This beautiful IODOTROPHEUS SPRENGERAE , or rock-dwelling cichlids were one of the first species exported from Lake Malawi. The Rusty Cichlid has a rounder head and the basic shape of a Pseudotropheus cichlid. Males usually have intense rust-coloration around their heads and violet-blue on the flanks.
Malawian and Victorian cichlids are similar in care and temperament, leading to fish from these two lakes being grouped together in the hobby. Several hundreds of species of cichlid are found in Lake Malawi, along with many regional variations, but Lake Victoria has far fewer due to the introduction of invasive predators. Most cichlids in both lakes are rock-dwellers. They seldom stray far from the rocky bottoms and sides of the lake and will quickly dart into the rocks to hide. As with all cichlids, they are very territorial and will not tolerate other cichlids around “their” crevice.
Two of the most popular groups of these cichlids are the “Peacocks” (mostly the Aulonocara genus) and “Mbuna’s” (native term for “rock fish” and including the genera Pseudotropheus, Labidochromis, Maylandia, Melanochromis and others). While aggression and compatibility can vary from species to species, mixing Mbuna and Peacock cichlids is not usually recommended. Mbuna cichlids tend to be more aggressive and may bully the usually more passive Peacocks but some Mbuna cichlids are far more aggressive than others. Several other groups of cichlids can also be found from these lakes, some of which can be large and aggressive predators; research all choices carefully.