This species was among the early mouthbrooders to be kept by aquarists, at a time when “eggspots” or “egg dummies” were still a novelty. It is perhaps not kept as widely these days owing to the numerous, more colorful, mouthbrooders that are now available. Eggspots are markings that are present on the male’s anal fin, and are thought to play an important role in reproduction. After the female has taken some of her eggs into her mouth, she pecks at the eggspots on the male’s anal fin as if they, too, were eggs. This action is believed to stimulate the male to release sperm, thus ensuring fertilization.
- Haplochromis burtoni
- Lake Tanganyika basin.
- Males up to 4 3/4 in (12cm), but usually smaller; females around 2 3/4 in (7cm).
- Males are aggressive toward each other, but juvenile males may be kept together in a sufficiently large aquarium.
- All foods accepted; vegetable component recommended.
- Hiding places, an open swimming space and a fine-grained substratum should be provided. Medium-hard alkaline water preferred. Temperature range: 68-77°F (20-25°C); slightly higher for breeding.
- Maternal mouthbrooder. Males dig large pits to which they attract females. Once a few eggs are laid, the female takes them into her mouth. Hatching can take over 1 week. For a time after this, the female will guard her offspring, taking them into her mouth when danger threatens and rereleasing them later.