TROPICAL FISH | CONTACT |  FACEBOOK |  TWITTER | DONATE


MBUNA CICHLIDS



MBUNA GROUP [Pictures]
"Mbuna", a word meaning "rock fish," is used to describe a group of Haplochromines that are found on the rocky biotope along the shores of Lake Malawi. Ten genera belong to this group. These fish are highly specialized for feeding on "Aufwuchs," crustaceans, and algae that live on the rocks. Their mouths are chisel-shaped so that food can be picked out of the large mats of algae that cover the rocks.
SIZE: Generally, mbunas are about 4-5" (10-13 cm), and do not grow larger than 6" (15 cm).
TANK: Mbunas, as a general rule, should not be kept in tanks smaller than 32" (81 cm) or 30 gallons (114 L). These cichlids prefer a coral sand bottom to help keep the water alkaline. Keep mbunas in a tank with little or no water current. Provide lots of retreats and rock structures, such as caves. These fish will eat plants, so if plants are desired, use plastic ones. Encourage algae growth, for the cichlids will eat it. Lake Malawi Biotope Setup
WATER: Like other Lake Malawi Cichlids, mbunas should be kept in water with a pH of 7.5-9.0, a water hardness from 10-20 dH, and a temperature between 75-81F (24-27C).
SB: Mbunas can easily be combined with each other in a 40" (100 cm) or 45-55 gallon (170-209 L) tank. Be sure to provide a hiding place for each fish to serve as a retreat. Mbunas are best kept in large numbers with a ratio of one male to several females. If mbunas are kept in smaller numbers, often aggressions between fish will rise. Cichlids from other biotopes, such as sand and open-water swimmers, can be combined with Mbunas only in a large tank of 48" (122 cm) or 55 gallons (209 L). In all cases, only similarly sized fish should be combined. However during spawning, males may become very territorial.
SC: Synodontis, Lake Tanganyika Rainbows, Lake Tanganyika Cichlids, Polypterus, Afromastacembelus .
FOOD: Lake Malawi Mbunas need roughage that can be found in vegetables and algae. In an aquarium, they are greedy eaters that will accept nearly every food available.
B: Mbunas are polygamous mouth-brooders, so for breeding, one male must be kept with several females. A good deal of rock work should be used to provide retreats for females, as the male often will be aggressive in his mating attempts. Many species spawn rather readily in water with a pH of 7.8-8.3 and a water hardness of 10-16 dH. The temperature should be 77-82F (25-28C). Usually only a small number of eggs, from 10-60, are laid. They are generally fertilized via the dummy-egg method. The female mouth-broods the eggs until they hatch after 20-21 days. She will usually continue to care for the fry for another 1-2 weeks. Start feeding the fry with powdered foods and newly hatched Artemia .
BP: Breeding most Mbunas is fairly easy in water with the right conditions. Remember that the spawners become highly aggressive while caring for the brood.
R: Mbunas are thought to have evolved from riverine Haplochromis and Tilapia species. As a result of the reluctance of mbuna to cross open, sandy regions in the lake, different population tend to develop isolated from one another. Thus many different forms result from a single species (allopatric speciation).
DC: Mbunas are hardy and aggressive fish that are quite beautiful when kept in numbers. Their aggressiveness does not make them good community fish with fish from outside Lake Malawi.

Red-dorsal Afra, Dogtooth Cichlid [picture]
Cynotilapia afra
SYN: Chromis afra
PD: The body is elongated and the forehead is steep. Males are usually dark turquoise blue with six to seven navy blue bands. The first starts just behind the gill cover, and the last ends near the end of the dorsal fin. The dorsal fin is elongated, running from the peak of the forehead, back to the base of the caudal fin. The dorsal fin is light turquoise or yellow depending on the fish. The caudal fin also varies from yellow to turquoise. The pelvic and anal fins range from turquoise to navy blue in color, while the pectoral fins are transparent. Three to four egg spots are located on the rear part of the anal fin. Females are light blue to slate gray in color, and usually have no stripes. The fins are also more dully colored, and not egg spots are present on the anal fin.
