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Anomalochromis Thomasi (African Butterfly Cichlid) Over looked dwarf...

Ade205

Active Member
Hi all.

Just thought I'd shine a little spot light on one of my all time favourite dwarf Cichlids, Anomalochromis Thomasi, otherwise known as the African Butterfly Cichlid.

I always feel this little fish is passed by in the shops, looking drab and washed out, certainly not doing justice to their adult mature dress, and not to mention their brilliant personalities which requires a little time to shine through. They've all the character of a cichlid, but in a super mild mannered small package.

They are easy and very hardy, and a great easy fish to breed with brilliant and facinating parental behaviour. As with most Cichlids, can squabble amongst themselves, and when a pair forms they can get harsh on the other Thomasi's in the tank! Also quite protective over their eggs and fry, but I can't recommend them enough. Their like a half sized Keyhole Cichlid! So people who haven't tried them, give them a go, I guarantee you'll fall in love with them!
20200116_122726.jpg

A fully matured adult breeding pair I currently keep.

Ade.
 
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Chromedome

Member
5 Year Member
Anomalochromis is an interesting genus. Currently considered monotypic, Loiselle speculated back in 2012 that the different populations should be described as different species. Ade's fish are the Guinea population, which has been the only one available for a very long time. It's identifiable by the row of black spots just below the dorsal fin. The first population known was from Sierra Leone, and they were much more colorful. They also proved to be more difficult to breed, as they were very prone to eating their eggs/fry. Last I heard of them being available was 2012, which was posted in this forum here.

I've bred the Guinea form, and found them to be not only excellent parents, but very tough with other Cichlids in the same tank, even though they were larger than the thomasi.
Anomalochromis thomasi pair.jpg
 

Hellfishguy

Member
I was led to believe that the Guinea form was aggressive, but my 2 breeding pairs are dominated by Apistogramma paulmuelleri in a community tank. The thomasi spawn every week or so & some of the fry manage to avoid being eaten, thanks to a dense growth of Java moss.
 

Ade205

Active Member
I was led to believe that the Guinea form was aggressive, but my 2 breeding pairs are dominated by Apistogramma paulmuelleri in a community tank.
Completely agree.... I've also kept them with various other dwarfs also and they are always bottom of the pecking order. I've found Rams can give them a very hard time also!

Another thing I like about these fish is they do very well in high temps, they've been a favourite of mine as a dwarf to keep in with Discus for years. I've had them live 6 or 7 years plus in these temps unlike short lived Rams. Most Apistos don't seem to do well long term either, although I've had A. Macmasteri live quite long lives in higher temp.

The first population known was from Sierra Leone, and they were much more colorful. They also proved to be more difficult to breed, as they were very prone to eating their eggs/fry. Last I heard of them being available was 2012, which was posted in this forum here.
I have asked many times if the other colour strain is available and on lists of places and people I deal with! It's very frustrating but I will keep trying!

Anomalochromis is an interesting genus. Currently considered monotypic, Loiselle speculated back in 2012 that the different populations should be described as different species.
Ideed. I Suspect that Chromedome will already know of article in link I'm going to post, but for anyone who hasn't seen it I highly recommend it as it's a fasinacting read not only about A. Thomasi, but also into the times it was original published in 1983! Please note that in the article the fish is refered to as Hemichromis as opposed to Anomalochromis which it was later classified too some years after article was written. It interesting to note that the author speaks of this species falling out of favour in the hobby even though at the time it was 1983.
This article was later republished by Paul Loiselle in 97....

Ade.
 

Chromedome

Member
5 Year Member
I must have had the only thomasi with attitude, apparently. :rolleyes: They chased around two Wallaceochromis that were both larger than them. They also cleaned out every single MTS snail in the tank, and it was overloaded with them.
 

Ade205

Active Member
I must have had the only thomasi with attitude, apparently. :rolleyes: They chased around two Wallaceochromis that were both larger than them. They also cleaned out every single MTS snail in the tank, and it was overloaded with them.
Lol...

Think mine are impressed with me trying to big them up, they spawned this afternoon!
Screenshot_20200118-170250_Video Player.jpg


Ade.
 

Hellfishguy

Member
Congratulations! They tend to do that...a lot!

I've seen some videos posted by Europeans of the Sierra Leone form. Apparently they're still available over there. The SL morph looks somewhat more elongated than the stockier Guinea morph, plus they lack the deep red eyes.
 
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