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Nimbochromis venustus (Giraffe cichlid) Print
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Scientific name: Nimbochromis venustus

Common name: Giraffe cichlid, Kalingo

Region: Lake Malawi - Lake-wide distribution, Deep Intermediate Habitats

Size: max 10.5 inches (26 centimetres). Males are slightly larger than females.

Venestus african cichlid fish Color: Like their common name suggests, the coloration is reminiscent of that of a giraffe. They usually have a yellowish-white body, with large brown spots. Venustus males often assume a blue coloration when sexually active, with the blue being most intense on the head.

Water Chemistry: pH: 7.8 to 8.6, hard water

Temperature: 78-82

Aggression: aggressive

Compatibility: In your cichlid aquarium, the venestus will be quite aggressive. Therefore, the only suitable tropical fish that can be kept with it are other large Haps. Basically, any smaller cichlids will become food.

Diet: Carnivorous. In the wild, this species hunts small cichlids, by burrowing into the sand when it spots juvenile cichlids. It remains motionless until the prey are within reach.

How to breed: Like many other aggressive African cichlids, they are best kept with 2-3 (or more) females for every male, as this will stop the aggression from being concentrated on one female breeding cichlid. Provide the female cichlid with plenty of cover in the fish tank to hide from the aggressive male. Follow the same steps you would with breeding any mouthbrooder.

General: This is a very popular cichlid species kept in aquariums. Strangely enough, it's also one of the more aggresive, so cichlid breeders and hobbyists often get more than they bargained for! An interesting thing is that my wife always referred to them as the 'Giraffe' cichlids, even though neither her nor I had any idea that was their real common name!

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look to this fish
ahmad kishani (Unregistered) 2007-04-04 07:05:47

im king of fish
Snert (Unregistered) 2009-05-17 22:21:50

LOL I just got a Giraffe Cichlid and a YoYo Loach and the two are best buds. The loach even "cleans" the Cichlid while eating of any stray particles around his gills.

I'm glad I got them both!
Nice Fish
Sumthing-Smells-Fishy (Unregistered) 2007-12-29 18:18:58

I have recently bought a whole new tank of cichlids and one of them is a Giraffe Cichlid! So far it has been peaceful and hasn't attacked any other fish! Actually the fish attacking them all is a loach which really surprised me cause it is normally terrified of all fish!!!!! I guess its just sticking up for itself! I mean all my cichlids are egging him on to attack them and its quite funny! But they've stopped now!!!!!
Anonymous (Unregistered) 2008-02-01 11:56:27

i have a giraffe cichlid of about 7 inches, and he isnt aggressive at all! hes been mainly picked on by some very tiny cichlids which i thought weren't going to survive!! so much for its so called aggressive nature bless him!
Jean (Unregistered) 2008-03-01 08:46:22

I have a cichlid tank of 75gl, all from Tanganyika lake. Friend of mine gave me a venustus, it was a bit larger than the other and everything was going smooth for a while... until the war started between him and a electra blue. Unfortunately the electra blue killed the venustus, sad because the venustus was peaceful with the other species in my tank.
Bee (Unregistered) 2008-03-20 15:10:20

I just bought a Giraffe Cichlid, its still pretty young.. only like 2-2 1/2 Inches.. Its a lot darker than the one above and it has redish-orange on its fins instead of the blue (above).. Is that normal?? Its pretty aggressive too, i bought two cichlids and it always looks like its challenging the other one by raising its fins and holding very still by the smaller fish...
david (Unregistered) 2009-02-10 17:03:13

are you sure its not a nimbochromis Livingstonii?
Anonymous (Unregistered) 2011-05-23 09:28:15

you may have a livinstonii cichlid it sounds to me they are identical accept color
Venustus
Marlon (Unregistered) 2008-09-19 17:06:20

I have 4 very large venustus, trying to work out which is the male and females, they are all close to 10-12 inches, and extremely aggressive, any smaller cichlids around the 2inch mark are always targetted by food, my tank is quite large with plenty of hiding places, but one slip up from the smaller fish and they become fish food for the 4....anyone have any idea how to clearly distinguish sex?
sexing venustus
sean (Unregistered) 2010-04-07 07:39:22

the male will be alot brighter in colour and his face will turn electric blue after u know that with my experiance they fairly easy to breed as long as the tank is big enough to have 1 male and 3-6 female hope that helps and if thay are as big as your then they can have 100-150 babys
oh boy!!
vaughan (Registered) 2008-10-14 16:47:49