SIZE: Males to 4.7" (12 cm), females to 4" (10 cm)
SS: Zebra Mbuna (Pseudotropheus zebra), Red-Dorsal Cobalt Zebra ( P. greshakei)
HAB: Eastern Africa; Lake Malawi. The Dogtooth Cichlid is found near Likoma Island swimming in large schools in open water (unusual for a Mbuna).
S: bottom, middle
TANK: 40" (100 cm) or 45-55 gallons (170-209 L) is required for adult fish. The tank should be arranged with rocky structures. Caves and other retreats are very important for this fish as it tends to be aggressive. Tough-leafed, well-rooted plants that tolerate hard water can be used. Use a coral sand substrate as an alkaline buffer.
WATER: pH 7.5-9 (8), 10-25 dH (18), 73-81F (23-27C)
SB: A territorial cichlid that tends to be especially pugnacious among its own species. The combination of the Dogtooth Cichlid with other, dissimilar species helps reduce aggressiveness. Keep one male with at least three females. During the spawning season, this cichlid becomes even more aggressive.
SC: Synodontis, Lake Tanganyika Rainbows, Lake Tanganyika Cichlids, mbunas.
FOOD: Live; bloodworms, mosquito larvae, crustaceans, snails, Tubifex; pellets; tablets; flakes. In nature, Cynotilapia are primarily plankton feeders.
SEX: Males are striped with six to seven black stripes, And have 3-4 egg spots on the anal fin. Female are not striped, and are usually lighter in color than males.
B: Use water with a pH from 8-8.5, a water hardness from 10-15 dH, and a temperature from 77-82F (25-28C). The Dogtooth Cichlid makes exceptions to normal mbuna bonding patterns. The males are agamous, and do not form bonds. Keep one male with at least three females, as the male may be overly aggressive in his mating attempts. A small amount of eggs are mouthbrooded by the female who participates in a matriarchal care. Remove the male at this point, as it is easier to rear the young without him. The eggs are incubated in the female's mouth for a period of 20-21 days. Start feeding with Artemia and powdered foods.
BP: 6. Breeding is not difficult in water with the right conditions. The male becomes highly aggressive, so retreats for females are needed.
R: Fish are mature at 6-8 months.
DC: 4. A hardy, but highly aggressive mbuna.



Fuelleborn's Cichlid, Fuelleborni [Pictures]
Labeotropheus fuelleborni
SYN: Labeotropheus curvirostris
PD: The body is elongated and the upper lip overhangs the lower. The anal and dorsal fins are pointed. The dorsal and caudal fins are usually yellow tipped. Males are usually blue with vertical stripes. Females are often very similar, although sometimes their body coloring is very different, being orange with black splotches. This morph is known as the Marbled Fuelleborn's Cichlid
SIZE: Males to 7" (18 cm), female to 5" (13 cm)
SS: Zebra Cichlid ( Pseudotropheus zebra), Kennyi ( Pseudotropheus lombardoi)
HAB: Eastern Africa; found along the rocky shores of Lake Malawi
S: bottom, middle
TANK: 36" (91 cm) or 35 gallons (132 L). The tank should have a rocky set-up. Offer hiding places with caves and stone structures. This cichlid will eat live plants. Use a strong light system to promote algae growth.
WATER: pH 7.5-8.8 (8.1), 12-30 dH (20), 72-82F (22-28C)
SB: This species is among the most peaceful of all mbunas, although it can be aggressive and territorial at times. These fish only form pairs while spawning. Does best in a tank with several females and one male.
SC: Synodontis, Lake Tanganyika Rainbows, Lake Tanganyika Cichlids, mbunas.
FOOD: Algae; flake; live; snails, bloodworms, mosquito larvae, microorganisms, crustaceans, snails, Tubifex ; pellets; tablets; plant matter; vegetables; peas, lettuce, spinach; fruit.
