Breeding Stomatepia pindu

Breeding Stomatepia pindu

Lake Barombi Mbo

Stomatepia pindu is a mouthbrooding cichlid endemic to Barombi Mbo, a lake located in Cameroon, West Africa. Cameroon is famous for its rich collection of different volcanoes that have been dormant or at least semi-dormant long enough to turn into crater lakes. Barombi Mbo is such a crate lake, and due to its isolated location, a lot of endemic species has evolved here. There are currently 11 described endemic cichlid species in the lake and more are expected to be found once the lake becomes more thoroughly explored by fish experts. Barombi Mbo is not a big lake; it’s only 2.5 km across. The crater is however very deep and the maximal water depth of the lake is 110 meters. Since there are no major currents in the lake, only the top 40 meters contains enough oxygen to sustain fish and other vertebrates. 

Barombi Mbo Cichlids

All the cichlid species in Barombi Mbo are believed to hail from one single species that lived in the lake 10,000 years ago. This species have now turned into no less than four different genera:  Konia, Myaka, Pungu and Stomatepia.

If you want to keep cichlids from Barombi Mbo, you can for instance look for Konia eisentrauti, Myaka myaka, Pungu maclerani, Sarotherodon lohbergeri, Stomatepia mariae or Stomatepia pindu.

Stomatepia pindu is naturally also a great alternative, and this article will focus on how aquarists can breed this interesting species in their aquariums. Getting Stomatepia pindu to spawn in captivity is important, because the species is listed as Critically Endangered in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The wild population should therefore not be harvested for the aquarium market and only captive bred specimens should be kept by hobby aquarists.

Breeding Stomatepia pindu

If you want to breed Stomatepia pindu, you should keep the water really alkaline. A pH of 8.2 and relatively hard water is recommended. The water temperature should be in the 25-28 degrees C range. Include some good hiding spots in the set up and try to mimic the natural Stomatepia pindu habitat as closely as possible.

During the actual spawning, the couple will simply leave their sheltered spots and spawn throughout the aquarium. They do not dig out any nests, clean a spawning site or similar. The female will release the eggs and the male will promptly fertilize them. The female will pick up the eggs and keep them protected inside her mouth.

When the fry has been released by the female, you can start feeding them powdered flake food, micro worms and newly hatched brine shrimp.

During the first few spawnings, it is common for the female to eat the eggs or spit out her offspring prematurely. Don’t loose heart when this happens; it will get better after the initial spawnings.

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