I had just bought 2 Giraffes I think. I didn't realize how big these guys get. They were nit even an inch long when I got them. Now, they are in a tank with what I believe is a full grown "Electric yellow"(app. 4 inches). He pretty much dominates the tank. Esp.the little area where he likes to hangout. It's interesting to watch them during feeding time.
bumblebee, blue and giraffe
tyler (Unregistered) 2008-12-07 23:56:12

for almost a year now ive had an electric blue (azul) and a bumblebee (sher kahn), and i recently purchased a venustus, and he was so small, i didnt think he was gonna make it, but now he is almost as big as my blue, who i might add is the dominant one, even though the bumblebee is i little bit larger. but they have a hierarchy in there, nobody messes with the blue, as he chases everybody, the bumblebee is caught in the middle, only one he can push around is the venustus, and well, for the venustus, he just gets lots of exercise, lol. i might add that my pleco is never harmed, which surprises some folks.
same
rob (Unregistered) 2011-11-09 20:23:58

I have the exact same 3 fish!!! I have serious issues also. Except my venestus is the most dominant in the tank and the largest. He is completely terrorizing my entire tank. (8-10in) The bumblebee (8in) is next in line followed by the electric blue (7in) last. Basically same situation.
Same kind of problem
Bob (Unregistered) 2012-08-27 08:31:25

I also have a electric blue and venustus (both 1"-2") and 4 other assorted malawi cichlids and the electric blue is clearly the boss.
giraffe
ashleigh (Unregistered) 2009-09-03 12:31:10

how do u sex these fish?
sexing
Amber (Unregistered) 2009-09-29 00:27:48

You can tell the sex by noticing if there is black on the fins. males will get black on their fins and will also have blue on their face. you can notice this at about 1-2 inches.
Anonymous (Unregistered) 2013-07-08 19:13:26

No
Anonymous (Unregistered) 2013-07-08 19:14:00

No
sexing
alex (Unregistered) 2009-11-03 07:56:00

sexing chiclids is a difficult thing to do and even those of us that think we know wat we are doing slip up and figure out that our fish fred is a fredricka lol. but the easiest way to tell if your fish is male of female is to look at the egg spots on the lower back fin. if it has three or more egg spots male. this isn't always true however ive found it to help me alot, the other way to tell is to look at the eye some males have a black strip that goes across the eye. very noticable if the fish has one
Sex
Matt (Unregistered) 2011-08-05 06:01:02

When young(< 3"), the male(s) will be more dominant, larger, may develope spots on the anal fin, and turn almost pale(fade their giraffe pattern) at times while showing dominance. As they grow larger(> 3"), there will be no question. The males are larger, fins grow twice as long as females, the whole body turns blue especialy the face with a thick yellow mohawk-stripe from the lips to the tail. Normaly the largest fish will be the male. You will know it wen you see it
soft
ando (Unregistered) 2009-11-23 02:01:40

i have bought 2 in the past and both have shit themselves and died that day i did everything perfect for the fish but i guess when it saw who it eas living with it more then likely had a heart attack 25cm oscar 15 cm red devil a 20 cm flowerharn and a 20 cm juguar and some other ugly fish thats about 15 cm
Reply: soft
raburtonv (Unregistered) 2010-08-17 14:33:41

You should never mix African and South American Cichlids. They need different water chemistries. Most African Cichlids need hard water and a high pH, while most South American Cichlids need soft water and a neutral pH.
Wrong
Bob (Unregistered) 2012-08-27 08:34:22

Malawi cichlids and oscars mix like oil and vinegar.
VENUSTUS
MONSTERUP (Unregistered) 2009-12-02 16:58:40

JUST PURCHASED A VENUSTUS. AND IM FINDING OUT THAT THEY EAT CICHLIDS. I HAVE A TANK FULL OF PEACOCKS, VERY NICE MAY I ADD. HOPE THEY DONT BECOME FOOD. I WILL VERY SAD AND PISSED.
feeding
sean (Unregistered) 2010-04-07 07:46:44

give them tiger barbs every know an agian when they get big because it help make them show there true hunting skills then just give them bloodworm and cichlid pettets do nt feed flakes after they are 4inchs because it not as benifishle as live or frozen food hope tht help
Anonymous (Unregistered) 2011-03-04 08:31:59

Stop shouting lol!
venustus
Becky (Unregistered) 2010-01-22 14:57:23

I just got two of these guys, didn't realize they got so big. If they start eating my cichlids they will be going back to the store. Right now they seem to be fine. They eat everything that they see, and are growing up fast.
Venustus
David (Unregistered) 2010-04-01 22:11:18

This cichlid species is pretty calm when they're young, so they can be kept with angel's,barbs,and tetra's. Once they reach about 3-4 inches, they need to be removed, and place them with other african's not too small though. My little Venustus was so calm and active when he was a baby 1-2 inches. 2 years later..He's 13.5 inches and he is by himself in a 130 gallon tank, he is by far the meanest cichlid I have ever kept, great cichlids to have.
sean (Unregistered) 2010-04-07 07:59:12

dont be silly do nt keep with these types of fish they will make mince meat out of them keep with over large african or american cichlids
none
kamran (Unregistered) 2010-04-03 15:41:49

I have one about 7 inch, one of my faver in tank, healty ,good looking in tank, is not that aggresive but is boss, take food from my hand. I like him.
-- (Unregistered) 2010-04-25 07:16:15

I bought a Venustus about 2 weeks ago. I was a little skeptical because he is about 4.5 in and the other cichlids in the tank top out at about 2in.
Not only is my Venustus not agressive, but the 2in. zebra bosses him around.

