The Malawi Eyebiter
Blog post written by Andy | 25 May 2016 | Category: Tropical fish
If ever there was a fish whose name would instantly put you off keeping one, surely this is it.
The Malawi eyebiter as it's commonly called is also referred to as Dimidiochromis Compressiceps and is fantastic for the larger African Cichlid aquarium.
It is a large predatory fish that gets to a decent size of up to 12" but more commonly grows to around 8".
A good size aquarium is important as small juveniles, once settled and feeding well, grow rapidly. They are silver juveniles with a dark band running the length of the body. When mature, males will turn an electric blue with red and orange fins and the sight of one of these 'dancing' at a mature female is spectacular.
They are ambush predators and use their narrow profile to glide up to unsuspecting prey items. They prefer a setup with lots of open swimming space. When mixing with other Cichlids I tend to build up one end or the back to allow more cruising space for these fish. Being an open water predator, diet should consist of larger pellets, Krill and Mysis shrimp, and mussel is also enjoyed once the fish is big enough.
With all African species, especially larger ones, good filtration is very important. I often recommend getting a larger filter than the tank requires to keep good water quality and water flow.
Being a predator, they will eat smaller fish so tank mates need to be chosen carefully. One of the most stand out characteristics is the size of this fish's jaw. It is almost a third the length of its body so you would be surprised at the size of fish these can eat.
Now to that name. There have been reports in aquariums of these fish, especially juveniles, attacking the eyes of fish before eating them. It's not a behaviour I have seen first hand, but that many people can't be wrong. I know people that have kept these for years and never had an issue, but it only takes one problem fish to stain its good reputation!
These are a great fish to keep if you have a large aquarium as they are big and colourful and like being out in the open. Just warn those little fish!!
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