Giraffe Perch

The giraffe perch (Nimbochromis venustus) is one of the cichlids and occurs exclusively in the East AfricanLake Malawi. Its striking feature is the grid-like pattern, which actually resembles a giraffe. Other names for the rather large cichlid are peacockmouth breeders or goldenmouth breeders.

What are the characteristics of the giraffe perch?

The attractive pattern as well as the lively behaviour make the giraffe perch an interesting stocking for large aquaria. As it can be predatory and sometimes aggressive, it is only suitable for socializing with other large perch species in suitable tanks.

The appearance of the giraffe perch

A giraffe perch can reach lengths of up to 25 cm. This makes it one of the largest representatives of the Malawi cichlids. It is slightly wedge-shaped and has conspicuously jagged fin seams, on the edge of which a much brighter band is usually visible. The basic colours are shimmering silver to yellow. The pattern of darker green, yellow and brown tones, similar to those of the reticulated giraffe, is only carried by the females.

  • up to 25 cm tall
  • iridescent silver to yellow
  • beautiful net-like structure in the females

Housing conditions of the giraffe perch

The giraffe perch forms territories, which it defends intensively. Due to its size, it is only in exceptional cases and in very large aquaria that it can be kept together with other perch species. The giraffe perch would eat smaller fish. It is best to keep one male with three to four females. Nevertheless, even with species-specific cultivation, care should be taken to ensure sufficient space so that males and females can easily avoid each other outside the brood.

  • Keeping rather for advanced students
  • territory-forming and sometimes aggressive
  • small groups with one male
  • in company only in large tanks with other large groupers

Sex differences in the giraffe perch

In this perch species the females are among the much more attractive coloured specimens. Only with them is the net-like giraffe pattern clearly pronounced, while the males show only an indeterminate to completely blurred spotting pattern. While the females reach only about 20 cm in length, a full-grown male can grow up to 25 cm.

Water values for the giraffe perch

Younger giraffe-perches stay quite near the water-surface, while older animals like to visit depths of 10 to 20 m. The fish therefore tolerates temperature differences between 22° and 27°C very well. Moderate fluctuations in water quality are also well tolerated by the fish, but should always remain the exception.

  • Water type: Freshwater
  • Temperature: 22° to 27°C
  • PH value: 7.5 to 8.5
  • Total hardness: 5° to 10°dGH

Food and nutrition for the giraffe perch

As a predatory fish, the colorful spotted perch prefers live food, which preferably includes small crustaceans. In the aquarium it can be well accustomed to frozen and dry food, but needs regular fresh food for a healthy life.

The ideal aquarium for the giraffe perch

The large and somewhat rough fish should only be kept in tanks from 150 cm length. If you want to keep several large cichlids, you will need correspondingly more. The design is best to recreate the rocky and stony home of the fish. It loves crevices and hiding places near the bottom. Coarse gravel serves as a covering. The fish does not require any special planting. If you want to have some green in your aquarium, it is best to use frog-bite plants.

  • alone in a 60 to 90 cm long tank
  • in company from 120 cm length
  • Rock decoration necessary

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