Altolamprologus calvus "Ink Fin"
Photo compliments of Aquatic Promotions Inc
Trade names: Ink Fin Calvus, Black Calvus
Distribution: Zambia and southern Congo, Lake Tanganyika.
Max size: Males 5" females 4".
Sex differences: Males of the same age are much bigger than the females.
Habitat: Rocky areas.
Food: Small shrimps, crustaceans and sometimes very small fishes under 1/2 inch. Will accept dry foods but prefers live or frozen meaty foods in captivity.
Behavior: They have a tall and very laterally compressed body which lets them go into narrow cracks in the rocks, turning their bodies at all angles. They cruise over the bottom looking for prey; once prey is located they will stop and tilt their bodies head down, ready to strike from a short distance. They also will do this in the aquarium; hold the eye stationary and move the head and body at all angles. The "Altolamps" may look very aggressive but being so laterally compressed are not built to do battle with other cichlids.
Maintenance: Not aggressive to other fishes but can get aggressive to each other. Best kept in in a 4'+ long tank with a lot of large rocks and caves. Can be kept with almost any other Cichlid or even common community fish. They look very aggressive but are not. But they will sit in the middle of a mouthbrooder's nest and steal the eggs; they will also steal eggs and fry from substrate breeders. They have armored scales for protection. They will bend their bodies exposing the armored sides to an enemy; many times the enemy will bite on the armored scales until their lips are frayed. These armored scales may also help protect them from losing scales in the wild as they move in and out of narrow cracks in the rocks.
Breeding: Substrate breeder; female breeds in a cave to small for the male to enter. Forms loose pair bonds, hard to keep one pair solitary. Many times polygamous; males seem to prefer one female over others but will raise families with multiple females at one time. Best to use "spawning caves" or sea snail shells big enough for the female but to big for the male. The male doesn't need to get in the cave to fertilize the eggs, he releases his milt at the entrance and the pair fans their fins to get it inside on the eggs. Spawns of 100-200 are not uncommon. The fry are not cared for, outside the cave in which they are spawned in. Once free swimming the fry wander off on their own. They are very slow developing and growing fry; takes up to 6 months to reach 1.5" and 2 years for sexual maturity to be obtained.
Comments: All the Black Calvus are the most popular Altolamprologus. There are a few different types of black calvus that are available, with a few small differences. The "Ink Fin" from the Congo has a black pectoral fin and an overall darker color, especially when small, than the more readily available Zambian variety. My personal favorite is the variety from Congo with the long ventral fins. The males' ventral fins will grow as long as 2.5".
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