SEX: The male has yellow egg-spots on his anal fin and grows to a larger size.
B: Eggs are laid on carefully cleaned rocks and fertilized with the dummy-egg
method. Up to 60 eggs are laid where they are then mouthbrooded in the throat cavity of the female. Fry are free-swimming after 20-30 days and can be fed small live foods.
BP: 6. Fuelleborn's Cichlid spawns rather readily in hard, alkaline water.
R: Fuelleborn's Cichlid has chisel-shaped teeth which are adapted for scraping algae off of rocks. Several different color and pattern morphs are available, such as the types mentioned above, an "orange-blotched" variety, and a checkered morph. The male has the ability to undergo a rapid color change depending on his mood.
DC: 4. An aggressive fish that is quite an intelligent animal. Fuelleborn's Cichlids are known for their recognition of their owners and shyness towards strangers.

Trewavas Cichlid, Red-finned Cichlid [Pictures]
Labeotropheus trewavasae
SYN: None
PD: A Cichlid with a similar body shape to Fuelleborn's Cichlid. The body is elongated and the anal and dorsal fins are pointed. Male specimen are usually similar in color and pattern. They are blue with dark bands, and have yellow to red to brown anal, caudal, and dorsal fins. On the other hand, females range in color from: speckled in a number of colors, the coloring of male fish, to marbled orange. The lower jaw is under-slung for rasping algae off of rocks.
SIZE: To 4.5" (11 cm)
SS: Zebra Cichlid ( Pseudotropheus zebra), Kennyi ( Pseudotropheus lombardoi), Fuelleborn's Cichlid (Labeotropheus fuelleborni )
HAB: Eastern Africa; rocky shore areas of Lake Malawi where there is an abundance of algae.
S: bottom, middle
TANK: 40" (101 cm) or 45-55 gallons (170-209 L). See L. fuelleborni.
WATER: pH 7.0-8.5 (8.1), 10-30 dH (18), 72-82F (22-28C)
SB: An aggressive and territorial fish that should only be combined with other Mbunas. Males are especially aggressive and should be kept with several females. Retreats are important for the Mbunas in the tank.
SC: Small Haplochromines, mbunas, Synodontis
FOOD: Algae; flake; live; snails, bloodworms, mosquito larvae, microorganisms, crustaceans, snails, Tubifex ; pellets; tablets; plant matter; vegetables; peas, lettuce, spinach; fruit. The fish's color may fade if not fed sufficient vegetable foods.
SEX: The male has obvious yellow egg-spots on his anal fin, while the female has small ones or none at all.
B: Forms a matriarchal family. Eggs are laid on carefully cleaned rocks and fertilized with the dummy-egg method. Up to 40 eggs are laid, but usually not more than 12. They are then mouthbrooded by the female (ovophile mouth brooder) for 21-30 days. The fry are free-swimming after 3 weeks and can be fed small live foods.
BP: 6. Breeding is not difficult.
R: The Fuelleborn's Cichlid has chisel-shaped teeth which are adapted for scraping algae off of rocks. This fish's color and pattern varies greatly depending on the area that the fish is found. In some areas, males specimen possess female colors, and carry the eggs in the throat sac. Many of these morphs are named after the islands near where they are found ("Thumbi" and "Chilumba"). This fish can quickly acclaims to tap water.
DC: 5. A hardy mbuna that does well in a mbuna community tank.

Yellow Labid., Electric Yellow Mbuna, Caeruleus, Lion's Cove Yellow [picture]
Labidochromis caeruleus var.
SYN: None
PD: The body is elongated and the forehead is slightly arched. The body color is bright, sunshine yellow. The dorsal fin is elongated, running from the above the gill cover to the base of the caudal fin. The fringe of the dorsal fin is yellow, while the rest of it is black. The pelvic and first rays of the anal fin are also black in color. The eye often has a small, black stripe running across it.
