Starry Night Cichlid (Paratilapia polleni) Species Profile: Care, Tank Size, Food & Tank Mates

Paratilapia polleni

Keeping Stary Night Cichlid as a pet is one of the most enthralling adventures an aquarist can embark on. These fish look striking and gorgeous, making them great additions to any aquarium. 

Unfortunately, like most Madagascar’s cichlids, the Stary Night Cichlid is now considered to be nearly endangered due to habitat loss and overfishing. As a result, Stary Night cichlids are becoming increasingly rare in the wild. 

Today, the Stary Night cichlid can sometimes be found in pet stores, and a few captive breeding programs are working to preserve this species. 

If you’re lucky enough to find a Stary Night cichlid for sale, there are a few things you’ll need to know before you bring one home. This guide will bring you everything about their care. It covers all essential aspects, like tank size, lifespan, appearance, ideal food, etc. 

Species summary

The Starry night cichlid (Paratilapia polleni), sometimes referred to as polleni cichlid and black diamond cichlid, is a medium-sized species native to Madagascar and it has a widespread distribution on the island.

This fish can be found in many rivers and associated streams in northern Madagascar, including the environs of the Andapa town, where most individuals are captured for the aquarium trade.

This cichlid belongs to the Paratilapia genus, which currently has two recognized species – P. polleni and P. toddi.

But now, P. polleni is probably the only known member of this genus because its congener, P. toddi, endemic to the African mainland, is unlikely to belong to this genus. 

It is named after a Dutch naturalist and merchant Francois Pollen, who collected this species when he visited Madagascar with his fellow Dutch naturalist and explorer, Douwe Casparus Van Dam.  

Paratilapia was previously fallen into two species — P. bleekeri and P. polleni. There is some debate among scientists as to whether these two fish are actually two separate species. The primary difference between the two is the size and frequency of spots on their body.

P. bleekeri typically has larger and more frequent spots, while P. polleni has smaller and less frequent spots. Furthermore, Bleekeri is larger, making them different from polleni. However, there is still much research to be done in order to definitively determine whether or not these two fish are actually two separate species.

Scientific Name:Paratilapia polleni
Common Name:Starry night cichlid, black diamond cichlid, polleni cichlid
Origin:Madagascar, Africa
Size:11 inches (28 cm)
pH:6.2 – 7.6
Temperature:62 – 82 °F (17-28°C) (the sweet spot is around 72-80°F)
KH: 8 – 25°H
Minimum tank size:75 gallons


Starry night cichlid (Paratilapia polleni)
Photo: Nathan Burgess

The Starry night cichlid looks incredibly beautiful, making it a favored fish among freshwater aquarists. It is a laterally compressed, full-bodied fish, resembling a perch-type species in shape. Adult and subadult dominant Paratilapia polleni have dark coloration, covered with beautiful speckles. 

These iridescent spots shift from golden to blue based on their movement and angle of light. Their eyes are bright yellow. In captivity, males P.Polleni develop a nuchal hump, a layer of fat above the eyes. 

Also, males have a more rounded head shape, more extended and sharper pelvic fins, and straight edges of anal and dorsal fins. On the other hand, the female starry night cichlid is said to be more beautiful in its coloration patterns and has round edges of anal and dorsal fins. 

Starry Night Cichlid Max Size

The maximum size of male Starry Night Cichlid (P. Polleni) is almost 11 inches (28 cm), with females typically maxing out at 5 inches (13 cm). It’s a fast-growing fish, so it is easy to reach its maximum size in a short period. Starry Night Cichlids typically reach sexual maturity at 3 -5 inches (8 – 12 cm).

Their size can be influenced by various factors, such as diet and water quality. Like any other species, starry night cichlids that are well-fed and live in high-quality water conditions can grow slightly fast than those that don’t.


The average Starry Night Cichlid lifespan is roughly 5 – 8 years when given proper care.

Like their full-grown size, many factors will influence their lifespan. These include water quality, diet, and tank mates. In addition, like any other captive-bred species, their genetics also play a significant role in how long they will live and how big they will get. 

Starry Night Cichlid Care

In their natural habit, P. polleni is a very adaptable cichlid. It can be found in a wide variety of habitats with different water parameters. It has been recorded at altitudes of up to 1500m, where the water temperature can drop as low as 12°C, and in hot springs, the water temperature can reach 40°C, and the water chemistry is also very alkaline.

However, the black diamond cichlid also occurs in acidic blackwater streams, some specimens even being found in slightly brackish waters. These creatures are primarily hardy and unfussy. 

While they don’t have many requirements, fishkeepers still have to provide the essentials to create a suitable habitat. Here’re a few starry night cichlid care guidelines that you should be mindful of. 

Tank Size

Since P.Polleni has modest adult size, a minimum of a 75-gallon (48″ x 18″ x 21″) tank is enough to keep a compatible pair of Starry Night Cichlid, and it is recommended to opt for a larger tank as these species are territorial. 

A group of youngsters can be placed in a smaller tank but eventually require rehoming into larger quarters as they grow. 

Water Parameters

These species are found in different environmental conditions, ranging from freshwater to lightly salty, making them adaptable to different aquarium conditions. Partial and regular water changes should be carried out to maintain water quality.

Stick to the below-mentioned water parameters to replicate the natural habitat of P. Polleni.

  • pH: 6.5 to 8.0
  • Water Temperature: 62 – 82 °F (17-28°C) (the sweet spot is around 72-80°F)
  • Hardness: 8-25°H
  • Ammonia: 0 ppm
  • Nitrite: 0 ppm
  • Nitrate: <30 ppm

Plants and Substrate

The aquarium space should be filled with a substrate of small rounded gravel or sand to make it look natural. 

Creating sheltered areas with bogwood and rocks in the tank where starry night cichlid can hide is necessary. Make sure these should be secured as these species can move decor around.

Live plants can be used to provide hiding places and reduce stress levels. Starry night cichlids are not known to eat plants, but they might uproot them during their excavating activities.

You may add blue moonlight to the aquarium to observe their twilight antics. 


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Starry night cichlids are mainly omnivorous species, sometimes feeding on small fish in the wild. In captivity, they readily accept a variety of foods, and there’s no need to feed live fish. 

A quality cichlid pellet is a great staple that we highly recommend. However, you’ll definitely want to diversify the diet with a variety of foods. 

Adding in some protein-rich snacks like brine shrimp, bloodworms prawns, Mysis shrimp, krill, and lancefish is a great way to provide some additional enrichment if you want to boost your fish’s color. But don’t overdo it.

Don’t forget to also give them vegetables like blanched spinach, zucchini, and cucumber. Cichlids love foraging through things, so adding in some vegetables will definitely be appreciated.

These species are crepuscular by nature, so it is recommended to feed at least once after the main lights are switched off. 

Starry Night Cichlid Tank Mates

Starry Night Cichlid Tank Mates

They are relatively peaceful towards other robust cichlid but are intolerant of their kind, especially in an aquarium that is smaller than 75 gallons. It is best to keep this fish single or as an established bonded pair.

However, unlike Central American cichlids, these fish tend to be difficult to pair up. Males frequently kill females.

If you have a large tank, you can place them with various other Madagascar species. Since they are territorial, they should be kept with only large and similarly aggressive species. 

Depending on your tank size and temperament of the fish, here are some possible Starry Night Cichlid tank mates:


As biparental substrate spawners, Starry Night Cichlids have been bred in captivity for years.

To improve the chance of breeding, it’s best to keep a group of juveniles and allow them to pair off naturally. Of course, this is the most challenging part as males tend to be quite aggressive towards each other and females.

The male is ready to breed at 3 -5 inches. A bonded pair should be kept in a separate breeding tank as they will become highly aggressive and will most likely not tolerate other tank mates during the breeding time.

You will notice an elaborate courtship ritual between the pair, which might even last for days. The male will show intense dark coloration and display unique behavior toward the female. 

After successful mating, they will dig a pit in the substrate where the female may lay up to 1000 eggs. The eggs will be attached by fine filaments, which will form long strings of spawn. These strings make it easier for the female to guard them while the male guards the perimeter of the territory. The strings may coil into a tangled mass when the female fans the eggs.

Depending on temperature and pH, these eggs will hatch in around 48 hours. The fry will be free swimming a week later, and they are easy to raise on newly hatched brine shrimp or commercial foods designed for fry.

Final Thoughts

That’s all about Starry Night Cichlid care. We hope our guide will help you to successfully keep these stunning fish in your aquarium. Starry night cichlids are absolutely breathtaking, but they do require some work to maintain. With the right setup and care, they can be a beautiful addition to any aquarium. 

They are not fussy; However, what you should keep in mind is their territorial nature. Starry Night Cichlids will defend their tank with their life, so it’s important to provide them with plenty of space and appropriate tank mates. 

Thanks for reading, and good luck!

Utaka Cichlids Care 101: Types, Food, Tank Size & More

Utaka Cichlids

With over 1,000 species of cichlid fish living in Lake Malawi, it’s no wonder it is one of the most diverse lakes on earth. Lake Malawi Cichlids are probably the most popular type of fish in an aquarium; They’re known for their vibrant coloration and patterning, variety in body shapes, and a vast range of sizes. 

Utaka cichlids, as one of the residents of Lake Malawi, are not as popular as their neighbors, like the haps and the mbuna, due to their very neutral gray colors. However, many species are relatively more peaceful and spectacularly colorful as compared to the Mbuna in the home aquarium.

Although Utaka cichlids are not the most aggressive African cichlids, they make up for it in terms of free-swimming nature, and it is never an easy task to keep them happy and healthy.

That’s why we put this guide together with all the information and knowledge needed on caring for Utaka cichlids, including their species, food, tank mates, and more!

