Above: A male Astatotilapia bloyeti. Photo by Sam Borstein.
Genus- Astato= unstable (Greek), tilapia= fish (Native African).
Species- bloyeti= Named after bloyet.
Astatotilapia bloyeti is a Victorian Cichlid that has lost popularity in the last decade. It has resurfaced in some areas as Haplochromis sp. "green bloyeti". After talking to Victorian expert Greg Steeves, this fish appears to just be a location variant of Astatotilapia bloyeti.
Astatotilapia bloyeti is found in the Niger River, Nile River, and Lake Chad basin. It is unclear whether these are all the same species or not.
Size, Maturity, and Sexual Dimorphism:
Size: Males- 3 inches, Females- 2.5 inches
Maturity: .5 inches
Sexual Dimorphism: Males are larger and have a bronzy color compared to the gray females.
This fish is easy to care for. They are not aggressive at all, and since they don't attain a large size, they can be put in a rather small tank.
I had four (2 males, 2 females) in a 10 gallon tank. I attained the fish from Dr. Mike Helford. I'm pretty sure when I put the fish in my tank, it was the first time they saw life out of a breeder basket. They were less than half an inch when I got them. A week later, they were a half inch long, and breeding. Got to love Victorians, easy BAPs.
This species mixes well with milder mbuna as well as Malawi Haps. Although it can be kept with other Victorians, this is not recommended as Victorian cichlids hybridize easily.
Breeding:This is a really easy fish to breed. Just add water. I came down to my fishroom one day, and saw both of my females having trouble swimming. The culprit was these little half inch fish were holding. They were good holders. I let them hold around 15 days, and then stripped them. The fish were free swimming at this point.
The babies are very small, but will eat anything. I had no trouble, and don't think anyone else would have trouble raising these guys.
Conclusion:Astatotilapia bloyeti are great if you are into BAP, but other than that they won't do much for you. You will not find this fish available unless you know some one who loves Vic cichlids.