Name:    Haplochromis sp. "red tail sheller"

Synonym:    Platytaeniodus sp. "red tail sheller" or Ptyochromis sp. "red tail sheller"

Common name:    Hap Blue Neon (or;) Red Fin Blue Neon

Location:    Lake Victoria (Kenya?)

Adult size:    Male: 5 1/2 inches (14 cm),  Female 5 inches (13 cm)

Diet:    snail extractor  ( molluscivore )


Personal Notes:  I bought seven of these little Victorians at only about 1/2 inch (1 cm) long at the Cincinnati club auction in April of 2003.  They were labeled Haplochromis sp "blue neon" however; I believe that this is incorrect.  After some research it looks to me like they are Haplochromis sp. "red tail sheller" from the Kenyan shore of Lake Victoria.  I believe that this cichlid might also be sold as the Haplochromis sp. "red fin blue neon".  The red tail sheller might be assigned to the genus Platytaeniodus in the future.  In Europe they feel it will be assigned to the genus Ptyochromis in the future.  In any case, it is unclassified at the moment.  They grow to about 5.5 inches (14 cm) long and closely resemble Platytaeniodus degeni in body shape.  As the name would suggest (sheller) it is a snail extractor that feeds on mollusks.  They live in the sandy bottom areas of the Lake.  I have 2 males and 5 females.  As you can see, the females actually have a little bit of red on them as well, which is a bit unusual for many Victorians.  They spend all day picking at the gravel and are rarely more than 3 or 4 inches above the substrate.

The two males tend to have the occasional disputes but overall this is a very mild-mannered cichlid.  Even in a 180 gallon tank, the males did not appear to defend a territory.  They wandered over the entire tank and gave chase upon coming into sight of one another.

I did manage to witness at least one spawning;  red tail shellers spawning


In October 2011 I had a second chance to keep this beautiful Victorian.  They were for sale at my local fish store, Aquarium Adventure.  They were mis-identified as "blue scrapers" but the nice thing is that the males were sold first leaving a whole lot of females to choose from.  So I purchased one male and seven females.  They breed quite regularly in a single species 55 gallon tank.


The 5 1/2 inch (14 cm) 5 year old dominant male Haplochromis sp. "red tail sheller" shown above.

The 5 inch (13 cm) 5 year old female Haplochromis sp. "red tail sheller" shown above.

The silver colored female is shown above.  The red tipped caudal and dorsal sometimes fades as does the horizontal line.

The many color moods of the Red Tail Sheller males at a younger age above.

In April of 2004 (one year after buying them) they mated and the female spit 12 very tiny little fry.  This colony has given me lots of fry over the years.  They bred for around three years.  red tail shellers spawning


Next Victorian cichlid <== Haplochromis sp. "ruby"   HOME

see also


Big Sky Cichlids