Species Summary

Copadichromis borleyi - most popular Utaka Cichlids
Most popular Utaka: Copadichromis borleyi

First of all, let’s talk about the name “Utaka”. The name Utaka is taken from one of the local languages spoken around Lake Malawi, referred to as ‘semipelagic’, which means fish that spend part of their life on the bottom and part in the water column above.

There has been some controversy surrounding the Utaka cichlid caused by the historical explanation – they were classified as a species of Haplochromis. You can also find that they are described as “open-water haps endemic to Lake Malawi’ or “non-mbuna species from the Lake Malawi”. 

Well, all of the descriptions are true to an extent, they’re not completely accurate. Scientifically speaking, Utaka is any member of the genera Copadichromis and Mchenga in Lake Malawi. 

Full List of Recognized Utaka Species

Below is the full list of recognized species in those two Lake Malawi cichlid genera.

CopadichromisCopadichromis atripinnis
Copadichromis azureus
Copadichromis borleyi
Copadichromis chizumuluensis
Copadichromis chrysonotus
Copadichromis cyaneus
Copadichromis cyanocephalus
Copadichromis diplostigma
Copadichromis geertsi
Copadichromis ilesi
Copadichromis insularis
Copadichromis jacksoni
Copadichromis likomae
Copadichromis mbenjii
Copadichromis mela
Copadichromis mloto
Copadichromis nkatae
Copadichromis parvus
Copadichromis pleurostigma
Copadichromis pleurostigmoides
Copadichromis quadrimaculatus
Copadichromis trewavasae
Copadichromis trimaculatus
Copadichromis verduyni
Copadichromis virginalis
MchengaMchenga conophoros
Mchenga cyclicos
Mchenga eucinostomus
Mchenga flavimanus
Mchenga inornata
Mchenga thinos

Appearance and Size

Unlike mbuna, the most beautiful, active cichlids from birth in Lake Malawi, the Utaka Cichlids are naturally born plain and grey until they reach adulthood. This evolutionary appearance helps them blend into the surroundings to make them less visible as prey.

You will have to wait for them to mature to see their brilliant colorations. However, there is a big difference between adult females and males — males are usually brighter and more vivid while females remain bland.

Some Utaka Cichlids can get quite large, require a large area of open water, and are not really suitable for aquariums. But a few smaller types have been bred in captivity thanks to their stunning appearance that makes them popular with hobbyists.

Behavior & Temperament

As opposed to the most common Mbuna that dwells among rocks along the lake’s fringes and bottom, the Utaka inhabits open water areas; some species live above sandy shores, like Mchenga conophoros. Most tend to stay within a short distance from the cliffs.

In the open water, they form large schools that can be composed of multiple species and contain thousands or even millions of individual fish.

As mentioned earlier, Utaka cichlids are one of the more peaceful fish, making them an excellent choice for those who do not like aggression issues.

Aquarium Setup

The Utaka is a unique group that has been collected from Lake Malawi since the early 1990s. These fish can live more than 15 years in captivity.

With the water parameters being so flexible, it is easy to mimic the living conditions of other Malawi cichlids.

Water Conditions

The streams and rivers that flow into Lake Malawi are very high in minerals, along with a high rate of evaporation, which has resulted in a high pH, KH, and GH chemistry in the water.

Providing an optimal level of care is always essential. Here are the water parameters to aim for:

  • pH level: 7.7–8.6
  • Temperature: 72 – 82 °F
  • Water hardness: 6 – 10 dGH
  • Ammonia: 0ppm
  • Nitrite: 0ppm
  • Nitrate: <10ppm

Tank Size

When creating a home for Utaka, the size of your aquarium really does matter. A minimum of 100 gallons is suggested, though bigger and is preferred. In addition, the tank should be deep and wide – just like the lake environment, so there is a large area of open water for the fish to swim around.


Generally speaking, aquarium plants do not mix well with Malawi Cichlids due to the high PH level. The Malawi lake has very few plants, a few species found near rivers and swamps. Most Malawi Cichlids are diggers and will occasionally taste plants.

While plants can be used as decoration in Utaka species-only tanks, just make sure they are not in the way of open swimming areas.

Food & Diet

Utaka differs from other cichlids species in Lake Malawi and requires different feeding requirements.

These fish live on a diet of plankton-type food that floats through their watery habitats in the wild. They form a small current and wait for zooplankton to come toward them, and then they can feed without having to work too hard.

In captivity, the base of their diet can be commercial dry food. The key to keeping Utaka cichlids healthy, boosting the growth rate, and making colorations pop is to provide a varied diet with enough nutrients and minerals is necessary. Small crustaceans like Cyclops, or natural foods such as daphnia, brine shrimp, and bloodworms are greatly appreciated.

Utaka Cichlids Tank Mates

Your best bet is to keep the Utaka in a large group of at least six (one male with several females) in a species-specific tank. Many females will form beautiful schools and create quite a sparkle of color in your tank.

See more Types of African Cichlids

In a large species tank, due to their peaceful nature, you can keep them with Mbuna cichlids as long as you choose some of the more docile species.

To avoid crossbreeding, make sure you only mix different Utaka species that look very much alike, or else there’s a high chance you’ll get a bunch of hybrid fish.

You might be


While the fascination with this fish doesn’t stop there, it gets even better when you learn how they breed. All the Utaka are polygamous, maternally mouth breeders.

When the male Utaka is ready to spawn, he will guard or share a breeding territory in the open water while attracting females, depending on the specific species. 

The female will lay 30 to 80 eggs and then pick the eggs up in their mouth, where they are fertilized and hatched. The eggs can take over three weeks to hatch. Meanwhile, the male will stop defending the area and swim around in open water.

The fry has a dark gray body and stays in school to avoid being eaten by all predators, whether large fish or birds.


Utaka cichlids look really amazing and striking when they color up fully while being very peaceful and suited for the Mbuna aquarium.

They are fairly easy-to-care fish and a lot of fun to observe.

We want to make sure that any care guide you find on our site is the best information out there. We’re always open to suggestions, so please let us know if there’s something we can improve!

What Do African Cichlids Eat? (+How Often Should You Feed African Cichlids)


Cichlids are perfect for aquarists because they are hardy and add color to an aquarium. However, just because they are resilient does not mean you can give them just about anything. Like all aquarium fishes, cichlids require a diet specific to their species. 

If you have African cichlids, you might have issues on your hands when you renege on their nutrition. I learned that the hard way the first time I had African cichlids in my tank. I deem it appropriate to share my experiences so you can safely care for your African cichlids. So, what do African cichlids eat?

The information in this article may be the most important you will ever read about these fantastic animals. Let’s get started!

What Do African Cichlids Eat in the Wild?

Photo: Brent M

African cichlids live in Africa’s Great Rift lakes, including Lake Tanganyika, Lake Malawi, and Lake Victoria. Hence, their food comes from whatever these lakes can give.

Depending on the species, African cichlids can eat small shrimp, other invertebrates, insect larvae, tiny snails, small fish, algae, and other plant materials in the wild. African cichlids cannot tolerate fatty foods because their digestive anatomies are not suitable for such macronutrients.  

These have very specialized feeding habits, which is why these creatures can be so different in terms of what they eat.

What Do African Cichlids Eat in Aquariums?

It would be best to feed African cichlids the same food they get in their natural habitat to ensure optimum health. Unfortunately, it is often inconvenient to prepare an African cichlid-specific diet. Hence, most people use commercially available African cichlid foods.

Here is some advice on choosing the right food for your African cichlids.

Consider the Types of Cichlids

Choosing the right food for African cichlids requires determining whether the cichlid is a carnivore, omnivore, or herbivore. 


These African cichlids subsist on animal food sources, such as shrimp pellets and other animal-based cichlid food products. They have been known to attack and prey on other small species, especially their fry.  

Most predatory African cichlids get between 8 and 12 inches (some even can grow over 18 inches), so they need a much larger aquarium of at least 250 gallons. If you wish to make an aggressive and carnivorous African Cichlid tank, cichlids from the Haplochromis group (Hap cichlids) are recommended.

  • Dimidiochromis species
  • Champsochromis species
  • Buccochromis species
  • Stigmatochromis species
  • Tyrannochromis species
  • Mylochromis species
  • Nimbochromis species
  • Cyrtocara moorii
  • Exochromis anagenys


Mbuna species are normally herbivores, thriving on algae and plantsThese herbivorous cichlids are highly specialised scrapers. 

Grazers comb algae using their slender tricuspid teeth, while browsers nibble and nip at filamentous algae with their bicuspid teeth. On the other hand, scrapers rub their chisel-like teeth across rock surfaces to feed on epiphyton. Some herbivorous African cichlids also bite and scoop algae.

High amounts of protein for herbivorous cichlids, such as frozen or live food, or even flake, can be pretty harmful and cause bloating, eventually leading to death. 


The majority of African cichlids eat plant matter, small fish, insect larvae, and small invertebrates, such as brine shrimp and other small crustaceans. 

Your cichlids will be happy with any of these three things. Give them a high-quality flake food or pellet every day, feed live brine shrimp (or frozen) as treats once per week – this is what keeps their immune system strong. 

On the other hand, live guppies would be a good source when they get bigger. To greatly increase their color, foods rich in beta carotene can be helped. 

Pellets or Flakes

Pellets are the go-to of many African cichlid owners. These fish species love to gobble pellets floating on the water’s surface. However, these food items sink to the bottom after some time. That is why some fish keepers prefer tropical flakes because they stay afloat. I also observed that African cichlids are more enthusiastic about eating flakes than pellets.

I recommend Spirulina flakes because they have excellent levels of protein, antioxidants, iron, chromium, and vitamin B12. African cichlids will benefit immensely from these nutrients.

