Brichard’s chalinochromis - Chalinochromis brichardi
Scientific name: Chalinochromis brichardi
Common name: Brichard’s chalinochromis
Usual size in fish tanks: 10 - 12 cm (3.94 - 4.72 inch)
Recommended pH range for the species: 8 - 8.9
Recommended water hardness (dGH): 9 - 19°N (160.71 - 339.29ppm)
0°C 32°F30°C 86°F
Recommended temperature: 24 - 27 °C (75.2 - 80.6°F)
The way how these fish reproduce: Spawning
Where the species comes from: Africa
Temperament to its own species: peaceful
Temperament toward other fish species: aggressive/territorial
Usual place in the tank: Middle levels
Brichard’s chalinochromis originate from Lake Tanganyika where they inhabit the rocky outcrops.
Brichard’s chalinochromis are quite a rare addition to the aquarium hobby and should only be cared for by keepers with some experience of keeping aggressive cichlids. Another unusual trat with these fish is the dramatic change of colouration when they mature from juveniles to adult fish. As juveniles they display barring all along their body but this disappears as they mature only leaving the black barring around the head hence their common name of the masked brichardi. Adult specimens average a length of round 3.5 inches but there are cases where they have grown slightly larger. They are extremely aggressive towards other tank mates if allowed to be, they should only be housed with other species of fish that can handle themselves, it is also advised to only house one male in the aquarium with a group of females.
The expected lifespan for Brichard’s chalinochromis is 5-8 years if cared for correctly.
It is wise to give these fish a lot of space, despite their smaller size they do need to establish territories. They can be housed in a 30 gallon aquarium but giving them space in a 50 gallon aquarium could allow for more hiding places and larger areas for territories. Add rockwork to the rear of the aquarium and it is also advised to use sand for the substrate to make them feel at home. Brichard’s chalinochromis prefer a medium water flow so place the outlet nozzles from the filter carefully and try to avoid still spots in the rockwork if possible. The temperature should be set at 26°C (79°F), and keep the pH range between 8.0-8.9. Regular water changes should be performed, at least 10% weekly and always keep a close eye on the fish to make sure that individual specimens are not being bullied or harassed.
Brichard’s chalinochromis have a ravenous appetite and will accept most foods offered. They will readily accept quality commercial flake food or small cichlid pellets but this should be varied by offering live or frozen foods. If offering blood worms these should be fed sparingly or it could lead to digestive problems.
There is no reliable way of sexing these fish for amateur fishkeepers, they can be vented by expert keepers but even this can lead to errors at times.
Brichard’s chalinochromis are secretive spawners and the females will often deposit their eggs in the rockwork without the keeper being aware. The females tend to guard the eggs while the male may hold a spot a distance away from the nest but he will constantly monitor the spawning site and occasionally swim over to make sure all is well. The parent fish are extremely defensive of the fry so it may be best to breed these fish in a separate breeding tank to avoid major conflicts with other tank mates. The fry are well defended for up to 4 weeks even from previous fry that have have been spawned from the same parent fish but after this time the fry will be released to wander around the tank and mix with other occupants of the tank.