Burton’s mouth-breeder

The Burton’s mouth-breeder is a colourful East African cichlid. Its natural habitat is Lake Tanganyika and several rivers in the surrounding area. It was named after the British Africa researcher Richard Francis Burton and the bay of the same name where it was first described. Another name is Black-throated Mouth Breeder.

What distinguishes Burton’s mouth-breeder?

Burton’s mouthbreeders (Astatotilapia burtoni or Haplochromis burtoni) are interesting fish that can intensify their colouring depending on their mood. They are not quite common in the aquarium and especially suitable for lovers of African cichlids. The species is peaceful if the males have enough space. They are excellent for socializing with other African cichlids.

The appearance of the Burton’s mouthbreeder

Burtons Maulbrüter
© (Image: Russell D. Fernald and Sabrina S. Burmeister), Astatotilapia burtoni, CC BY 2.5

The colourful perch can grow up to 15 cm long. The front part is pronounced and roughly cut, with a broad mouth and a prominent forehead. To the rear they elegantly run out into delicately feathered and almost transparent fins. The colours vary between yellow, green, blue and red tones and markings. Colour patches and tints appear more arbitrary than uniformly drawn.

As already mentioned, this play of colours changes with the mood of the animals. Typical is a black band, which extends from the eye to the outer crevice of the mouth. The males have clearly bright dotted caudal fins. Two to three dark stripes or spots run across the broad forehead.

  • in front rather coarsely built and elegant towards the back
  • variegated with uncertain markings
  • Shades of blue, yellow, red, green and violet
  • Total length up to 15 cm

Housing conditions for the Burton’s Mouth Breeder

The Burton’s Mouth Breeder is best kept in a small group of one male with two to three females. If you want to have more than one male, you need space, as they can sometimes argue violently during the breeding season. The Burton’s Mouth Breeder should also be able to keep distance to other fish in the aquarium.

  • Keeping for advanced fish
  • one male with several females
  • sometimes aggressive during breeding
  • sufficient distance to other fish

Sex differences in the Burton’s mouth-breeder

The males of this genus are clearly larger than the females. A male specimen can easily reach 15 cm, while the females stay between 7 and 10 cm body length.

Water values for the Burton’s mouth brooder

This fish loves algae-rich water and forgives minor fluctuations in water quality. However, the temperature should be kept constant between 24° and 26°C.

  • Water type: Freshwater
  • Temperature: 24° to 26°C
  • PH value: 7.8 to 9.0
  • Total hardness: 9° to 20°dGH

Feed and nutrition for the Burton’s Mouth Breeder

The colourful perches from Africa are omnivores and also like to nibble on plants in the aquarium. In animal food it eats insect larvae, worms and smaller fish. In the aquarium you can offer him almost everything that fits into his big mouth. He takes dry food as well as frozen food, tablets, scalded salad and of course he likes fresh food from time to time.

The ideal aquarium for the Burtons Mouth Breeder

Since this fish is quite large and wide and forms territories, a species-appropriate aquarium should hold at least 400 liters and have a side with 100 cm length. Stones and wood are suitable as furnishings, which the fish may also nibble on. Plant growth should be sufficiently robust and easy to renew. Otherwise the Burton’s Mouth Breeder loves a stone-rich decoration with good hiding places.

  • from 100 cm edge length and 400 litres
  • robust setup
  • Decorations with stones and woods

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