Haplochromis nubilus – Blue Victoria Mouthbrooder

Haplochromis nubilus or Blue Victoria Mouthbrooder males have a blue-black body with black vertical stripes that are not always visible.

Haplochromis nubilus – Blue Victoria Mouthbrooder

Haplochromis nubilus males: The whole body is blue-black with black vertical stripes that are not always visible. Sometimes a broken dark horizontal stripe is visible that runs from the gills to the caudal peduncle. Under the dorsal fin, a discontinuous dark stripe runs to the end of the dorsal fin. The dorsal fin is black with a blue glow and a red border. The anal fin is red and is highlighted by yellow egg spots. The caudal fin has a broad red border. The pectoral fins are black.

Haplochromis nubilus females: The body is pale ocher, partly iridescent olive green, and a dark horizontal stripe runs down the flank from the gills to the caudal peduncle. There are small yellowish egg spots on the anal fin.

Length: about 13 centimeters

Synonyms: Tilapia nubila, Astatotilapia nubila, Haplochromis desfontainesii, Haplochromis nuchisquamulatus, Paratilapia victoriana, Haplochromis annectidens.


Haplochromis nubilus occurs throughout Lake Victoria. You can find this species in many places near the coast along steep banks that are interspersed with large rocks at a depth of 1.50 to 8 meters.

The Aquarium

Set up the aquarium with three smaller groups of rocks that are no higher than half the water level. Use sand as a substrate. Arrange the groups of rocks in such a way that a piece of sand remains free on the left, right and in the middle. Provide a few hiding places where oppressed, weaker or breeding animals can retreat.

You can use Anubias, Java fern or Congo fern or, for example, Cryptocoryne crispatula.

Note: Haplochromis nubilus becomes more aggressive as the fish gets older and therefore needs more space than when it is young.


Haplochromis nubilus is an unspecialized insect eater. It feeds mainly on insects and their larvae. In captivity, they feed on all common fish food: flakes, black and white mosquito larvae, mysis, cichlid sticks, vegetable food and mussels.


Blue Victoria Mouthbrooders show average aggression among themselves. However, they are fairly tolerant towards other species. The males can become very aggressive as they get older.

Breeding Haplochromis nubilus

Haplochromis nubilus is a mouthbrooder in which the female incubates the eggs. However, there are also observations where the male also participates in brood care. The incubation period before the fry are released is about 18 days.

See also the breeding report of the Haplochromis nubilus.


There is some doubt whether the fish caught in different locations actually belong to just 1 species. The Haplochromis nubilus is not endangered in the wild.



Interessengemeinschaft Viktoriasee-Cichliden – original website no longer available

Copyright foto’s
Marco Welß – original website no longer available
Jason Selong

Additional information






Tilapia nubila

First described by

George Albert Boulenger


Social behaviour

Breeding behaviour





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Length maximum


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