Gold fish

Leopard goldfish


Golden Leopard: Malawi Cichlid

The fish called "golden leopard" is quite rare in our aquariums despite the fact that there are plenty of people who want to have it in their homes. But the fact is that in pet stores it is difficult to buy it: an underwater inhabitant is not bred in nurseries, they are caught directly in their natural habitat.

Golden leopard: appearance and special features

A typical representative of the cichl family has a rather impressive size. The total length of the body in natural conditions can be up to 25 cm. While in an aquarium, the size of the fish is, of course, smaller (12-15 cm), but this is explained only by the parameters of the reservoir. However, if you keep these striped cichlids in a very large aquarium, they can grow in full size.

  • The shape of the body resembles an ellipse or egg: with a high back and compressed on the sides.
  • The head is large, its size is about 1/3 of the size of the entire animal.
  • On the sides of the head are large round eyes, below - a large mouth with thick lips.
  • The fins are even and sufficiently developed; the posterior edge of the caudal fin is V-shaped or evenly cut.

Coloring is great! The general background of the hull is beige or yellowish, with large spots of olive or dark green color, located in 3 rows, distinctly stand out. Black strips are visible on the head, which run from the edges of the mouth to the eyes.

It should be noted that in males when they reach the age of puberty, the color changes in some way. Spots on the body or become much paler, or disappear altogether. The upper part of the head becomes blue, on the forehead there is a golden stripe, which passes to the dorsal fin in the form of a bright border.

All individuals on the caudal fin of olive color have the same golden edge. Anal fin yellow, ventral and pectoral fins colored blue.

Bright fish, is not it?

Naturalists compiled a description of this Malawian cichlid at the very beginning of the last century, giving it the scientific name Nimbochromis venustus. There are also synonyms: Cyrtocara venustus, Haplochromis venustus. In a number of sources you can find the Russian transcription of the name - "venustus" or "zirtokara", and in pet stores the fish is most often called the golden leopard.

In accordance with the generally accepted scientific classification "leopard" refers to the family Cichlor suborder Ocuniform detachment Okuniform.

Life and behavior in nature

Nimbochromis venustus is a real endemic, since the species distribution area is limited to the only place on Earth: the African lake Malawi. It lives in the coastal zone, not swimming below the level of 10-12 meters. It is found both at the rocky shores and in the sandy zone of the lake. It is a typical predator.

Nimbochromis venustus live, as a rule, in small groups of 3-4 individuals, where the dominant is the only male, jealously guarding its part of the territory and its harem.

Content in an aquarium

Experts rate its level as average.

Aquarium Sizes. As you can see, the fish is not small at all, it needs to be kept in a group of 3-4 individuals, therefore the reservoir should be quite spacious: at least 200 liters.

Experts recommend organizing species content in the tsikhlidnik in order to avoid aggressive actions in relation to other fish, especially during the spawning period. In the aquarium prefer to be in the middle or lower layers of water.

Landscape the aquarium must be decorated with shelters - caves, grottoes, slides; moreover, such shelters should be at least one more than the number of "residents". This will avoid the division of the territory.

Bottom organization. As a substrate of soil is better to use coarse river sand or fine gravel. If gravel is used, it should be run-in, since “leopards” like to dig bottom soil.

In an aquarium it is necessary to plant aquatic plants with a strong root system (limnofilu or vallisneria, for example).

Aquaraparameters. An important condition is maintaining optimal water parameters:

  • temperature in the range from +25 to +27 degrees Celsius;
  • pH is neutral (7.5-8.5 units);
  • permissible stiffness slightly alkaline (from 8 to 20 degrees).

The processes of water nitrification should be fought systematically and mercilessly. To this end, it is necessary to ensure effective bio-and chemical filtration, as well as siphon the soil once a week, removing organic residues. Water change is also required to make weekly in the amount of 25-30% of its total.

Lighting standard, with a capacity of 0.5 W / liter.

Under optimal conditions of keeping Nimbochromis venustus can live in the aquarium for a long time, 7-9 years.


Predatory zertokary prefer to eat small fish, larvae, snails, a worm, smaller live food (bloodworm, artemia, daphnia, tubule). You can give pieces of meat or beef heart, they are not averse to crab sticks.

Of course, preference should be given to products of such proven manufacturers as Tetra, JBL, Sera, Fluval.


As already mentioned, the best way to maintain is specific. And this is connected not only with the natural aggressiveness of the golden leopards, but also with the issues of maintaining the purity of the breed.

At the same time, there is a positive experience of sharing content with other Malawian cichlids of approximately the same size: Livingstone's haplochromis, for example. The main thing in this case, the aquarium was spacious.

It is better to start a venustus with a hawm flock right away, because in adulthood a new member of his established group of fish will receive a hostile sign. Or rather, will not accept at all.


Its mechanism is in many ways similar to the reproduction of many other African Cichlidae. At the age of 11-12 months, the fish become sexually mature and capable of breeding, which is possible both in the general aquarium and in a specially equipped spawning ground.

Marital behavior and subsequent spawning stimulate by increasing the temperature of the aquarium water by about 2 degrees.

First, the male digs a hole in the ground, then the female lays her calf in it, which the male fertilizes. In just one spawning, from 50 to 130 eggs can appear.

The female carries caviar in her mouth, and this process continues for 15-20 days. The fry that have left the mother’s mouth may hide in it in case of danger, since the females of the golden leopards do not devour their offspring.

