Name:   Labrochromis ishmaeli (Boulenger 1906)

Synonym:    Haplochromis ishmaeli

Location:    Lake Victoria

Adult size:    6 inches (15 cm)

Diet:    mollusk crusher (omnivore)


Personal notes:  Labrochromis ishmaeli was one of the Victorian cichlids being maintained in the Lake Victoria Species Survival Program (LVSSP).  I first saw this species when in 2004 when the local fish club was given a behind the scenes tour at the Columbus Zoo.  


This fish has been the subject of a great deal of confusion in the US since it has often been confused with the Haplochromis sp. #44 "thickskin" .  It does share a few similarities yet it is distinctly different and not that hard to differentiate.  Depending upon it's mood it can show vertical barring or even a somewhat checkerboard pattern when stressed.  While this Victorian is not as brightly colored as many of the other Victorian males, the dominant male is quite attractive.  It took well over a year for the ishmaeli male to show much color at all.  Initially all my ishmaeli were pretty plain silver fish.


This is one of the species I received in the shipment of Victorians from Germany in May of 2010.  I originally received 10 little fry but lost four of them rather quickly.  This was initially an extremely shy Victorian that didn't show the striking colors that many of the other Victorian cichlids do.  Now that they are older, the six Labrochromis ishmaeli that I have in a single species 40 gallon long tank are out and about at all times.  The dominant male does lots of chasing but very little fin damage.  Unfortunately, they never bred for me. 

The dominant male above shows his colors most all the time now.

Above you can see the checkerboard pattern evident when the male is stressed.

The above five pictures show the dominant male attempting to create a breeding spot in the sand.

 Above is the female.


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Below is an example of  the commonly mis-identified ishmaeli sold in the US years ago

Greater Chicago Cichlid Association (Incorrect picture ID)