Practical Information About Keeping, Breeding and Buying Dwarf Cichlids

Fish Profiles & Photos
South American  
    sp. "Abacaxis"
    sp. "Putumayo"
    sp. "Steel Blue"

West African 

  Please help!
Your contribution of any amount will help support the site.

Nanochromis transvestitus

       Nanochromis transvestitus is a delightful dwarf cichlid from West Africa. First discovered in Lake Mai-ndombe in 1973, it has been a favorite for specialized hobbiests since then. For many cichlid species the males are much more colorful than females. However, with Nanochromis transvestitus this is directly opposite as females are much more colorful than males. In recognition of this reversed coloration the authors of the scientific description provided the name transvestitus.
Nanochromis transvestitus pair  This young pair of Nanochromis transvestitus shows the difference in coloration and pattern that allow for easy sexing. 
       Nanochromis transvestitus can be a very difficult fish to keep in the aquarium. Dominate males are extremely aggressive and will viciously attack other males and non-receptive females. Pair bonds only seem to last part of the time and it is not uncommon to have a normally agreeable pair suddenly at war. You must have many hiding places if you want to keep these fish, although, I have has success when keeping many (20 or more) together in a rather bare tank. In this situation the aggressions is constantly distributed amongst the entire group. In this type of situation you will rarely find spawning pairs.

       Breeding Nanochromis transvestitus is generally a challenge. It is best to start with a small group of fish of mixed sexes. 5 - 8 fish make a nice start. Put them into a densely planted tank with many caves. Feed them well any you will likely find that a pair will form. At this point you have the best results if you can remove most of the other transvestitus from the tank. I always try to leave the pair as I have had pair bonds shattered when moving them.
Nanochromis transvestitus pair
     Nanochromis transvestitus have very obvious mating rituals. Here a female is bending her body to emphasize her swollen abdomen. Despite her "full" look and slightly extended ovipositor, this female will probably not breed for at least another week as she continues to ripen produce additional ripe eggs.
Transvestitus are very demanding for successful spawning. You will need water with almost no hardness and a pH of about 5.0. If you cannot meet these conditions the fish might spawn but it is very unlikely that the eggs will hatch.

       Nanochromis transvestitus eggs will hatch in about 5 days and the larval fry will need another week or so to become free swimming. They will take baby brine shrimp or microworms immediately. They grow fairly quickly with lots of live food and plenty of high quality water changes. Young transvestitus are easy to sex as the distinctive caudal (tail) fin patterns are easy to pick out.

        In summary, Nanochromis transvestitus is a challenging species that is recommended to the experienced dwarf cichlid keeper. They are attractive and have very interesting behaviors but can be quite aggressive and demanding.

Nanochromis transvestitus female

Save up to 50% at PetMountain.com
Copyright This website and all contents and design, including images, are protected under U.S. Copyright 2006 by Montana Exotic Tropicals. All rights reserved worldwide. Dwarfcichlid.com is for your personal and noncommercial use. No one may modify, copy, distribute, transmit, display, or publish any materials contained in dwarf cichlid.com without prior written permission. dwarf cichlid.com is a registered service mark and may not be used without permission.