SIZE: To 4" (10 cm)
SS: None
HAB: Eastern Africa; Lake Malawi. This fish is usually found at depths of 10 to 100 feet (3-31 m).
S: All
TANK: 36" (90 cm) or 35 gallons (132 L). The tank should be arranged with rock structures that extend from the bottom of the tank to the water surface. Provide hiding places in these structures with caves and crevices. Use a coral sand substrate to buffer the water to an alkaline pH. Plants will not usually be eaten, so hardy species can be used (Vallisneria ).
WATER: pH 7.0-8.5 (8.1), 10-30 dH (18), 72-82F (22-28C)
SB: The Yellow Labid is among the least aggressive of mbunas, although it still can be combined in a community tank with other species of mbunas. Provide a retreat for each fish. As with other mbunas, the Yellow Labid does best when one male is kept with several females. When guarding the brood, the parents become highly aggressive. The Yellow Labid is often harassed by dissimilar species because of its conspicuous coloration.
SC: Synodontis, Lake Tanganyika Rainbows, Lake Tanganyika Cichlids, Mbunas.
FOOD: Flake; live; snails, bloodworms, mosquito larvae, microorganisms, crustaceans, snails, Tubifex ; pellets; tablets; vegetables; peas, lettuce, spinach; fruit. Be sure to feed this fish a healthy diet, so it can retain its beautiful colors.
SEX: The male has a greater arch on its head and may be slightly larger.
B: Forms a matriarchal family. The eggs are laid on carefully cleaned rocks and fertilized with the dummy-egg method. Up to 20 eggs are laid. They are then mouthbrooded by the female (ovophile mouth brooder) for 21-25 days. The fry are sturdy and are free-swimming after 3 weeks, at which time they can be fed small live foods and powdered dry. The female continues to guard the fry for a week after they are first released from the mouth.
BP: 7. Breeding is slightly more difficult than that of other mbunas.
R: Many available to the hobby are captive bred in Florida. Frequent partial water changes are required for this fish to keep its stunning colors. The fish of the genus Labidochromis differ from other mbunas by having longer, more pointed snouts.
DC: 6. The Yellow Labid is more sensitive to water pollutants and harassment than other Mbunas.

Auratus, Malawi Golden Cichlid [picture]
Melanochromis auratus
SYN: Pseudotropheus auratus
PD: Young individuals have females coloring which consists of a golden-yellow base color with three black bands. Each black band had small white stripes running parallel with it. The caudal fin is spotted and the anal, pectoral, and pelvic fins are golden. When the male reaches two inches (5 cm), he begins to develop mature male colors. The female colors are reversed on the male, making the base body color black with yellow stripes. Sometimes the yellow stripes are turquoise or blue depending on the location where the fish may be found. The caudal fin is black with a few white stripes and the dorsal fin is yellow. The anal, pectoral, and pelvic fins are black and have a white fringe.
SIZE: Males to 5" (12 cm), Females to 4" (10 cm); some have reported fish up to 8" (20 cm)
SS: Young fish resemble the Golden Julie ( Julidochromis ornatus) from Lake Tanganyika. Similar Lake Malawi fish include the Johannii (M. johannii) and the Parallel-striped Mbuna ( M. parallelus).
HAB: East Africa; caught along the rocky shores of Lake Malawi
S: all
TANK: 32" (80 cm) or 30 gallons (114 L) is sufficient for fish to 4" (10 cm) in length. Larger fish require at least a 40" (101 cm) tank. The tank should have a similar set-up to that of other Mbunas. See the Mbuna description.
WATER: pH 7.5-9 (8.0), 10-25 dH (20), 72-81F (22-27C)
SB: An aggressive, territorial, and intolerant fish. Provide a retreat for each fish. The Auratus is especially aggressive to its own and similar species. Keep one male with several females.
SC: Small Haplochromines, mbunas, Synodontis
FOOD: Algae; flake; live; snails, bloodworms, mosquito larvae, microorganisms, crustaceans, snails, Tubifex ; pellets; tablets; plant matter; vegetables; peas, lettuce, spinach; fruit.
