Venustus Hap (Everything You Should Know)

Venustus Hap

Venustus Hap, also known as Giraffe Hap, is a type of Haplochromine cichlid fish native to Lake Malawi in Africa.

It likes deep areas of the lake (20 to 75 feet) where it hunts smaller young cichlids using a unique hunting method.

When it sees prey, it hides in the sand and stays still until the target fish gets close enough. Then, it quickly comes out of hiding and catches its prey.

Venustus Haps are related to Nimbochromis livingstonii. They are popular freshwater aquarium fish due to their striking appearance: generally yellow with darker spots on their bodies.

When males reach maturity, they display blue coloring on their heads and other body parts.

Venustus Haps live above sandy floors in the lake.

While young ones stay near rocks in shallow waters, adults search for food in deeper regions with sandy bottoms.

Their diet mainly consists of small fish and invertebrates.

Venustus Hap Interesting Facts

  • Venustus Haps are native to Lake Malawi in Africa and inhabit deep areas (20 to 75 feet).
  • These fish use a unique hunting method, hiding in the sand and ambushing smaller young cichlids.
  • Males display striking blue coloring on their heads and other body parts when they mature.
  • Females exhibit mouthbrooding behavior, carrying and protecting their babies in their mouths.

Venustus Hap Habitat

Venustus Hap is native to Lake Malawi in Africa and is found all around the lake. It lives in freshwater and prefers staying near the bottom, not migrating to other areas.

The ideal water conditions for this fish include a pH between 7.2 to 8.8, hardness (dH) between 10 to 18 and a depth of about 20 to 75 feet (6 to 23 meters).

This fish thrives in warm temperatures between 77°F to 81°F (25°C to 27°C). Its habitat lies within tropical regions, specifically from latitudes of 9°S to 15°S.

Water Temperature:77°F to 81°F (25°C to 27°C)
Water pH:7.2 to 8.8 pH
Water Hardness:10 to 18 dH

Venustus Hap Physical Characteristics

Size: 8.9 inches (22.5 centimeters)

Venustus Hap can grow up to a maximum length of 9.8 inches (25.0 centimeters) long in its natural habitat but usually doesn’t exceed 8.9 inches (22.5 centimeters).

It has 16 to 17 dorsal spines, 10 to 12 dorsal soft rays, 3 anal spines, and 9 to 10 anal soft rays.


  • Diamond-shaped dark patterns on the body,
  • No spots on the pectoral fins, and
  • No radiating dark pattern on the head.

Body Features

  • Body depth is about 38% to 41% of the total length,
  • Head length is about 32% to 34% of the total length,
  • Lower jaw length is about 36% to 41% of head length, and
  • The dorsal fin base is about 53% to 58% of the total length.

Mouth & Teeth

Small mouth with strong outer teeth, inner teeth widely spaced and mainly sharp.

Scales and Fins

  • Three rows of scales on cheeks,
  • Broad lower pharyngeal jaw with sharp, wide-set pharyngeal teeth,
  • Normal to short gill-rakers,
  • The upper lateral line has 22 to 24 scales, the lower part has 14 to 15 scales, and
  • Five to six scales between the pectoral and pelvic fins.


Adult Territorial Males

Blue color overall, darker blue head parts, unpaired fins dark blue, grey pectorals, black pelvics, white-edged dorsal fin, and white/yellow caudal fin.

Less Territorial Males

Greenish color overall; bluish head; more yellowish ventro-lateral/ventral parts.

Females/immature Males

Silvery green background; yellow parts on head and body; grey dorsal/upper caudal fins, white-edged dorsal fin, yellowish lower half of caudal fin; and transparent pectorals.

Preserved Specimens

Large diamond-shaped dark patches on sides with light-colored zones between; basic body color ranges from yellow to brown; dark head and gill covers; and brown fins with light-colored margins.

Venustus Hap Reproduction

Female Venustus Hap carries her babies in her mouth and looks after them.

Venustus Hap Scientific Classification

Scientific Name:Nimbochromis venustus
Also Known As:Venustus Hap, Giraffe Hap
Conservation Status:Least Concern

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