Frozen Food

If you have omnivorous, carnivorous, or piscivorous African cichlids, you might want to add frozen foods to their diets as treats. Excellent choices include black and white mosquito larvae, krill, and brine shrimp. However, I do not recommend giving red mosquito larvae and beef heart or products from other warm-blooded animals to Lake Malawi African cichlids.

Green Veggies and Fruits

People often ask me if they can give their African cichlids green veggies, fruits, and other homemade foods. I always tell them to feed their fish nori, cucumber, peas, broccoli, and lettuce. All of these green veggies are great for mbuna and their health. They can blend or chop these food items finely before freezing them into small pellet-sized cubes.

You can de-shell the peas or boil them for softer ones. I found cucumbers are a great way to keep your cichlids busy and entertained. They are also easy to prepare and store. Cut the cucumber in an inch-long chunk, attached to a flat rock or something heavy to weigh it down. Rember to take any uneaten cucumber out within 1-2 days.

Foods to Avoid Feeding Your African Cichlids

African cichlids are not picky eaters. However, it does not mean you can give them the same food you give to other aquarium fishes. Some food is a big no-no for African cichlids because of their unique digestive tracts.

Compared to South American and Asian cichlids, African cichlids have longer digestive tracts. The extended alimentary tubes can present some health problems to these fish species if we are not cautious about the food we give.

Seasoned aquarists do not recommend giving African cichlids bloodworms. While this meal might seem fine for other cichlid families and fish species, it can be disastrous to African cichlids. As mentioned, African cichlids have extended digestive tracts. Feeding them protein-rich foods can clog their intestines and lead to Malawi bloatThe extra-long intestines are inefficient in breaking down protein.

I once had a blue Nimbochromis polystigma, which my kid inadvertently fed protein-rich bloodworms. Its belly grew larger than usual. Unfortunately, it was too late for me to recognize the signs of bloating. The fish died after 3 days. 

It would also be best to avoid giving African cichlids meat, beef heart, and other food items from warm-blooded animals. These food items have high-fat content with high melting points. Fishes have difficulty mobilizing fat stored in the liver for energy, leading to cirrhosis over time.

However, giving meat to African cichlids as rare snacks should be fine. I always caution beginner African cichlid keepers to observe moderation when giving treats to their aquatic pets. Feeding African cichlids with these food items as treats not more than once a week and in modest amounts should not cause problems for the fish.

How Often Should I Feed My African Cichlids?

how often should you feed african cichlids

I feed my adult African cichlids two to three times every day. Many African cichlid keepers also observe a similar feeding regimen. Newly born African cichlids (or fry) require five to seven feedings daily. It is essential to recognize that young African cichlids need smaller portions than adult species. 

I find feeding my African cichlids helps reduce their aggressive tendencies. They are less territorial and will not likely attack other fish in the tank.

If you have herbivorous African cichlids, it would be best to feed them small portions two to three times a day. I always give my fish sufficient food they can consume in thirty seconds. These fishes have a voracious appetite. They can finish a meal within seconds. I remove any leftover afterward to avoid overfeeding.

Beginner African cichlid owners should know that these fish species love to rest at night. It would take about half an hour for African cichlids to transition from sleepy to active. Hence, I recommend turning on the aquarium tank at least 30 minutes before feeding. Likewise, it would be best to wait half an hour after feeding before turning off the light. 

If you must travel like I sometimes do, you might want to invest in a high-quality automatic fish feeder. This machine dispenses the correct amounts of food to your African cichlids at pre-designated time intervals.

Final Thoughts

African cichlids have unique feeding preferences, habits, and patterns that some beginner aquatics hobbyists find confusing. These fishes eat almost anything in the wild. Keeping them in fish tanks requires a more systematic approach to ensuring their optimum nutrition. 

High-quality African cichlid pellets and flakes are the best food for African cichlids kept in aquariums. Frozen foods, vegetables, and fruits can be healthy treats. It would also be best to avoid fatty animal food products to prevent health problems in African cichlids.

Top 10 Lake Tanganyika Cichlids (With Pictures & Full List)

Lake Tanganyika Cichlid LemonCichlid

Lake Tanganyika is the second deepest lake on Earth and is located in central Africa. Not only is it the backdrop for many stories, but a home to an incredible variety of cichlids that come from a large range of species, sizes, and colors. From the deep green shades to the golden sunset, from the very small (2″) to the very large (15″), there are more than 150 different species of Tanganyika cichlid that have been discovered, and we’re probably still uncovering new ones!

If you’re looking for a fascinating, beautiful fish and comes in an impressive range of colors, then the Lake Tanganyika cichlids are your best option. 

The list below is a great way to see what options are out there for you.

The 10 Most Popular Lake Tanganyika Cichlids

Lemon Cichlid(Neolamprologus leleupi) 

The Lemon Cichlid (Neolamprologus leleupi) is perhaps the best-known cichlid to have ever come from Lake Tanganyika, which owes its popularity because of its most sought-after brilliant yellow/orange coloring. It’s not only a very interesting species due to its peaceful behaviors and characteristics, but it also comes in an impressive range of colors from bright yellow to orange or even dark color variety!

It is a relatively small Tanganyika cichlid in the aquarium trade. Males can grow up to 4 inches (10 cm), while females are slightly smaller at 3 1/2 inches(9 cm) in size! Depending on the location, colorations vary wildly, ranging from bright yellow to deep brown.

This fish is best left in an aquarium with experienced hands. Though it can be cared for by intermediate cichlid lovers, you must provide a properly set up tank and make sure your water parameters stay high quality at all times.

Common Name:Lemon Cichlid, Leleupi, Orange Leleupi Cichlid, Gold Leleupi Cichlid
Scientific Name:Neolamprologus leleupi
Care Level:Intermediate
Lifespan:8 years
Size:3.9 inches 
Minimum Tank Size:20 gal (76 L)
Temperature:74.0 to 79.0° F

Fairy Cichlid (Neolamprologus brichardi)

The Fairy Cichlid is a fascinating fish that was one of the first African Tanganyika cichlids imported for our aquariums. It was originally known as Princess of Burundi, but today you can find many other common names for this fish: Fairy Cichlid or Brichardi Cichlid.

The Fairy Cichlid has an elongated body and continuous dorsal fin. They also have lyre-shaped tail fins, long flowing filaments on all unpaired fins that can grow up to 6 inches(15 cm) in length.

These fish are known for their elegant appearance and enjoy living in groups. They make an ideal addition to any aquarium, even if you’re just starting out!

Common Name:Fairy Cichlid, Brichardi Cichlid, Lyretail Cichlid, Princess of Burundi
Scientific Name:Neolamprologus brichardi
Care Level:Beginner
Lifespan:8 to 10 years
Size:5.1 inches
Minimum Tank Size:15 gal (57 L)
Temperature:72.0 to 77.0° F

Daffodil Cichlid(Neolamprologus pulcher)

The Daffodil Cichlid is a fun Tanganyika fish species to own. It is one of the most vibrantly colored cichlids in the African rift, has a light-colored tan body coloration with hints of yellow and bluish spots. The bright and icy blue eye is surrounded by a yellowish ring, while its fins are tipped with an icy blue.

Like the Fairy Cichlids, they can grow up to 6 inches (15 cm) in length with proper care. They are schooling fish that pairs off to breed, so they’re best kept in groups. They generally stay peaceful and non-aggressive with their own kind.

In captivity, they prefer similar living conditions. They have a wide range of environmental preferences, can tolerate some fluctuations without any issues. Easy to care for, a good choice for both beginners and advanced fishkeepers.

Common Name:Daffodil Cichlid, Daffodil Princess Cichlid, Daffodil II, Princess of Zambia
Scientific Name:Neolamprologus pulcher
Care Level:Beginner
Lifespan:8 to 10 years
Size:5.1 inches
Minimum Tank Size:15 gal (57 L)
Temperature:72.0 to 77.0° F

Calvus Cichlid (Altolamprologus calvus)

Photo: northfish_biotope

As known as White Pearly Calvus, with its pear-shaped body and compressed body coloration, the Calvus Cichlid is a unique cichlid. It belongs to the Altolamprologus genus, which has three identified species and a number of variants. These fish are cave spawners, but sometimes they’ll spawn in shells.

Calvus Cichlids have a steep forehead and high back. They’re able to root out prey from rocks or crevices with their laterally compressed body, making them one of the most efficient fish for hunting food in hard-toed environments.

They are relatively peaceful fish that can be kept with other Tanganyika cichlids of similar size. However, they’re best kept in a species tank if you want to breed them. They can live with peaceful cichlids of a different genus. Be aware that some breeds can’t stand the peace. Do not keep them with Mbuna Cichlids or species from the Tropheus and Petrochromis genera, as these types usually get territorial.

Common Name:White Pearly Calvus, Calvus Cichlid, Black Calvus, White Calvus, White Chaitika
Scientific Name:Altolamprologus calvus
Care Level:Intermediate
Lifespan:8 to 10 years
Size:5.9 inches
Minimum Tank Size:40 gal (151 L)
Temperature:73.0 to 77.0° F

Frontosa Cichlid(Cyphotilapia frontosa)

Photo: niclasaquariumworld

Next up, we have the Frontosa Cichlid. Also known as Humphead cichlid, this fish is a majestic presence in any aquarium. A mature Frontosa Cichlid can reach up to 14 inches (35 cm) or more. With its large size, rich, bold patterns, and compressed body shape, it was immediately considered one of the top picks of Tanganyika cichlids breeders.

Both males and females have the same attractive coloration, but only adults develop a cranial hump on its head. Juveniles do not display this trait because it takes time for them to grow up enough.

Make no mistake, Frontosa Cichlids are stealthy predators that will snatch up any small fish they can find. They are not very aggressive, but the males can be territorial. Gregarious and not keen on being alone, groups of one male with three or more females can live together in a group.

