Paratilapia bleekeri is a medium-sized cichlid endemic to Madagascar. Adult and subadult dominant P. bleekeri individuals are jet black in color, covered with brilliant iridescent spots which shift from golden to blue depending on the movement of the fish and the angle of the light; the eye is a bright yellow. The male can reach almost 11 in. in total length; females are usually half that length. Sexing individuals thus becomes easier as they mature. In addition, males tend to have longer and sharper pelvic fins, a more rounded head shape, and the edges of the dorsal and anal fins are often straighter in males, and more rounded in females. Among aquarists, females, though smaller, are said to be more beautiful in their coloration patterning.
It is an omnivorous fish and occasional opportunistic piscivore, approaching smaller unsuspecting fish by stealth, with their dark coloration giving them an advantage. P. bleekeri observed hunting in the aquarium environment will sneak up on smaller fish from below during the predawn hours and suck the smaller fish into its mouth using the typical cichlid ‘suction effect’ caused by quickly opening its mouth.
Fish size: 11″
Min tank size: 100 Gallons