Females are smaller and remain silver-grey without the brilliant colors shown by males.
Behaviors: They are usually not too aggressive, unless they're preparing to spawn or spawning, and then they can be rather aggressive but not as aggressive as the Mbunas that also originated in Lake Malawi.
This fish is a predator that will swallow fish that fit into its mouth but is usually not too aggressive toward fish that are too big for it to eat.
But male Eye Biters quarrel with each other and become quite aggressive when getting ready to spawn and when spawning.
Compatibility: Some recommended tank mates include, Malawi Peacocks, mild tempered Mbunas like the Lemon Yellow Mbuna, and Synodontis Catfish, also Cichlids from Lake Victoria, but probably not Cichlids from Lake Tanganyika.
Click here for more about Synodontis Catfish.
Click here to read more about compatible groups of pet fish.
Temperature: Eye-Biter Compressiceps Haps live best from about 75 to 80-degrees F. with 78 being perhaps ideal.
Click here to learn about aquarium temperature, aquarium thermometers, and aquarium heaters.
Feeding: Premium Fish Food Pellets is the best food for Cichlids to eat. It would be best to feed them small pellets when they're small, then gradually increase the size as these fish grow bigger.
In Lake Malawi the Eye-Biter Compressiceps Haps eat small fish but do not require live fish when living in an aquarium.
Click here to learn more about and shop online for premium fish foods.
Water Conditions: Lake Malawi has hard alkaline water and that's best for all the fish, whose ancestors lived there.
But these fish can adapt to most types of water, and so as usual it's best not to try to change the pH or hardness.
Click here for a lot more information about aquarium water conditions.
Aquarium Size: Eye-Biter Compressiceps Haps will eventually need to live in an aquarium with at least 80-gallons of water. But a bigger aquarium is better.
Decor: these Eye-Biters do not need gravel, and a layer of gravel more than 1/4" thick will usually fill with bits of uneaten food that will contaminate the water.
Click here for more about aquarium gravel.
Live plants are beautiful and improve the water quality, but this fish will usually dig plants up, so most aquariums with Eye-Biters do not have live plants.
Aquarium Filter: Bio-Wheel Filters are highly recommended. Most 80-gallon aquariums have room along the back for at least two Penguin 350B Filters, and this is sort of the minimum set up for Haps.
Better is a 100, 120, 150, or 200-gallon aquarium with as many Penguin 350B Filters as will fit across the back.
Click here to learn more about aquarium filters.
The addition of Lava Rocks will keep nitrates in the ideal range. Click here to learn more about using Lava Rocks in aquariums.
Life Span: Eye-Biter Compressiceps Haps can live for several years. Keep the water conditions excellent and feed them premium foods, and they'll most likely breed and produce the next generation of fish for your aquarium.
Gender: It's difficult to tell males from females, when they're very small, but easy when they're mature, because the males grow bigger than the females and get red markings on their fins.
Click here to read more about breeding mouthbrooders. Click here for a lot more about breeding various tropical fish in aquariums.
Popularity: Since maybe the 1980s the Eye-Biter Compressiceps Hap from Lake Malawi has been a popular aquarium fish.
Names: Their scientific name is Dimidiochromis compressiceps.
Variations: Like a lot of aquarium fish, there is an albino variation of this fish.
Lake Malawi is a huge lake, and these Eye-Biters are found over a wide area of the lake, so there we think it's likely that there may be other variations, but we do not yet know about them.
There are now other species in the genus Dimidiochromis.
Click here for a lot more information about keeping and caring for Eye-Biter Compressiceps Haps, including a picture gallery.
We hope you've enjoyed reading these comments.
DrTom - 01/20/2015
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