There are so many different types of naturally occurring “elongatus” that it is difficult to identify any particular one as being the true “elongatus.” Perhaps the specimens from around Mbamba Bay will eventually fill this niche. Similar “fluidity” applies to the generic name, with TYopheops becoming more widely accepted as a full genus (following the recommendation of Ethelwyn Trewavas in 1984), rather than as a subgenus of Pseudotropheus. However, both names appear widely in aquarium literature.
This is one of a number of species that are named after someone, in this case Ross Socolof. However, some writers believe that the species itself is not valid and that the specimens collected from the wild are crosses between an undescribed species from Mozambique, which was introduced into the area where “socolofi” is now found, and one or more of the resident species.
In this zebra complex species, males, while varying in coloration, are orange/yellow, with or without vertical dark bands. They also have a yellow egg-shaped spot on the anal fin. Females are pale metallic blue with dark vertical bands, and brood their eggs in their mouths.
This species, beautifully marked in brown and yellow, is not a member of the zebra complex and is thus not included in the Pseudotropheus/ Maylandia/Metriaclima debate This relatively lart^e fish is well named because its vertical black-and-yellow bands resemble a bumblebee or a hornet—although adult dominant males ot the species often appear virtually black.
At the present time, all three scientific names above are in use for species that, like the impressive Aurora Cichlid, form part of the so-called zebra complex, which includes the Zebra Cichlid (Metriadima zebra) and Kennyi Mbuna (Pseudotropheus Iombardoi). Until the matter is resolved, and for some time to come, both the Aurora Cichlid and the other members of the complex will therefore continue to appear under a variety of names in aquarium literature.
This is one of the “keystone” species of the African Rift Lake cichlid hobby. Numerous morphs occur in the wild, and male coloration is very different to that of the female. Some of the types are incapable of interbreeding, and this has given rise to the belief that they may constitute separate species, rather than morphs. As a result, the collection of all these intimately related species/morphs is referred to as the “zebra complex.” The new name, Metriaclima, was erected in 1997 and now includes several new species that would formerly have been regarded as Pseudotropheus.
[Ebook] The New Guide to Aquarium Fish – Ciclilids – GROUPS OF CICHLIDS – East African Lake Cichlids
The water of the East African lakes is generally hard and alkaline, although actual conditions vary from lake to lake. Lake Victoria is only moderately hard with a neutral to slightly alkaline pH; water clarity is poor and quality unexceptional.