Electric Blue Hap (Sciaenochromis fryeri) is a freshwater ray-finned fish from the cichlid family. It is endemic to the African Lake Malawi, which is famous for its cichlid species diversity.
The first specimens of haplochromis were described back in 1926. For one reason or another, the fish changed its specific name several times.
Later it was generally moved from the genus Haplochromis, although the historical name is still the most popular.
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Among the cichlids living in Lake Malawi, many representatives have a blue or light blue color. If you are a fan of such shades, then you will certainly be delighted with the appearance of Electric Blue Hap.
The name itself indicates the unusual and bright color of the fish. Let’s take a closer look at how to create comfortable conditions for this cichlid in a home aquarium.
Males of Electric Blue Hap have an outstanding bright blue or light blue coloration. This is a relatively calm cichlid, although territorial but it can live with other fish.
Electric Blue Hap has a noticeably elongated body, which immediately betrays a hunter in it. The head has large eyes and a large mouth with fleshy lips.
The caudal fin is trapezoidal. The dorsal fin is well developed, which extends from the gill line to the tail itself and is pointed at the end.
Electric Blue Hap males can grow up to 20 cm, females usually do not exceed 15 cm.
The main pride of the Electric Blue Hap is its color. It is bright blue or blue with a characteristic metallic sheen. On the sides from head to tail, there are transverse dark stripes.
They are clearly visible at normal times, but they practically disappear during the spawning period: then the color of the male becomes uniform.
The dorsal fin is colored in the basic color of the body; some geographic morphs have a white border along the entire length. The anal and abdominal are yellowish.
Life expectancy of Electric Blue Hap in home aquariums is 8-10 years.
The birthplace of Electric Blue Hap is the African lake Malawi (Nyasa). This reservoir is of tectonic origin, it was formed at the junction of lithospheric plates.
Due to long-term isolation, the lake has become a major center for cichlid speciation.
Sciaenochromis fryeri is a widespread species; it lives at depths of 10-40 m in transition zones where areas with rocky and sandy bottom intersect.
It is an ambush predator that waits for its prey, hiding among the stones.
Electric Blue Hap should be kept in groups, where there will be 3-4 females for one male. Such a group will need 200-300 liters of water.
You can safely keep two males in one aquarium only with significant volumes of the aquarium (from 400 liters).
In any case, the number of females should prevail. Only this will help to reduce intraspecific competition and will not lead to the death of a weaker male.
The aquarium must be equipped with a lid so that the fish do not accidentally end up on the floor of the room. Electric Blue Hap looks best in compositions reminiscent of the landscapes of Lake Malawi.
It is advisable to use sand as a soil, on which firmly fixed piles of stones are installed, forming natural shelters. Planting live plants is in most cases impractical.
Often Electric Blue Hap is used in compositions in the “pseudo-mor” style. The natural corals used to build them increase the hardness of the water, which Malawian cichlids will like to taste.
Electric Blue Hap Aquarium Care
But the quality of the water should be checked thoroughly. You will definitely need a powerful external filter and good aeration. Electric Blue Hap are thermophilic creatures, so take care of a thermostat of suitable power.
Once a week, a 20% water change in the aquarium is required. Never use water directly from the tap for a change: it may contain hazardous elements such as chlorine or heavy metals.
To make it safe instantly, add Tetra AquaSafe conditioner to a bucket of fresh water and you can safely pour it into the aquarium without settling.
It is important to remember that the water in Lake Malawi is highly mineralized, so make sure the hardness is at least 10 dGH.
Optimum water parameters for aquarium: T = 24-28°C, pH = 7.6-8.8, GH = 10-25
Electric Blue Hap Tank Mates
Electric Blue Hap has a rather livable character and is much quieter than many Malawian cichlids.
However, he cannot be called completely docile, because he is a real predator who can easily eat any fish that can fit into his mouth.
Therefore, Electric Blue Hap should be kept only with commensurate cichlids. Well, suited tank mates for Electric Blue Hap are Mbuna Cichlids, Demasoni Cichlid, Yellow Lab Cichlid, Blue Dolphin Cichlid, Peacock Cichlid, Synodontis Catfish, etc…
Feeding Electric Blue Hap
In nature, the diet of Electric Blue Hap consists primarily of fry of other Malawian cichlids. At home, fish are excellent at switching to high-quality dry food with a high protein content, designed specifically for cichlids.
Depending on the size and personal preference of the fish, you can opt for Tetra Cichlid XL Flakes, Tetra Cichlid Sticks, or Tetra Cichlid Crisps.
Each of these feeds will fully provide the Blue Hap with quality proteins and other nutrients. A special complex of vitamins will give you health and longevity.
It is best to feed the fish several times a day (young 3-4 times) in such a portion that will be completely eaten by the cichlids in a few minutes. Blue Hap is prone to overeating, so once a week you can arrange a fasting day.
Reproduction and Breeding
Another indisputable advantage when keeping Blue Hap is the ease of breeding this species at home. The fish have a highly developed parental instinct, which, however, is not at all uncommon for Malawian cichlids.
To distinguish a male from a female is quite simple: only males have a bright blue color, and they are larger in size. Females have modestly colored: their scales are silver, sometimes with a bluish tint. Fish can spawn at intervals of two months.
In nature, males build conical mounds of sand with a hole at the top as a nest, and in aquariums, they usually dig small holes under the stones.
After the completion of “construction”, males begin to chase females. This courtship is quite tough, sometimes the chosen ones have to hide from the active male.
The female ready for spawning swims up to the prepared nest and lays 15-70 eggs in several stages.
The male picks them up with his anal fin and fertilizes, after which the eggs are collected by the female in the mouth, where further development takes place.
At this time, the female does not eat anything. You can distinguish it by its stretched mouth. During this period, you should not expose the fish to stress, otherwise, it may swallow or lose its eggs.
Incubation takes about 3 weeks, after which fully formed fry of fairly large size are born. If spawning took place in a separate container, the female should be returned to the general aquarium.
As the Blue Hap fry grow, they should be sorted to prevent cannibalism. At the age of about six months, it is already possible to determine the sex of the fry, and the fish reach sexual maturity when they reach 12 months.
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