The starting food for juveniles are, as a rule, naptilus, cyclops, artemia. Fry grow quite quickly, so after 2-3 weeks of independent life they are recommended to gradually transfer to specialized commercial feeds.

The Golden Leopard is a very interesting and cute fish, which, undoubtedly, is an ornament to any tsikhlidnik.

Related videos:

Golden Leopard: Malawi cichlid content and care photo description


Description of species

All types of fish Haplochromis have individual beauty and manners, like the rest of the cichlids. In addition to the above, there are more rare types such as "appearance", which has other names: "Queen Victoria", "Okunek", "Snegiri", also known types are haplochromis niereri and electric blue.


Cornflower-blue haplochromis or haplochromis of a jackson is painted in a bright blue color, males have a more intense color than grayish-brown females, which can acquire a blue body tone with age. In sizes reach 15 cm, on a body there are 9-12 dark strips. Cornflower blue haplochromis lives 4-8 years in aquarium conditions.



Haplochromis livingstone or leopard zirtokara has a brilliant blue-green color of the body, on which is a pattern in the form of brown spots of various shapes. Females are colored yellow-white with spots. Haplochromis livingstone has a larger size, unlike other species, up to 25 cm. By the nature of the behavior, haplochromis livingstone is quite aggressive, it can be kept in a common aquarium only with cichlids of similar size.


Haplochromis boadzulu or sumptuous circtocara shimmers with blue, dark red and lilac shades, reaches a length of 15 cm. Females are painted in shades of gray with vertical dark stripes. Haplokhromis Boadzulu is decorated with sparkles that give it a mysteriously fantastic look. Scarlet spots are located behind the gill covers and on the fins.



Haplokhromis Dlinnorylye got its name due to the elongated pointed muzzle. Body color is green and blue with 2 and darker stripes on the sides. Silver females with less pronounced longitudinal stripes. In males, the fins are gray-black, the dorsal fin is bordered orange, in the anal fin the outer part is orange with white spots. Males are larger than females, acquire intense color during spawning. Haplokhromis the long-necked is a lover of picking up plants from the ground, but by its nature is quite peaceful.

Golden leopard

A species of golden leopard or haplochromis venustus has a yellow body with rows of greenish spots up to 15 cm long. The head and mouth are colored blue, a wide dark stripe leading from the upper lip to the dorsal fin. From the forehead and to the dorsal fin also runs a golden strip. The golden leopard is a more peaceful fish, unlike other species, but the males are territorial. To catch prey, a leopard buries itself in the sand and watches a small victim.


Haplochromis is a predatory and medium-aggressive fish. It will take an aquarium of 200 liters, in which a male and several females are placed to prevent fights during the spawning period. Sandy soil and scenery with imitation of a rocky landscape are laid on the bottom. For the species Haplochromis Jackson, gravel and pebbles can be laid out as a substrate.

Fishes will need shelters in the form of grottoes and caves, but there should also be enough free space. Plants suitable stikkolistnye with strong roots. Water parameters are as follows: hardness 6-10, acidity 7.5-8.7, temperature 23-28 ° C. Requires filtration, regular replacement of a quarter of water weekly and aeration.

It is important to observe the level of cleanliness of the aquarium and clean it of the remnants of undernourished food and waste, which in the process of decay produce ammonia harmful to the health of the fish.

Golden leopard


Breeding haplokhromis in captivity is a rather difficult process, which is best organized in a separate container at least 1 meter in length. Flat stones are laid in the aquarium and planted vallisneria. The temperature is raised by 2 degrees, the acidity to 8.5. Fish are deposited in advance and fed with high-quality live food.

For successful breeding, three females are combined per male, as males become conflicted. Females ready for breeding are the first to approach the male, after which he fertilizes the eggs. Females pick up eggs and carry them in their mouth for 3 weeks. Fry are born with a well-formed appearance, grow very quickly, feed on living dust and the nauplii of Artemia. Sexual maturity reaches 12 months.

Many species of haplochromis can interbreed with other species or some of the cichlidae: the golden leopard is combined with the haplochromis of livingstone and the blue dolphin, the long-nosed one with boadzuli and borlea. But for the purity of species, it is recommended to keep haplochroms in a species aquarium.


Haplokhromis eats live, dry and frozen food, loves bloodworms, shrimps, small fish, squid, earthworms. Their feeding should be clearly dosed, as the fish are prone to overeating, this can cause disease, bloating. Food needs to be balanced and introduced into the diet of various foods, but mostly live and frozen. It is not recommended to give fish meat products from terrestrial animals, because their stomach is not able to digest hard meat. For healthy growth should be added to the diet vitamin supplements.



Haplochromis can be kept together with relatives of different species and other peaceful cichlids. It is not recommended to place small fish or large predators on them. The most aggressive are considered haplokhromis livingstone, haplokhromis jackson. These species of fish can get along with the cichlids of the mbuna group with a peace-loving disposition.

And the more peaceful species include: haplokhromis boadzulu, golden leopard, appearancevids, haplochromis long-nosed. Despite their loyalty, these fish will not be offended and can certainly show aggression during the spawning period.

Fish haplokhromis is an interesting specimen among the other representatives of cichlids due to its external data and special behavior. But at the present time, it is almost impossible to meet pure species of haplochromis in pet stores, so it is not recommended to cross these fish.

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