Common Name:Frontosa Cichlid, Humphead Cichlid
Scientific Name:Cyphotilapia frontosa
Care Level:Intermediate
Lifespan:8 to 10 years
Size:13.8 inches
Minimum Tank Size:70 gal (265 L)
Temperature:74.0 to 79.0° F

Duboisi Cichlid (Tropheus duboisi)

Photo: Niclas Klaesson

The Duboisi Cichlid (Tropheus duboisi)  is a fascinating fish to watch grow up because of its amazing color transformation. It starts its life as a drab gray fish but slowly acquires more and more colorful markings as it matures.

The sex of the White Spotted Cichlid is a challenge to determine. Growth rate and body shape can be slightly different between males and females, but they don’t tell the whole story. The most reliable way is by examining its genital papillae. The males have pointy genital, while females are rounded out in shape!

The Tropheus duboisi is one of the most aggressive Tanganyika cichlids. It’s best to keep them in a species-specific in a group of at least 12 or more, with a single male in the group. You need a larger tank if you want to put two males in a group of 15 to 20.

Common Name:White Spotted Cichlid, Duboisi Cichlid, Blue-Faced Duboisi Cichlid
Scientific Name:Tropheus duboisi
Care Level:Advanced
Lifespan:5 – 8 years
Size:4.8 inches
Minimum Tank Size:75 gal (284 L)
Temperature:73.0 to 81.0° F

Sardine Cichlid(Cyprichromis leptosoma)

The Sardine Cichlid (Cyprichromis leptosoma) is a great addition to any Lake Tanganyika tank. Unlike most other cichlids that have an appearance of being deep-bodied and robust looking – this fish in the Cyprichromis genus has the opposite; its long slender body makes them look like they’re riding on top water.

The body coloration of a male Sardine Cichlid ranges from lavender to blue; females come with a beige body with some yellow in their fins. The colors of these creatures vary depending on where they are found.

Sardine Cichlid is easy to care for and also fairly peaceful. They can be kept with other Tanganyika cichlids of similar size but should not be housed with aggressive fish. If you’re looking for a relatively undemanding Lake Tanganyika Cichlid that adds a lot of colors, we recommend giving these fish a shot.

Common Name:Slender Cichlid, Blue Flash, Slender Cyp, Neonback, Lepto Cichlid
Scientific Name:Cyprichromis leptosoma
Care Level:Beginner
Lifespan:8 years
Size:4.3 inches
Minimum Tank Size:55 gal (208 L)
Temperature:73.0 to 77.0° F

Blue Neon Cichlid(Paracyprichromis nigripinnis)

Photo: David Nørholm

With a gentle nature and vibrant color, the Blue Neon Cichlids are absolute stunners! These eye-catching fish is covered in several bright colors neon striping that look great against on a creamy body.

The Blue Neon Cichlids have a very similar body shape to their close relatives Sardine Cichlid, but they belong to the Paracyprichromis genus, which has a totally different nature, including a milder temperament and smaller body size. The male Blue Neon Cichlids can grow to about 4 inches in length, while females are a bit smaller at just over 3 inches.

Although it is a more peaceful Lake Tanganyika cichlid, this species can be a big challenge to care for by beginners as they tend to be stressed out and fade in color when kept with other boisterous fish.

Common Name:Blue Neon Cichlid, Neon Cichlid, Neon Blue, Herring Cichlid
Scientific Name:Paracyprichromis nigripinnis
Care Level:Intermediate
Lifespan:5 – 8 years 
Size:4.3 inches
Minimum Tank Size:65 gal (246 L)
Temperature:77.0 to 81.0° F

Blue Goby Cichlid(Spathodus erythrodon)

The Blue Goby Cichlid is a beautiful species with bright coloration. With brownish gray scales and rows of spots decked out to help it blend in with the surroundings. It’s also known as Blue Lips Goby Cichlid. As its name would imply, the blue lips make quite a splash in your cichlid aquarium.

But that’s not what makes the fish special. They’re colorful with personalities to match! These cichlid’s favorite pastimes is jumping around and playing hide-and-seek game in the aquarium.

When it comes to caring, the Blue Goby Cichlids are easy to moderate to care for because they are sensitive and picky about their environment. This species prefers to stay at the top of the water column, and they can get along with other goby cichlids.

Common Name:Blue Goby Cichlid, Blue-Spotted Goby Cichlid, Blue Lips Goby Cichlid
Scientific Name:Spathodus erythrodon
Care Level:Intermediate
Lifespan:3 – 5 years
Size:3.0 inches
Minimum Tank Size:30 gal (114 L)
Temperature:75.0 to 81.0° F

Blunthead Cichlid (Tropheus moorii)

Here’s another unique type of Tanganyika Tropheus Cichlids. It has been reported that the Blunthead Cichlid contains around 50 different color morphs, it is a true champion of variety. Revered for their bright color varieties, the Blunthead Cichlid can’t be missed.

These stocky fish have a larger head, under-slung mouth, fan-shaped caudal fin, and the body narrows towards the caudal peduncle. The back parts of the dorsal, fins and other important places are covered in spiny rays to keep predators at bay.

The Blunthead Cichlids can reach up to 6 inches in length. Like many other Cichlid species, Blunthead Cichlids are quite aggressive fish. They are generally kept in groups, females will help dilute the male’s aggressiveness. Their highly aggressive nature and are susceptibility to “bloat” make them a bit difficult to keep.

Common Name:Blunthead Cichlid, Blunt-Headed Cichlid, Moorii, Brabant Cichlid
Scientific Name:Tropheus moorii
Care Level:Advanced
Lifespan:5 – 8 years
Size:5.8 inches
Minimum Tank Size:75 gal (284 L)
Temperature:76.0 to 82.0° F

