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Lamprologous Moorii

Written by Russell McAndrews

While making my usual rounds of the local fish store I cam across five L. moorii.  Two of the five were dark brown and the other three were yellow.  Since I moved to the Phoenix area I have noticed that the water is very hard and exceptionally alkaline (8.2-8.6).  Well, in order to justify spending the money, I rationalized that they ought to do well and so I ought to buy them.  (Make sense?)

The three Lamps are the latest addition to a 55-gallon, which already houses a pair of Geophagus braziliensis, a pair of Steatocranus casuarius, and a few other oddballs I collected locally.  I have always been intrigued by lamps.  In this species, the body is laterally compressed.  The body color is a little rosier as are the base of the fins and intermittently faint vertical barring is visible.  The largest of the three I presume to be a male although I am not sure.  At this instant, the largest one is yellow with brighter yellow fins; the eye is blue-grey; the ventral’s and anal are edged in black.  The caudal’s trailing extremity is a lovely powder blue contrasted by a black border between yellow and blue.  The same black border can be found on the dorsal and the blue is visible but only on the serrated tips of the spines.  The only noticeable difference between this fish and the others is the slightly chewed fins.  Apparently, any area of fin, which has been damaged, turns black.  The damaged fins have patches of black at the extremes as though bruised.

Not being able to recall much information on this species, I should point out that they appear to be harem spawners.  The “male” tolerates and is tolerated by both of the smaller “females”.  The “male” has found a flowerpot to his liking and seems to be trying to “show” it to one of the females by swimming back and forth between the pot and her.  The as yet unmentioned, member of the trio also seems to be female.  The two females do not tolerate each other at all.  After a threatening waft of the body with finnage extended they proceed to shred each other.  One of the “females” is setting up house in a broken piece of flowerpot.  The other female is hanging over another pot lying on its side.  There appears to be a pecking order in the positions of the trio as they hang in the water.  I have noticed that when the females hang in the water they do it at a distance 3-4 inches from the bottom.  On the other hand, the male is at a level 5 inches off the bottom at an inverted, intermediate flowerpot.