SEX: The males is larger, has more black coloring, and has yellow dummy-eggs on his anal fins. See "Physical Description."
B: The parents form a matriarchal family. Raise the water temperature to 79-81F (26-27C) to initiate spawning. Place at least 4 females with one male in a breeding tank. 10-30 eggs are laid and are immediately taken into the female's mouth. The male should be removed just after spawning is complete. The eggs are incubated there for three weeks, until they hatch. The fry remain in her mouth for another week and then leave, to feed on small crustaceans and other small live foods.
BP: 6. Breeding is fairly easy as long as the male does not kill the female is his aggressive spawning attempts.
R: A pale blue variation is sometimes imported from the waters around the Likoma Islands in Lake Malawi. These fish are "Aufwuchs" feeders in nature. When disturbed, the male can undergo rapid color change, assuming the colors of the female.
DC: 5. The Auratus is a hardy, but highly aggressive fish. Usually this problem can be solved by providing a cave or other structure for each fish, and by using non-similar species as companions.

Johannii, Johann's Mbuna [picture]
Melanochromis johannii
SYN: Pseudotropheus johannii
PD: An elongated cichlid with an arched forehead. The Johannii has a "typical" mbuna body shape. The color depends greatly on the sex and age of the fish. Juvenile and female coloring is as followS: the body is dark indigo blue to black. Three yellow horizontal stripes extend from the gill cover to the base of the caudal fin. The first stripes runs along the back, and is often faint. The second stripe is located just below the previously mentioned one, and the final stripe is located below this one. The male has a similar pattern, but differs in having blue stripes. The intensity depends on the mood and age of the fish. On both sexes, the fins are black with a bright colored fringe, having the same color as the other body stripes.
SIZE: Males to 4.7" (12 cm), while females only reach 4.1" (10.5 cm)
SS: Auratus (Melanochromis auratus), Chipokae ( M. chipokae), Black Mbuna ( M. melanopterus ), Parallel Mbuna (M. parallelus)
HAB: Found in rocky areas between large boulders. Eastern Africa; Lake Malawi.
S: All
TANK: 36" (91 cm) or 35 gallons (132 L). See the introduction of mbunas for recommendations concerning the tank set-up.
WATER: pH 7.5-9 (8.0), 10-25 dH (18), 72-81F (22-27C)
SB: A territorial fish that is combined well with other mbunas. Several females should be kept to every one male.
SC: Small Haplochromines, mbunas, Synodontis
FOOD: Algae; flake; live; snails, bloodworms, mosquito larvae, microorganisms, crustaceans, snails, Tubifex ; pellets; tablets; plant matter; vegetables; peas, lettuce, spinach; fruit.
SEX: Females are smaller and are orange to yellow in color. The male is dark blue with obvious egg-spots on the anal fin.
B: Use alkaline water with a pH of 8.2-8.5, a water hardness from 12-18 dH, and a temperature from 81-82F (27-28C). Be sure to keep one male with at least three females as males are overly aggressive in their spawning attempts. Up to 35 eggs are laid and fertilized via the "dummy egg" method. The mother mouth broods the eggs for 18-24 days, and guards the fry for one week after emerging from her mouth. The young can be fed on Artemia .
BP: 7. Breeding this mbuna is moderately difficult, due to the aggressiveness of the male during courtship.
R: All young have the coloring of the female. At 2" (5 cm) the males will develop their normal, adult coloring. Several different color morphs are known. For example, juvenile fish in some areas have bright yellow-orange coloring with no markings.
DC: 5. A hardy, but aggressive mbuna.