Complete List of Lake Tanganyika Cichlid Species

AltolamprologusAltolamprologus calvus
Altolamprologus compressiceps
Altolamprologus sp. “Compressiceps Shell”
Altolamprologus fasciatus
AulonocranusAulonocranus dewindti
BaileychromisBaileychromis centropomoides
BathybatesBathybates fasciatus
Bathybates ferox
Bathybates graueri
Bathybates horni
Bathybates leo
Bathybates minor
Bathybates vittatus
BenthochromisBenthochromis melanoides
Benthochromis tricoti
BoulengerochromisBoulengerochromis microlepis
CallochromisCallochromis macrops
Callochromis melanogostigma
Callochromis pleurospilus
Callochromis stappersii
CariapharynxCariapharynx schoutedeni
ChalinochromisChalinochromis brichardi
Chalinochromis popelini
Chalinochromis sp. “Bifrenatus”
Chalinochromis sp. “Ndobhoi”
CtenochromisCtenochromis benthicola
Ctenochromis horii
CunningtoniaCunningtonia longiventralis
CyathopharynxCyathopharynx foai
Cyathopharynx furcifer
Cyathopharynx cf. furcifer
CyphotilapiaCyphotilapia frontosa
Cyphotilapia gibberosa
Cyphotilapia sp. “North”
CyprichromisCyprichromis leptosoma
Cyprichromis leptosoma sp. “Leptasoma Goldfin”
Cyprichromis leptosoma sp. “Leptasoma Jumbo”
Cyprichromis leptosoma sp. “Leptasoma Kibige”
Cyprichromis microlepidotus
Cyprichromis pavo
Cyprichromis zonatus
EctodusEctodus descampsi
Ectodus descampsi sp. “Descampsi North”
EnantiopusEnantiopus melanogenys
Enantiopus sp. “Kilesa”
EretmodusEretmodus cyanostictus
Eretmodus sp. “Cyanostictus North”
GnathochromisGnathochromis permaxillaris
Gnathochromis pfefferi
GrammatotriaGrammatotria lemairii
GreenwoodochromisGreenwoodochromis bellcrossi
Greenwoodochromis christyi
HaplotaxodonHaplotaxodon microlepsis
Haplotaxodon trifasciatus
HemibatesHemibates stenosoma
InterchromisInterchromis loocki
JulidochromisJulidochromis dickfeldi
Julidochromis marlieri
Julidochromis ornatus
Julidochromis regani
Julidochromis sp. “Chisanza Marmelade”
Julidochromis sp. “Congo”
Julidochromis sp. “Kissi”
Julidochromis sp. aff. “Ornatus Kasenga”
Julidochromis transcriptus
‘Lamprologus’‘Lamprologus’ brevis
‘Lamprologus’ callipterus
‘Lamprologus’ calliurus
‘Lamprologus’ caudopuntatus
‘Lamprologus’ sp. “Caudopuntatus Kipili”
‘Lamprologus’ finalimus
‘Lamprologus’ multifasciatus
‘Lamprologus’ ocellatus
‘Lamprologus’ ornatipinnis
‘Lamprologus’ sp. aff. “Ornatipinnis Tembwe II”
‘Lamprologus’ sp. “Ornatipinnis Zambia”
‘Lamprologus’ sp. “Shell Zambia”
‘Lamprologus’ similis
‘Lamprologus’ speciosus
‘Lamprologus’ stappersi
‘Lamprologus’ wauthioni
LepidiolamprologusLepidiolamprologus attenuatus
Lepidiolamprologus boulengeri
Lepidiolamprologus sp. aff. “Boulengeri”
Lepidiolamprologus elongatus
Lepidiolamprologus hecqui
Lepidiolamprologus sp. “Hecqui Boulengeri Complex”
Lepidiolamprologus kendalli
Lepidiolamprologus lemairii
Lepidiolamprologus meeli
Lepidiolamprologus sp. “Meeli”
Lepidiolamprologus pleuromaculatus
Lepidiolamprologus profundicola
Lepidiolamprologus sp. “Profundicola”
LestradeaLestradea perspicax
LimnochromisLimnochromis abeelei
Limnochromis auritus
Limnochromis staneri
LimnotilpiaLimnotilapia dardenni
LobochilotesLobochilotes labiatus
MicrodontochromisMicrodontochromis rotundiventralis
Microdontochromis tenuidentatus
NeolamprologusNeolamprologus bifasciatus
Neolamprologus brichardi
Neolamprologus cf. brichardi
Neolamprologus buescheri
Neolamprologus christyi
Neolamprologus crassus
Neolamprologus cunningtonia
Neolamprologus cylindricus
Neolamprologus sp. “Eseki”
Neolamprologus falcicula
Neolamprologus furcifer
Neolamprologus gracilis
Neolamprologus kungweensis
Neolamprologus laparogramma
Neolamprologus leleupi
Neolamprologus cf. leleupi
Neolamprologus longicaudatus
Neolamprologus marunguensis
Neolamprologus modestus
Neolamprologus mondabu
Neolamprologus mustax
Neolamprologus niger
Neolamprologus nigriventris
Neolamprologus obscurus
Neolamprologus pectoralis
Neolamprologus petricola
Neolamprologus prochilus
Neolamprologus pulcher
Neolamprologus savoryi
Neolamprologus schreyeni
Neolamprologus sexfasciatus
Neolamprologus signatus
Neolamprologus splendens
Neolamprologus cf. splendens
Neolamprologus tetracanthus
Neolamprologus toae
Neolamprologus tretocephalus
Neolamprologus variostigma
Neolamprologus sp. aff. “Variostigma”
Neolamprologus ventralis
OphtalmotilapiaOphthalmotilapia boops
Ophthalmotilapia heterodonta
Ophthalmotilapia nasuta
Ophthalmotilapia ventralis
OreochromisOreochromis tanganicae
ParacyprichromisParacyprichromis brieni
Paracyprichromis nigripinnis
Paracyprichromis sp. aff. “Nigripinnis”
PerissodusPerissodus eccentricus
Perissodus microlepis
PetrochromisPetrochromis ephippium
Petrochromis sp. “Ephippium”
Petrochromis famula
Petrochromis fasciolatus
Petrochromis sp. “Kipili Brown”
Petrochromis macrognathus
Petrochromis sp. “Macrognathus”
Petrochromis orthognathus
Petrochromis sp. “Orthognathus”
Petrochromis polyodon
Petrochromis sp. “Polyodon”
Petrochromis sp. “Red”
Petrochromis trewavasae
Petrochromis sp. “Yellow”
PlecodusPlecodus elaviae
Plecodus multidentatus
Plecodus paradoxus
Plecodus straeleni
PseudosimochromisPseudosimochromis curvifrons
ReganochromisReganochromis calliurus
SimochromisSimochromis babaulti
Simochromis diagramma
Simochromis loocki
Simochromis margaretae
Simochromis marginatus
SpathodusSpathodus erythrodon
Spathodus marlieri
TangachromisTangachromis dhanisi
TanganicodusTanganicodus irsacae
TelmatochromisTelmatochromis bifrenatus
Telmatochromis sp. aff. “Bifrenatus”
Telmatochromis brachygnathus
Telmatochromis brichardi
Telmatochromis burgeoni
Telmatochromis dhonti
Telmatochromis sp. “Schachbrett”
Telmatochromis temporalis
Telmatochromis sp. “Temporalis Shell”
Telmatochromis vittatus
Telmatochromis sp. aff. “Vittatus”
TrematocaraTrematocara caparti
Trematocara kufferathi
Trematocara macrostoma
Trematocara marginatum
Trematocara nigrifrons
Trematocara stigmaticum
Trematocara unimaculatum
Trematocara variabile
Trematocara zebra
TrematochromisTrematochromis schreyeni
TriglachromisTriglachromis otostigma
TropheusTropheus annectens
Tropheus sp. “Black”
Tropheus brichardi
Tropheus duboisi
Tropheus sp. “Ikola”
Tropheus moorii
Tropheus sp. “Mpimbwe”
Tropheus sp. “Red”
TylochromisTylochromis polylepis
VariabilichromisVariabilichromis moori
XenochromisXenochromis hecqui
XenotilapiaXenotilapia bathyphila
Xenotilapia boulengeri
Xenotilapia burtoni
Xenotilapia caudifasciata
Xenotilapia flavipinnis
Xenotilapia sp. “Fluorescent Green”
Xenotilapia leptura
Xenotilapia longispinis
Xenotilapia nasus
Xenotilapia nigrolabiata
Xenotilapia ochrogenys
Xenotilapia sp. “Ochrogenys Ndole”
Xenotilapia ornatipinnis
Xenotilapia papilio
Xenotilapia sp. aff. “Papilio Katete”
Xenotilapia sp. aff. “Papilio Sunflower”
Xenotilapia sp. “Red Princess”
Xenotilapia rotundiventralis
Xenotilapia sima
Xenotilapia spiloptera
Xenotilapia tenuidentatus


From Tanganyika Tropheus Cichlids to Tanganyika Goby Cichlids, there’s a wide variety of cichlids to choose from when stocking your Tanganyika aquarium. With such beautiful and unique fish, it’s easy to see why aquarists are drawn to the Lake Tanganyika ecosystem.

We hope this list helps you find the perfect Lake Tanganyika Cichlid for your aquarium. If you have any questions about the guide or anything related to it, feel free to message us directly. We’re always eager for feedback from our readers!

Yellow Tail Acei Cichlid 101: Care, Size, Tank Mates, Breeding


The Acei Cichlid (Pseudotropheus Acei) is a small, herbivorous fish species with vivid yellow fins with a blue body. It’s also known as the yellow tail acei. 

While smaller fish are common in the fish-keeping community, but don’t let the size fool you. As a member of Mbuna cichlids, this fish species can be quite aggressive and territorial when fully grown, whether with their own species or other tank mates. However, they are generally docile as young fish and will not disrupt your tank. 

If you are thinking about bringing Acei Cichlid to your home, there are a few things to know about them first. So, sit back and enjoy our guide. 

Species Profile

Yellow Tail Acei Cichlid Care
Photo: Rick Nettles

The origin of Acei Cichlid is from the Northwestern coast of Lake Malawi in Zambia, Africa. 

Although this species has been known for many years, scientists or collectors have not formally described it. 

The Pseudotropheus sp. “acei” comes in two different varieties: yellow-tailed “acei” (Msuli) and white-tailed “acei” (Ngara); the former is the most common type. 

They are relatively innocuous, amicable, and good-natured when young. However, they tend to get into mock fights every once in a while – but this is nothing to worry about. 

Although small in size, these fish can get territorial and bite their tank mates if they are provoked; placing them with compatible fish species is essential. 

Origin:Africa – Lake Malawi
Scientific Name:Pseudotropheus sp. “acei”
Max Size:6″
Minimum Tank Size:55 gallons
Temperature:76-82° F
Diseases:Malawi bloat
Care level:Easy

Average Acei Cichlid Size

The average size of a full-grown Acei Cichlid is around 4 to 7 inches. As we mentioned above, the male species are generally larger and more dominant than the females. Adult male Acei Cichlid can grow up to 7 inches long, while females are around 4 inches. However, their average size is approximately 4.5 inches. 


The average lifespan of an Acei Cichlid is around 8 years. However, many tank owners observe that these fishes can live for a few more years if they are taken care of and maintained properly. Since this species is herbivorous, you must keep them on a healthy diet to thrive in the tank. 

Anatomy & Popular Colors

The Acei Cichlid is by far one of the gorgeous cichlid species you can introduce to your tank. Its natural blue shade and vivid yellow fins form a stunning contrast against each other. Since you can generally see them swimming around plants and on submerged rocks in the tank, their gorgeous color looks even more vivid and beautiful. 

Furthermore, upon looking closely, you will also find hues of purple on their bodies. This is more prominent when light directly falls on the surface of their bodies at certain angles. They also have black eyes and soft white lines on their fins.

Male vs. Female Acei Cichlid: How To Sex?

If you are wondering about the sex of the male and female Acei Cichlid, don’t worry. It can be quite interesting to try and tell them apart, especially since both genders look so similar to each other. 

As mentioned early, the male Acei Cichlid is generally larger than the female. They are also more aggressive than their female counterparts. 

It may be surprising to know that both male and female members have dummy eggs on their ventral fins. What’s more surprising is that the dummy eggs on the male fins are larger than those on the female.

Acei Cichlid Care & Tank Setup

yong pseudotropheus acei
Photo: akwarium

It is best to try and recreate the natural habitat of Acei Cichlid for them to thrive without any challenges. Fill the tank with submerged rocks piled high up (almost to the surface of the water). These fish species generally like to live on the upper parts of the aquarium but will use the lower, cave-like parts of the rocks to hide.

You can also place a light layer of sand at the bottom of the tank and add a few pieces of Bogwood, as this will replicate their natural habitat. 

Water Conditions

When introducing this fish species to your tank, you should try and recreate the environment of their natural habitat as much as possible for them to be comfortable. 

If you want to keep several males, try to create open spaces and territorial borders with decorations.

Though it is often recommended that you use a substrate of Aragonite or sand to help keep the water hard and alkaline, Cynotilapia afra feels safer and shows better over dark-colored bottoms.

  • pH level: 7.7–8.6
  • Temperature: 73.0 to 82.0° F (22.8 to 27.8° C)
  • Water hardness: 6 – 10 dGH
  • Ammonia: 0ppm
  • Nitrite: 0ppm
  • Nitrate: <10ppm

Tank Size

Although small, this fish species needs a lot of room in a tank. They do best in a tank size of 75 gallons or more; however, you can keep them in smaller tanks as long as there are moderate amounts of water flow and vegetation. Plus, provide them with enough hiding spots, rocks, and substrate to ensure a long and healthy life.


One of the most common diseases that this species suffers is the Malawi Bloat, where the fish experience a lack of appetite. However, the causes for this disease remain somewhat vague and unknown. 

Diet & Food

Since they are herbivores, the best diet for Acei Cichlid is algae wafers, fish flakes, and brine shrimp. They can also be seen grazing on plants and other vegetation if it is present in the tank. 

Acei Cichlid Tank Mates

In terms of compatibility, the best tank mates for Acei Cichlid include Electric Yellow Cichlid and other species of Cichlids. However, they tend to get bullied when placed with larger species of Cichlids. 


This fish species is an ovophile, which means that they are mouth breeders. It is best to keep one male member with three females. The female will spawn on flat surfaces like rocks. Moreover, the females will incubate and hatch eggs in her buccal pouch, carrying them for about 25 days. 

Final Thoughts

If you plan on breeding Acei Cichlid, ensure that you feed them well and keep them in a proper environment. This fish species have long intestines and do not eat much, but you need to keep a keen eye on their appetites to ensure they do not have Malawi Bloat. 

Best of luck! 

Bumblebee Cichlid 101: Care, Size, Tank Mates, Breeding

bumblebee cichlid

The Bumblebee Cichlid (Pseudotropheus crabro) is one of the most attractive freshwater fish species, aptly named after its beautiful black and yellow striped appearance.  

For cichlid keepers, keeping these fish can be quite a challenging task. They can often act aggressively towards other fish and even members of the same species. That is why you need to learn all about their behavior before getting one home. 

On that note, this guide will provide you with plenty of information about taking care of a bumblebee cichlid. So, read on to learn more. 

Species Summary

hornet cichlid Care
Photo: Gayan De Silva

The Bumblebee cichlid, also known as the Hornet cichlid or the Bumblebee Mouthbrooder, is a freshwater fish species native to South Africa and commonly found around Lake Malawi. Its scientific name, Pseudotropheus Crabo, is derived from the European Hornet’s name, Vespa Crabo, as both fish species have large-sized bodies and similar patterns. 

This fish species is a member of a group of cichlids known as Mbuna, which consists of several species of cave-dwelling fish with very aggressive personalities. Another name for this species is the Pseudotropheus Chameleon since it can change its color depending upon its mood. 

Origin:South Africa
Common name:Bumblebee Cichlid, Hornet Cichlid
Scientific Name:Pseudotropheus crabro
Size:5.9 inches
Minimum Tank Size:50 gal
Temperature:78.0 to 82.0° F
Diseases: Malawi bloat
Care level:Intermediate

Social Behaviors

The Bumblebee Cichlid has a symbiotic relationship with the Kampango (Bagrus meridionalis), a large cave-dwelling catfish. Its brightly-colored appearance helps the cichlid get close to the catfish and pick the parasites from the latter’s body. However, during the spawning period of the Kampago’s eggs, these cichlids adopt a darker color, becoming almost black so that they can feed on the eggs.

Bumblebee cichlids can be housed in a species tank in a group of one male to six or more females for breeding purposes. It is best not to include more than one male in a fish tank as the males are overly aggressive. Having more than a single male will often lead to confrontation, and the dominant male will always kill his rivals. 

Are Bumblebee Cichlids Aggressive? 

In terms of compatibility with other species, the Bumblebee cichlid should not be placed in an aquarium that houses other fish species due to its aggressive nature. That is why community fish tanks are not suitable for this fish species.

That said, these cichlids will inevitably gain dominance over other species. However, it does well with other cichlids, even with those that have a similar temperament. Females also require protective hiding spots as the males can often harass them to death. 

Appearance (Popular Colors)

Photo: Brent M

The Bumblebee cichlid is an attractive fish species that intermediate and experienced cichlid-keepers can bring home. It has a robust body shape, and the adults have a yellow to orange-yellow color with black or blue stripes.

The females are gold with dark brown vertical stripes, while adult males have an almost black body with vertical blue bars or stripes. Interestingly, both the males and females can change color as required. The fry is brightly colored, and the color-changing ability comes with maturity.

Bumblebee African Cichlid Male vs. Female

The males of this species have more significant markings than the females and can also adopt the colors of the females. They also have two to four egg spots, while females have a rounded anal fin with one or two egg spots.

Distinguishing the male from the female, especially when the male mimics females, is not easy. On that note, only those with experience can spot which one in the group is a male.

How Big Do Bumblebee Catfish Get?

full grown Bumblebee cichlid has an average size of about four inches, but males can also reach up to six inches. The females are a bit smaller, maxing out at around five inches. 

How Long Do Bumblebee Cichlids Live?

Bumblebee Cichlids have a lifespan of about ten years, which makes them a good option for cichlid-keepers. However, this also depends upon several factors, such as the environment, food quality, and so on. 

Bumblebee Cichlid Care And Tank Setup

Like any other fish species, the Bumblebee cichlid requires proper care to thrive. Some key factors to keep in mind include:

Water Conditions

The Bumblebee cichlid does fine in freshwater and brackish water but requires good water movement and efficient filtration as they tend to get messy.

If you want to keep several males, try to create open spaces and territorial borders with decorations.

Though it is often recommended that you use a substrate of Aragonite or sand to help keep the water hard and alkaline, Cynotilapia afra feels safer and shows better over dark-colored bottoms.

  • pH level: 7.7–8.6
  • Temperature: 73.0 to 82.0° F (22.8 to 27.8° C)
  • Water hardness: 6 – 10 dGH
  • Ammonia: 0ppm
  • Nitrite: 0ppm
  • Nitrate: <10ppm

Tank Size

The size of the tank depends upon the number of fish you intend to keep. For a single fish, a 50-gallon tank is adequate. However, if you want to keep more, get a tank that can hold at least 100 gallons of water.


The most prevalent disease among Bumblebee Cichlids is the Malawi Bloat, which occurs if they do not get good-quality food. Poor quality and stale water without proper oxygenation can also lead to common diseases. Ich is one such problem that can result in albino fish, but it can be cured with copper-based medications. 

Tank Mates

Being an aggressive species, the Bumblebee Cichlid should not be kept with other fish species. That said, you can keep them with other aggressive cichlids or mixed Mbuna fishes. 

What Do Bumblebee Cichlids Eat?

Bumblebee Cichlids are omnivores that can survive on almost anything that is available. However, they prefer fish eggs, larvae, and parasites. In the home aquarium, they can be fed flakes, pellets, spirulina, and prepared cichlid food.

Bumblebee Cichlid Breeding

The Bumblebee Cichlid is a mouthbrooder that can be bred in captivity and requires a “harem.” In other words, there should be only one male for every five to six females in a tank. Also, after hatching, it is essential to remove sub-dominant males as the dominant male tends to kill them. 

Final Thoughts

Bumblebee Cichlids are not very difficult to care for; all you need to do is ensure good quality nutrition and a clean environment. Additionally, don’t forget that this fish species is aggressive, so picking suitable tank mates is of utmost importance. 

With these things in mind, you can take care of your bumblebee cichlids with ease. And if in doubt, don’t hesitate to go through our care guide once more. 

Yellow Lab Cichlid 101: Care, Size, Tank Mates, Breeding


Scientifically known by the name Labidochromis caeruleus, yellow lab cichlid (also known as ) is among the most famous aquatic cichlid of Africa.

Owing to its beautiful and eye-catching colors, the species is much desired by modern-day aquarists. The brightness yellow labs have many names, include Yellow Labido, Electric Yellow Cichlid, Lemon drop Cichlid, Blue Streak Hap as well as Yellow Prince. People prefer keeping the commonly available yellow variety. However, blue and white variants are equally popular among hobbyists. 

Keep reading to find out more about yellow lab cichlid!

Species Summary

The species is endemic to the western coast of Lake Malawi shoreline in Africa. It requires a substrate of gravel, sand mixture, and moderate lighting for living. Being semi-aggressive in nature, this fish likes living alone. 

Origin: Africa
Scientific Name:Labidochromis caeruleus
Size:3.2 inches (8.10 cm)
Minimum Tank Size:30 gal
Temperature:75.0 to 79.0° F (23.9 to 26.1° C)
Temperament: Semi-aggressive
Care level: Beginner
Tank mates:Placid species of mbuna and even Malawi cichlids

Average Yellow Lab Cichlid Size

An average yellow cichlid has an elongated and stocky body that is slightly longer than three inches in its natural habitat. In an aquarium, it grows to a length of four inches as all the nutrients necessary for growth are available. 


If looked after well, the little yellow fish can stay around for more than a decade. In normal circumstances, the average lifespan is at least six years, so you need not worry about flushing your pet down the toilet any time soon. 

Appearance & Popular Colors

Although the species is called yellow cichlid, it is still found in over a dozen color variants based on their place of origin. Typically, it has an electric yellow body with a single black stripe on its dorsal and anal fins. However, don’t go looking for this stripe as it doesn’t become visible until the fish completely matures. It appears only when the fish is full-grown. 

Other than that, the common coloration of the body is white, again embellished with the signature vivid black stripe. Some other varieties can be observed in yellow with white belly or blue dorsal fin. 

Furthermore, it is perfect for budding aquarists because of its low maintenance and ease of breeding.

Male Vs. Female Yellow Lab Cichlid: How To Sex?

The primary difference between the two sexes of yellow lab cichlid is that the male is bigger than its female counterpart. Even though both are vibrantly colored, the dominant males have a more prominent coloration to the point that they appear almost golden yellow. 

All fish of this species have black stripes, as we already discussed, but male cichlids possess entirely black anal and ventral fins with a pale egg spot on each. These dark fins have light gray stripes that run vertically. 

Female dorsal fins, on the other hand, are pale yellow with no faint spot for egg reception. 

Electric Yellow Cichlid Care & Tank Setup

This species is considered to be one of the most peaceful and small types of Mbuna. It is majorly solitary and prefers living alone, or in pairs, so you should set up your tank accordingly.

An over-mixed environment where the females can dodge interaction with males is usually the best choice. Similarly, males should have the freedom to avoid other aggressive males. 

To give your cichlids the best home, make a huge stony structure with abundant hiding holes and caves with a few stones placed to break the line of sight. 

Water Conditions

Moving on, it is extremely important to maintain top-notch water quality as it directly influences the lifespan of any fish species. Unlike others, this one loves changes in its water or external environment. 

Install an external canister filter for the filtration of water, and keep the settings in a hefty mode. Fluidized and trickle sand filters are known to be the best for nitrification and some extra aeration. 

If you want to keep several males, try to create open spaces and territorial borders with decorations.

Though it is often recommended that you use a substrate of Aragonite or sand to help keep the water hard and alkaline, Cynotilapia afra feels safer and shows better over dark-colored bottoms.

  • pH level: 7.7–8.6
  • Temperature: 73.0 to 82.0° F (22.8 to 27.8° C)
  • Water hardness: 6 – 10 dGH
  • Ammonia: 0ppm
  • Nitrite: 0ppm
  • Nitrate: <10ppm

Moreover, the species will deteriorate if tank conditions are poor for long; that’s why do change 10 to 20 percent of the water every week. You can go beyond this, depending on the severity of your bioload. A neutral pH level of 8 is usually the best but slightly alkaline is also tolerable. 

Tank Size

Yellow lab cichlids can be kept in a 30-gallon aquarium, though 50 gallons is recommended for maximum comfort. It doesn’t really matter whether the water is fresh or brackish; just ensure that there’s a good water flow with efficient and strong filtration. 


All African cichlids are quite prone to the affliction of Malawi bloat due to their herbivore dietary habits. But yellow lab cichlids are strong, immune, and less likely to be affected by this disease. 

However, if water is old with poor oxygenation, they become susceptible to the ich disease. You can treat it by elevating the tank temperature to 84-86 degrees Fahrenheit for three days. If that doesn’t work, then you’ll have to treat your fish with copper-based medicines. 

Diet & Food

Although the species is primarily carnivorous in the wild, it can take a plant-based diet as well. Therefore, these creatures are omnivorous, needing special attention for herbivore portions of diet.

They eat raw proteins, such as bloodworms and brine shrimp, as well as high-quality food like pellets, flakes, frozen, and dried foods. 

Yellow Lab Cichlid Tankmates

The species cannot be called a community-building fish, although it is relatively peaceful. It is adaptable and versatile, willing to live alone or in a pair. 


This species forms matriarchal communities and is an oviparous mouthbrooder. The fish reproduces by laying eggs; hence is considered one of the easiest species to breed. You’ll be best off obtaining five to six young fry and raising them simultaneously. 

Furthermore, before finding a partner, the males clear their territories on a substrate and defend them. Compatibility is extremely important for this fish since it predominantly prefers living alone. 

Final Thoughts 

This interesting little species is beautiful to look at and easy to maintain at the same time. If you are a budding aquarist and a lover of the color yellow, we recommend giving it a shot.

Majorly peaceful with a semi-aggressive nature, yellow cichlids may prove to be a delightful addition to your fish tank. 

Red Terror Cichlid Care 101: Size, Tank Mates, Food & More

Red Terror Cichlid

Introducing a red terror cichlid can wreak havoc in an otherwise peaceful tank. 

As the name suggests, this terrifying and aggressive breed is known to be an invasive fish that will attack its tankmates and proceed to eat them for lunch. But despite their villainous reputation, red terror cichlids are popular pets that bring life and color to an aquarium. 

Indeed, this exotic breed can be a beautiful addition to your household. What’s more, these fish have a fascinating personality and a long past which spans millions of years. But first, let’s get into the basics. 

Red Terror Cichlid Profile

Female Mesoheros Festae
Photo: kooky_cichlids

Red terror cichlids are large species of fish with broad bodies when viewed from the top. Although known as red terror cichlids, only the adult females sport a flaming-red hue. 

However, young male and female red terrors appear identical during the first year of their life-cycle. Once they reach maturity, their sexual dysmorphia becomes more prominent, and fishkeepers can easily differentiate the two based on their colors. What’s more, male red terrors are heftier than females and can grow up to 20 inches.

How Long Do Red Terror Cichlids Live?

Red terror cichlids have a long lifespan and can live up to 15 years under optimal conditions in captivity. Even in the wild, Red terror cichlids seem to do well and can live up to 12 years. 

Appearance & Sexing

Also known as Mesoheros Festae, red terror cichlids are tropical fish native to South America. This colorful fish is identifiable by its intense colors, which becomes even more vivid in females that are ready to breed.

Although young red terror cichlids are virtually identical in appearance, there are slight differences in the colors of males and females when they reach adulthood. That said, it is best to wait for the fish to grow to about four or five inches before bringing it home. 

Male Vs. Female True Red Terror Cichlid

Once the male red terror reaches about five inches in size, it begins revealing its true colors. That said, most male red terrors have a turquoise-green body and blue spots around the dorsal, caudal, and anal fins. Moreover, a “nuchal” hump will appear on the head as the male nears its breeding period.

On the other hand, female red terrors don the signature flaming and vibrant orange-red color. In addition, vertical, black stripes run along its body and in front of its dorsal fins to provide a fierce look. 

It is also worth noting that both males and females have a false eyespot on their backs. Unlike false red terror cichlids that exhibit a similar false eyespot on the center of their backs, this mark is slightly off-center in true red terrors.

Red Terror Cichlid Size And Growth Rate

It becomes much easier to tell their sex once red terrors are about five to seven inches. Generally, it takes a fish in a tank about one year to reach seven inches in length. 

After the one-year mark, you can expect a growth of one inch every year until the cichlid reaches its maximum size. However, remember that the full grown males are far larger than the females and may grow up to 18 or 20 inches in captivity. And while females may peak at a max size of 12 inches, they are considered the stronger sex. 

Red Terror Cichlid Care

Tank size

Considering how red terrors grow to gigantic sizes, the recommended tank size for one fish would be about 180 gallons. Also, make sure that the aquarium has a length of at least 84 inches, especially if you are planning to bring in a pair or introduce tankmates. 

Water Parameters

In the wild, these freshwater fish are found in aggressive and warm waters. That said, fishkeepers must ensure that the water parameters in the aquarium mimic the conditions of its native tropics. 

For starters, you should use a heater to maintain a temperature that hovers between 77 and 84 degrees Fahrenheit. Additionally, you will need a water circulation pump or blower to create a strong current. 

Given their gigantic sizes, red terrors prove to be messy pets that create waste rapidly. Needless to say, you must add an intense mechanical and biological filtration system, coupling it with regular water changes. It is crucial that you check the water parameters frequently, ensuring that the pH level remains between six to eight. 

Setting Up The Rest Of Their Tank

Female red terror cichlids will require a smooth substrate of rocks or slate, where they can lay eggs. However, you can also place a mix of sand, pebbles, and gravel as the base. 

These fish are found in shallow and murky waters in the wild, so they are not fussy about lighting. In fact, you can add rocks and caves to provide dark hiding spaces. Floating plants are also a great way to provide shade and emulate its dim natural environment. 

And if you plan on adding vegetation to the aquarium bed, ensure that they are securely affixed as red terrors are diggers that enjoy uprooting aquatic plants. 

Potential Diseases

Red Terrors are aggressive fish that often get into fights that result in injuries. However, lone Red Terrors in the tank that look stressed may be suffering from internal parasites. 

Food & Diet

For a Red Terror’s staple food, fishkeepers can choose from a variety of high-quality cichlid pellets available on the market. You can also bring variety to the diet by adding live or frozen ghost shrimp, mealworms, earthworms, Daphnia, bloodworms, and so on. 

Red Terror Cichlid Tank Mates

While there is always a risk, some aquarists recommend putting a red terror with other fish who share the same temperament. These include Oscar, Flowerhorn, and green terror cichlids.


Red terrors will not hesitate to unleash their terror on tankmates and sink their teeth into other fish. However, if you are adamant about keeping a pair, consider bringing home a shoal of young fish and waiting for two to pair up.


Notorious for its aggression and well-loved for its colors, red terror cichlids are a unique and relatively low-maintenance breed. However, they don’t get along with most cichlids, including their own, and may even bite the hand that feeds them. 

But don’t worry. All you need to do is refer to this beginner’s guide to red terror cichlids, and taking care of one won’t seem so terrifying anymore. 

Happy fish keeping!

13 Different Types of African Cichlids (With Pictures)

Types of African Cichlids

The continent of Africa has many wonders, not least of which is its amazing wildlife. 

It’s of particular interest for aquarists as some well-known lakes and water bodies are home to the African Cichlid. This fish species love to swim around rocks and caves, diving into the sandy floor to search for meals. 

But most importantly, they are extremely attractive and look good in home aquariums. However, you should know about their characteristic traits and requirements before owning them. 

Today we’ll be discussing types of African Cichlids, their behaviors, and needs. 

Peacock Cichlids


Peacock Cichlids are highly sought-after for their vibrant colors, serving as the center of attraction in the fish tank. But don’t be deceived by their vivid colors. Cichlids are known to be aggressive, and although Peacock Cichlids are pretty docile, they are feistier than your average goldfish. 

Males are territorial, so it would be best to research before introducing other species. Also, since they are natives of Lake Malawi, you need to provide an appropriate habitat, ensuring that they live in harmony. 

So, a layer of sand in the fish tank is a must because they hunt for food at the bottom of the lake, foraging through the water bed. 

Common Name:Peacock Cichlid
Scientific Name:African Butterfly Peacock (Aulonocara jacobfreibergi)
Flavescent Peacock (Aulonocara stuartgranti)
Nkhomo Benga Peacock (Aulonocara baenschi)
Sunshine Peacock (Aulonocara stuartgranti)
Red Peacock Cichlid (Aulonocara stuartgranti)
BluePeacock Cichlid (Aulonocara nyassae)
Care Level:Easy
Lifespan:8 years
Minimum Tank Size:55 Gallons
Tank Set-Up:Freshwater: Driftwood and Caves

Red Zebra Cichlid

Red Zebra Cichlid

The unique feature of the Red Zebra Cichlid is that they assume different colored coats in the wild; therefore, being known by various names. Also, certain traits, like their aggressive nature, remain unchanged.

These fish are extremely territorial and may turn on other fish if the aquarium fails to mimic their natural environment. You need to provide plenty of room along with structures like rocks, crevasses, and pyramids so that they can mark their territory.

Another interesting attribute is that the Red Zebra variants are matriarchal. Although not uncommon, it’s rare to find matriarchal families in the animal kingdom, making your aquarium a specialty.

Common Name:Malawi zebra cichlid
Scientific Name:Pseudotropheus estherae
Origin:Africa – Lake Malawi, Farm Raised – USA
Color Form:Blue, Red, Yellow
Care Level:Easy
Lifespan:5 – 10 years
Minimum Tank Size:50 Gallons

Bumblebee Cichlid

Photo: shutterbusterbob

Another fish found in the depths of Lake Malawi is the Bumblebee Cichlid. Unlike Peacock Cichlids, these fish are found in caves and have a bright yellow, black or tan color. Hence, they are also known as Hornet Cichlids or Chameleon Cichlids.

You should know that they are a little difficult to keep in home aquariums as the water must be highly alkaline. Of course, the use of laterite substrates can help maintain ideal water conditions.

Also, add rocks, crevasses, and other structures to match their cave habitat as they might find it challenging to adjust to unfamiliar environments.

Common Name:Bumblebee Cichlid or Hornet Cichlid
Scientific Name:Pseudotropheus Crabro
Origin:Africa – Lake Malawi
Color Form:Black, Tan, Yellow
Care Level:Easy
Lifespan:5 – 10 years
Minimum Tank Size:70 Gallons

Frontosa Cichlids

Photo: precic_fish

Lake Tanganyika is home to spectacular wildlife, and it’s also the perfect place to find Frontosa Cichlids. This African fish has a large hump that grows in size once the fish reaches maturity, giving them a unique appearance.

Plus, aquarists love the tan and white color patterns with black markings, making them one of the most beautiful fish in the tank. If you provide them with enough room, rocks, and a sandy bottom, these fish will happily live with other species.

Understandably, they are unlike other Cichlids, being tolerant and generally docile.

Common Name:Frontosa or front cichlid
Scientific Name:Cyphotilapia frontosa
Origin:Deep waters of Lake Tanganyika, Africa
Color Form:Tan, White
Care Level:Moderate
Lifespan:25 years
Size:1′ 3″
Minimum Tank Size:70 Gallons

Electric Blue African Cichlid

Any aquarist with Electric Blue African Cichlid in the aquarium will vouch for its magnificent colors, grabbing everyone’s attention. Like most Cichlids, its sleek body enhances the visual appeal of its beautiful blue coat, and it looks great while swimming around the tank.

We must tell you that they are highly territorial and scour the perimeter of the aquarium, keeping intruders at bay. Hence, it might be a wise idea to keep them in a separate tank.

You must ensure that they have at least 70 gallons of water to swim, adding rocks and artificial trees to create a natural effect.

Scientific Name:Sciaenochromis fryeri
Origin:Africa – Lake Malawi, Farm Raised, USA
Color Form:Blue
Care Level:Easy
Lifespan:8-10 years
Minimum Tank Size:70 Gallons

Demasoni Cichlid

The Demasoni Cichlid is known for its striking coloration, having a combined black, blue, and white coat, to stand out in the aquarium. It’s a particular favorite of aquarists as it’s quite uncommon, found in a little-known place called Pombo Rocks.

Judging from the location, this fish thrives in rocky habitats, foraging among rocks and the sandy bottom for food. Hence, it would help if you recreated a similar habitat inside the tank, full of rocks and caves, for them to hide.

Additionally, the water needs to have a high pH level, for which aquarists need to use an aragonite substrate.

Scientific Name:Pseudotropheus demasoni
Origin:Africa – Lake Malawi
Color Form:Black, Blue, White
Care Level:Easy
Lifespan:6-10 years
Minimum Tank Size:55 Gallons

Kribensis Cichlid

If you’re looking to breed an African Cichlid, try owning the Kribensis Cichlid. Originating from Western Africa, these fish are perfectly at home in aquariums, changing their colors as they mature.

Also, they are smaller than other Cichlids, earning them the name of Dwarf Cichlids, as they don’t grow bigger than four inches. So, you can keep them in a 50-gallon aquarium with plenty of rocks and caves to mimic their habitat.

But they retain their feisty temperament and might react aggressively to other fish.

Scientific Name:Pelvicachromis pulcher
Origin:Farm Raised
Color Form:Black, Red, Yellow
Care Level:Easy
Lifespan:3-5 years
Minimum Tank Size:50 Gallons

Venustus Cichlid

The Venustus Cichlid doesn’t have a flashy body coat, but the blue and white coloration gives it a refined appearance. That said, the males are more attractive, sporting a blue face, yellow markings, and having a dorsal fin.

They require a lot of room to swim around and love foraging through caves and rocks. You must include these structures inside the aquarium, making them feel at home.

It’s also essential to prepare a sandy aragonite substrate to ensure that the tank has a high pH level. What’s more, don’t change the water concentration too much as they are highly sensitive to nitrates.

Scientific Name:Nimbochromis venustus
Origin:Africa – Lake Malawi
Color Form:Blue, White
Care Level:Easy
Lifespan:7-10 years
Minimum Tank Size:70 Gallons

Electric Yellow Cichlid

Photo: bobandcarol71661

The one feature that sets this species apart from other African Cichlids is its gorgeous electric yellow cichlid. Further adding to the visual appeal is the fact that the mature fish have contrasting black stripes, making them a favorite for aquarists.

They brighten up the aquarium just like the waters of Lake Malawi. And you can expect to witness similar territorial behaviors, causing them to be aggressive towards other species.

Furthermore, it would be best to add rocks, caves, and sandy surfaces to the aquarium, ensuring that they are comfortable and relaxed in a new environment.

Scientific Name:Labidochromis caeruleus
Origin:Farm Raised
Color Form:Yellow
Care Level:Easy
Lifespan:7-10 years
Minimum Tank Size:50 Gallons

Duboisi Cichlid

Another extremely eye-catching fish is the Duboisi Cichlid, found in the waters of Northern Lake Tanganyika. Interestingly, they change colors throughout their lives, starting with white spots on a black body. And as they mature, the black color gives way to a bluish face.

You can keep a maximum of six fish in one tank as they are highly aggressive even towards each other. A 50-gallon tank should be adequate, provided it has the right amount of pH, achieved by adding an aragonite substrate.

Also, try to include rocks and caves for them to explore the various aspects of their territory.

Scientific Name:Tropheus duboisii
Origin:Farm Raised
Color Form:Black, Blue, White, Yellow
Care Level:Moderate
Lifespan:7-10 years
Minimum Tank Size:50 Gallons

Kenyi Cichlid

Kenyi Cichlids are small but feisty, known for their aggressive nature. So, it would help if you thought twice before introducing other fish as they might attack intruders.

They swim in the rocky habitat of Lake Malawi, which aquarists need to recreate in the fish tank. Meaning, there should be lots of rocks and holes for them to hide in. And since they are small, you can keep them in a 50-gallon tank without any hassle.

Moving on, they have a beautiful coat, with females sporting black bars on a blue body, while males turn yellow with age.

Scientific Name:Metriaclima lombardoi
Origin:Africa – Lake Malawi
Color Form:Black, Blue, Yellow
Care Level:Easy
Lifespan:7-10 years
Minimum Tank Size:50 Gallons

Acei Cichlid

Photo: downstairsaquarium

Lake Malawi is a hotspot for African Cichlids, and the Acei variant lives in its northwestern frontier. It’s easily recognizable, thanks to its slender body, blue coat, and yellow fins. 

Now, it’s essential to keep them in a large aquarium as they need lots of room to swim around. Moreover, the tank should have caves and rocks, similar to their natural habitat. 

You must note that Acei Cichlids hate bright lights, so it would be best to add dark gravel to the tank floor, helping reduce glare. 

Scientific Name:Pseudotropheus Acei
Origin:Africa – Lake Malawi
Color Form:Blue, Yellow
Care Level:Easy
Lifespan:7-10 years
Minimum Tank Size:55 Gallons

Brichardi Cichlid

The Brichardi Cichlid is extremely popular as it’s one of the few albino species found in the wild. No wonder that it looks good in home aquariums and has an elongated tail with dorsal fins, standing out easily. 

It’s important to provide just the right water conditions, maintaining adequate alkalinity and hardness, because they are highly sensitive to changes. That said, don’t add real plants to the tank as these fish are tenacious diggers. 

Also, they tend to become territorial during the mating season but are otherwise peaceful occupants of the tank. 

Scientific Name:Neolamprologus brichardi
Color Form:White
Care Level:Moderate
Lifespan:7-10 years
Minimum Tank Size:30 Gallons


That’s all there is to know about African Cichlids; hopefully, now you can make an informed decision. 

African Cichlids are unlike any other species (CA & SA) – perfect for the aquarist in you. It’s an exciting challenge and adds a touch of exoticism to your home fish tank. 

Rest assured, these fish will brighten up the room, thanks to their eye-catching colors and beautiful slender body. Also, the inclusion of elements resembling their natural habitat makes the fish tank an ecosystem in itself. 

You’ll enjoy watching the fish swim around, hiding among rocks, and changing colors as they mature!