He is the sweetest guy in the tank - doesn't harm, chase, or do anything to the other little guys. The smallest is a 1.5in zebra, and the Venustus is very peaceful !
Serial Killer!
ryan (Unregistered) 2010-05-27 20:09:00

I bought a 6" beautiful male venustus that had been returned by 3 different people because he would kill everything in the tank he was added to. The pet store said he would be good to put with my 12" oscar in a 100 gallon tank. The 2 get along great. I tried adding other large cichlids, resulting in a series of brutal, punishing beatdowns and returned fish. I tried moving aquarium decor around to mess up his "territory," but it didn't work. The WHOLE tank is his territory. I finally bought a large, super aggressive red-devil/parrot cichlid that would attack my hand like a pirahna when I put it in its tank. I removed the kalingo for about 2 hours to let the red devil get adjusted. After I put the kalingo back, they sparred for about an hour and then made a peace. So far, so good.
dumbasses
me12 (Unregistered) 2010-08-09 07:13:49

i know that some americans and africans get along ok but u dumbasses seem to be doing alot of it. those of you who are doing it be wary because they may seem ok at first but eventually they will fight
one hell of a tough fish
sean (Unregistered) 2010-08-09 20:13:35

i have a two month old venustus(one inch long) in a 125 with about 14 others including a five ahli but he appears to be super smart at avoidly almost all the others by hiding in some plastic plants and coming out to feed and i cant wait for him to grow
venestus male or female
Darkwoman (Unregistered) 2010-08-11 11:24:12

I bought George at Wal-Mart with the rest of his/her tank mates they were all about the same size. We actually thought it was a she it grew 3 times faster than the rest of the fish. went from a 1in to 3 or 4 in 6 months. Not agressive at all like the Red Zebra who is half the size and already put in his own tank. Started to notice this week George has a blue mouth, no females he is the only Venestus in the tank. My daughter is dissapointed she thought it was funny to name our female George. There are no spots on his lower fin.
male
paul (Unregistered) 2010-08-15 07:17:15

I bought a venestus months ago and it lives happily with my blue acara, green severum, two convicts, black angle, gudgeon, bristle nose and other catfish and they seem to get along all fine.they all have there bad days but in the end they all calm down and ignore eachother
My Tank
Jamie (Unregistered) 2010-09-08 16:19:25

I have a 125 gallon. Right now I have 2 Giraffs, @ Moorii's, & a loach. I heard about the loach keeping the giraffs clean. I went against my gut with keeping all Malawis in one tank, but its true! They are all about 1 1/2 inches each. My tank seems like its missing something though. I've got rocks stacked nicely on both sides of the tank with treated wood on slate for the middle. Any suggestions on what to introduce to the tank?
yay babies
matt (Unregistered) 2010-10-14 07:11:52

I just returned from vacation of about three weeks and in my hecktiick return drained and filled my 125 gal tank which normally houses 1 male (over 5 in) 2 female (3 1/2 to 4 in) and 7 in chocolate albino pleco. Well the next morning I awoke to find 2 new arivals about 1/2 in each, which obviosly were not just born yesterday. Upon further inspetion I notiiced one more little guy about 3 or 4 millimeters that had to have just been born and who knows how many are in one of the females mouth. So exited. Can't wait for the fish place to open today. So many questions!
venustus
Corey (Unregistered) 2010-10-19 00:08:44

I have 5 venustus cichlids and while they are a little aggressive at about 4-5 inches they are not nearly as mean as my flowerhorn cichlid around the same size
jermaine (Unregistered) 2010-11-13 21:40:17

i have 3 inch venustus, it has no egg spots, no blus. it's just blah. is it a female?
i have a pic of the blue face
danielle (Unregistered) 2011-01-10 22:38:02

mine is very smart loves to play with the dog at the side of the tank i also have many babies that he snacked on! but he has alot of personality for a fish!
Malawi
Jamie (Unregistered) 2011-01-28 20:45:06

I have been building my 125 gallon for about 8 months now. I have some cool Malawi's. Here's my listing: Venustus, Trewavasea, Ruby Peacocks, Jewels, Loach, Cherry Zebra, Johannie, & a cross breed Electric Yellow. The Venustus, Trewavasea, Electric Yellow are both about 5 inches. The Trewevasea, Venustus, & Johanni are the alphas. But the Trewevasea is a beast. Beautiful coloration from all my fish.
Malawi
Jamie (Unregistered) 2011-01-28 20:46:54

P.S. I know the Loach is not a cichlid, much less from Africa.
bob (Unregistered) 2011-02-16 19:09:34

i have a very aggressive and territorial venustus hes eaten some of my smaller fish and i just added a beutiful lemon jake that cost me 65 bucks and within 24 hrs. i think hes just about killed him im very upset i think im going to get rid of him
male, female or both???
Gemma (Unregistered) 2011-03-26 12:53:28

Hi All
I have 2 venustus both about 3inch in length maybe slighly more? How do I sex them? what do I look for? They are both exactly the same apart from one having darker markings!Are they both female as there are no blue faces or egg spots! Or are they a bit small to sex yet? HELP!!!!
Venustus colony
Jimmy C (Unregistered) 2011-04-16 09:36:18

I started with 2 Venustus in my display tank. Both were very peaceful and mixed well with the other fish. 1 was growing quicker than the other. I put the pair of them in a smaller tank and the larger of them went blueish almost immediately and became very dominant (boy fish). I've since purchased 6 more juvenile Venustus in the hopes of giving the male more females to bother. When I introduced the new fish he settled down straight away. Changed colour too (now the blue is kept to his face). Great fish to keep.
Edwin (Unregistered) 2011-04-26 14:59:16

A lot of information online could be very misleading. In general this is not an aggressive fish.
Polystigma
Fishster (Unregistered) 2011-07-27 12:03:36

How much do they cost
GIRAFFE
HENRY (Registered) 2011-09-20 17:42:39

MY GIRAFFE HAS BEEN PRETTY MELLO UNTIL I RECENTLY ADDED A NEW FIS IT IS ONLY BOTHERSOME TO THAT NEW ONE.TIME FOR A TANK CHANGE
Mix venistus with mbuna
Abdullah (Unregistered) 2012-03-03 17:51:09

Any chance to mix Venistus with some mbuna in 125 galone?
Young ones
Bettalover (Unregistered) 2012-03-11 16:10:26

I have 4 giraffe cichlids, 1 1/2 inches, that have been in a 20 gallon tank with female bettas and scissor tails for 7 months. All 3 species stick to themselves, cichlids pick on cichlids and bettas pick on bettas and the scissor tails never pick on anyone. I just got a 55 gallon tank and I'm waiting for it to cycle. I'm sure the cichlids will finally start growing when I move them to their new home :)
iuJKBulOyFNuTEYxnIH
Alexis (Unregistered) 2012-09-26 15:56:47

What kind of snails do you have? I unserdtand the conundrum, I hate recommending chemicals in any case if a natural solution can be found. Loaches can be quite reliable especially with snail eggs and larval snails. Some loaches can become a little aggressive or over-zealous which would be one minor concern, though keeping them in adequate numbers seems to keep bad behavior at bay. If you have the cone-shaped snails that I'm afraid you do, they can be a little more troublesome to eradicate. These tend to lay in the gravel and on the glass. They are mainly detritivores and tend to like dark places and emerge more at night. They will not harn fish or plants, but they are prolific and can cause a headache with equipment like you describe. If you are able, can you send photos of the snails? Send to . The loaches may help with these snails, but traps and mechanical removal may also be necessary.
MKyqMcGixyQjzEHC
Zazamini (Unregistered) 2012-09-26 21:38:13

do people ever stock their ponds (a simniwmg type pond) with goldfish?has anyone ever heard of someone stocking a pond (like 1 acre or larger) with goldfish instead of like bluegill and catfish. it just occured to me that i have never heard of it being done, and i was wondering why. is it b/c they are\'nt native to the US, b/c they are hard to feed in a pond, or are they just no good for fishing? is it illegal? i\'m not going to do that, i was just curious.
Please help
Random (Unregistered) 2012-09-27 02:54:50

Okay so I have a male giraffe cichlids and he is about 4 inches long, I don't know how old he is. Great personality, but killed y convict a while ago so hE is alone in a 10 gallon tank. I have two females on order but what if they are smaller, is that okay? And is the 10 gallon enough? Need answers ASAP
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Willie (Unregistered) 2012-12-01 17:58:56

I just started a new tank with brichardi,albinopeacocks, acei, red zebra, elecftric blue, red ruby, and labs. I lost one of two venustus after the first 24 hours and the other is missing an eye but is doing well. I didnt know they get as large as they do. Hope the other fish will be ok.
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Mohammed (Unregistered) 2013-07-06 07:37:13

Hi I just brought 20 desonami and maybe some other cichlids as well can't pick them up for a month because we are moving house and stuff but am so exited my new tank is going to be insane with post a vid when it is all set up also the ice cubes are great fed then to my fry and the adults there
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