Abactochromis labrosus has been part of the Mbuna group since its first recording as a species. The Mbuna are the rock inhabiting Malawi cichlids. This is a disputed classification as there are discussions if the fish is actually a Mbuna. There are no other Mbuna with such lobate lips as the Abactochromis labrosus.
After spending nearly 75 years as the Melanochromis labrosus Michael K. Oliver and Matthew E. Arnegard have redefined this species and added this fish as the only species to the new genus Abactochromis. The name is derived from Latin and abactus meaning exiled, chromis means fish. The species name labrosus, is Greek and means big lip, a reference to the big and lobate lips of the fish.
Synonyms: Cyrtocara labrosa, Haplochromis labrosus, Melanochromis labrosus
The males grow up to 15 centimetres, females stay a little bit smaller with 12. Their key feature however is he big lobate lips that these fish have.
The Abactochromis labrosus can be quite aggressive towards fellow species.
Their diet consists of smaller Mbuna species and shellfish that they suck out of crevices and burrows of the bedrock with their lobate lips.
Minimal length of the tank: 150 cm
Temperature between 23 and 26° C.
John de Lange
Jason Selong – BigSkyCichlids