Pseudotropheus socolofi, also known as the Powder Blue cichlid or Pindani, is a fairly well-known and popular fish among the cichlid community. Both males and females of the species have a light blue body with the males usually having a brighter blue sheen. Both sexes also display egg spots on the anal fin with the males again having brighter, more sharply defined coloration. The dorsal fin usually has a dark band with a lighter edge and the body may contain several darker vertical “stripes.” Males will grow up to 5 inches with females remaining smaller.
Powder blue cichlids are found in rocky areas of Lake Malawi and their aquarium habitat should also feature many rocks and caves. This is vital in order to provide each fish with enough space to establish his own territory and to also provide a shelter to retreat to as these fishes can be quite aggressive to one another. A fine gravel or sandy bottom should also be provided in a minimum tank size of 30 gallons. With a good filtration system and regular water changes you should have no problem maintaining healthy fishes.
The temperature in the aquarium should be kept between 73-82 F with a pH of 7.6-8.6. Powder blues should be fed a diet primarily consisting of vegetable matter as they are herbivores by nature. Spirulina flakes and specially formulated vegetable based cichlid pellets are readily accepted. These fishes are “semi-aggressive” so they should not be kept with smaller or timid fish. Rather they need to be kept in a species tank or with other Lake Malawi cichlids that are similar in size and disposition.
Breeding the Powder blue is not too difficult. It is best to begin by obtaining a group of juveniles, choosing 4 or 5 females per male, and raising them together. Like other Malawi cichlids these fish are mouth brooders. After the eggs have been fertilized the female with carry them in her mouth until they hatch in about 3 weeks. Then she will continue to carry the newly hatched fry in her mouth for another two weeks before they are finally set free. During this time she does not eat so it is best to remove her to a tank of her own.
It is important to nourish her back to full strength before returning her to the main tank so that she can fend for herself. The fry (which usually number 30-60) can be fed newly hatched brine shrimp as well as finely ground flake foods.
Compatible: Lake Malawi similar size, and African Catfish.