft regions of the anal and dorsal fins are a little more pointed. Females do not have the bright colors and pocess a more rounded belly region.


Haplochromis sp. “Kenya gold” is a exceptionally colored fish with a bright golden yellow chessboard pattern. It is best to maintain this species in a aquarium of significant volume (200 liters minimum for a trio or a larger volume if kept in a victorian cichlid community Tank). It requires water parameters of a pH near 8 and weekly water changes of 15 to 20 %.


First foods can consist of artemia naupli at release then cyclops and spirulina crushed flakes for the young fry. A mixture of spinach and shrimp with black mosquito larvae, and adult artemia from time to time will assist in the recovery of a weakened fish or a female after a long incubation period.


This is a territorial fish with a very high aggressiveness level among dominating males towards males of his own species. Less hostility is shown to females that are tolerated within their territories. The females develop a hierarchy amongst themselves as well with the dominant individual ensuring the others respect the pecking order. This dominant female is slightly more brilliantly colored than her co specs. With fish of different species, it defends its territory savagely. This depends obviously on the character of fish, its social status and the size of the aquarium. There are also varying degrees of aggressiveness between individuals.


Spawning occurs in the traditional “T” pattern common to haplochromines. Haplochromis sp. “Kenya gold” is an oral maternal mouth brooder with a brooding duration of ranging from 15 to 20 days depending on the temperature. Female parental care of the fry continues for a further 7-10 days post release with her taking her fry into her mouth at the slightest sign of danger. In a community tank, the incubating female will withdraw into a hole or a dark crevice to seek shelter from aggressiveness. It defends its cave against any fish which would approach a little too close. One might want to isolate the brooding female to observe the post oral care in a small aquarium. This behavior is extremely interesting. Mothers educate the tiny fry and will chew food up and expel tiny particles through the gills. Sometimes broods will only produce males so it is difficult to give a sex ratio in a precise way. This phenomenon may be related to the temperature or possibly a high pH value. The fry grow rather slowly. In one month the young are only 1 cm long, and will grow to 5 or 6 cm at six months of age. They are already able to reproduce at this size. Isolate brooding females from the males which start to get aggressive amongst the colony. This is to prevent a female from aborting her brood. Thus, they will be able to have a normal growth and to have a more significant adult size.

The exact trophic grouping of Haplochromis sp "Kenya gold" is as of yet unknown. Little is known of the biotope it inhabits. Also missing is data on specifics of the natural environment and what species it coexists with. It is possible that the first shipments of H. sp. “Kenya gold” arrived with Haplochromis sp. "salmon" and Pundamilia sp."blue bar" that originated from Hippo Point in Kenya. Hippo Point is a sandy zone with rock areas. I have never observed this species scraping algae or show interest in snails (possible molluskivore), nor has it devoured plants in aquarium. This indicates to me that it could possibly


This fish is not an appropriate tank mate for the calm species such as H. xenognathus or pelagic species including H.argens and H.piceatus


be insectivorous but as long as scientific data is unavailable, that remains a hypothetical assumption. It could be a rock dwelling or a sand dwelling species, due to aquatic observations of a territorial fish which spends much of its time defending the entry of a cave and displays similar behavior, with the same energetic manners as fish of the rock zones by chasing away any intruder near its refuge. It hones its aggressiveness towards fish pocessing similar melanic bars patterns like coloration. It can hold its own with mbipi species as Pundamilia macrocephala or Haplochromis sp"rockkribensis". According to its name it originates from the Kenyan waters of Lake Victoria and has been imported sporadically since 10 years in Europe. Nothing is known of its actual location of capture. One thing is certain, it does not come from the specimens studied by HEST (Haplochromis survey team) at the university of Leiden, but is distributed by certain aquatic farms in Florida. Many arrived from Florida (Miami) via the store French aquarist Abysse. The numbers of fishes maintained in captivity does not seem significant, it is thus necessary to take care of the stocks and to try to find new individuals to diversify the genetic pool and thus in the long term to prevent the consanguinity and the decay of this attractive species


de Medeiros, Christophe. (Jul 06, 2006). "Haplochomis sp Kenya gold ". Cichlid Room Companion. Retrieved on Dec 01, 2023, from: