Article by Daniel Lesich
Species: Protomelas sp. steveni "Taiwan reef"
Synoma: Protomelas sp. "steveni taiwan", Protomelas fenestratus "taiwan reef", Haplochromis steveni
Common name: Protomelas taiwan
Origin: Lake Malawi, Africa, Taiwan reef,
Localities/Morphs: Taiwan Reef, 9 km NW of Chisumulu (Chizumulu) Island, morphs are found at Tanzania at Higga Reef and Mbamba bay Island
Maximum size: males 14-15cm females slightly smaller
Natural habitat: It inhabits the very clean water rocky biotope of the reef. males are found at a depth of more than 20 meters protecting large boulders which they use as spawning sites
Natural foods/prey: algae, small invertebrates, and small fish
Water chemistry in the wild: pH 7.5-8.5, 200-270 Gh
Predators: as these fish are the most commonly found none mbuna in the reef predators are unknown but would assume larger fish
Brood size: 10-70
Breeding method: maternal mouthbrooder
Minimum tank size: standard 4ft for a small colony but a larger tank is most welcome
Sex ratio: ideal would be 1m and 5f
Tolerance of conspecifics: usually quite peaceful with only the occasional chase when a males territory is invaded.
Tolerance of heterospecifics: good - as above.
Water chemistry in aquaria: pH 7.4-8.6, general hardness 15-20 gH, carbonate hardness 4-9 dKH
Temperature range: 25-28 degrees Celsius, can tolerate slightly higher temperatures temporarily but optimum is 26
Foods accepted: omnivorous, they will take almost everything offered. Pellets, flakes, live black worm, and their favorite live or frozen brine shrimp.
Special requirements: good quality water is a must with frequent water changes keeps this beautiful fish at its best. a
larger tank is recommended with rounded furniture as the taiwan is a bit on the clumsy side and can easily get eye or body injuries with sharp rocks or tank decor.
some interesting points:
- This fish would have to be one of the most beautiful fish i have kept to date. The males having extraordinary colouration while the females have a colouration that is nowhere near as stunning they still have a colouration that makes them stand out.
- as mentioned above this fish can be quite clumsy at the best of times so great thought has to be put into selection of tank decor.
- taiwans can be an extremely shy fish but when a male comes out to sway a female into breeding his personality and colours shine at there best.
- one big factor in keeping this beautiful fish is that the correct locality/morph is chosen as mixing the locality/morphs can be very easy and should not be done. There is very little separating the locality/morphs other than slight colour differences such as the "Taiwan yellow" or "taiwan tiger" so care in selection for breeding purposes should be considered greatly to keep this beauty as pure as found in lake Malawi itself.
- overall this fish is a joy to keep and is guaranteed to catch the eye of any fish keeper.