Parallel-striped Mbuna [picture]
Melanochromis parallelus
SYN: None
PD: The body shape is similar to that of the Auratus. The coloring differs entirely depending on the fish's age and sex. Juvenile and female fish have yellow to white belly, with a broad black stripe that extends through the eye and back to the caudal fin. Above this marking is a yellow to white stripe, which runs below another black stripe. On the crest of the back is another yellow to white marking. The elongated dorsal fin is black in color, as are the anal and pelvic fins. The male has a black body with three to four indigo blue stripes. The first of these stripes runs from the eye, back to the caudal fin. The second, third, and fourth runs, alternating with black stripes, above the first one. All the fins are black.
SIZE: To 5" (13 cm)
SS: Auratus (M. auratus), Chipokae ( M. chipokae)
HAB: Eastern Africa; found in the rocky zones of Lake Malawi
S: All
TANK: 36" (91 cm) or 35 gallons (132 L). See the mbuna introduction.
WATER: pH 7.5-9 (8.0), 10-25 dH (18), 72-81F (22-27C)
SB: A robust, but aggressive fish that can be combined with other Mbunas. Although fish are agamous, several females should still be kept with one male.
SC: Small Haplochromines, mbunas, Synodontis
FOOD: Algae; flake; live; snails, bloodworms, mosquito larvae, microorganisms, crustaceans, snails, Tubifex ; pellets; tablets; plant matter; vegetables; peas, lettuce, spinach; fruit.
SEX: Clear sexual dichromatism - see "Physical Description."
B: An agamic ovophile mouth brooder. Use water with a pH around 8.2, a hardness around 16 dH, and a temperature from 79-82F (26-28C). Keep one male with several females and provide several caves. Up to 50 eggs are mouthbrooded by the female for 20-25 days. Brood care ends just after the fry are released from the mouth. Start feeding with Daphnia, Artemia, and Cyclops.
BP: 7. Breeding this Mbuna is moderately difficult.
R: For a long time, the Parallel-striped Mbuna was confused with the Auratus. It was actually sold as the Black and white Auratus in the United States. Now it is recognized as a separate species. The males develop their mature coloring at 2" (5 cm). The colors may vary, depending on the fish's geographical population.
DC: 5. An aggressive and robust Mbuna.

Purple Mbuna [picture]
Melanochromis vermivorus
SYN: None
PD: M. vermivorus has a similar body shape to M. auratus. The body color is dark blue. Along the crest of the back are white to turquoise splotches. The first is usually located near the upper lip, while successive ones runs along the top of the back. A similar colored stripe extends from the eye back through the caudal fin. Another white to turquoise, dotted stripe runs above. The dorsal fin is elongated and is colored much like the splotches on the back. The other fins match the base body color of dark blue.
SIZE: Males to 6" (15 cm), females to 4.7" (12 cm)
SS: Color variants of M. auratus, M. chipokae and M. johannii may have similar coloring.
HAB: Eastern Africa; Lake Malawi
S: Bottom, middle
TANK: 40" (101 cm) or 45-55 gallons (170-209 L). Large rock structures that reach the water surface are recommended. Provide caves and crevices for hiding and use a fine gravel or preferably, coral sand substrate. Leave large open swimming areas. Allow the growth of algae.
WATER: pH 7.5-9 (8.0), 10-25 dH (18), 72-81F (22-27C)
SB: M. vermivorus is more aggressive and intolerant of similar-looking species than other mbunas. Because of this highly aggressive behavior, especially with male fish, it is recommended to provide at least one retreat for each fish. Keep one male with several females. In a community tank, M. vermivorus is best combined with different looking mbunas. The male becomes even more pugnacious during the spawning season.
SC: Small Haplochromines, mbunas, Synodontis
FOOD: Algae; flake; live; snails, bloodworms, mosquito larvae, microorganisms, crustaceans, snails, Tubifex; pellets; tablets; plant matter; vegetables; peas, lettuce, spinach; fruit.
SEX: Females are distinctly smaller and lack the egg-spots that males possess.
B: Breeding is similar to M. auratus.
BP: 7. Breeding is moderately difficult partly because of the male's aggressiveness during courtship.
R: Coloring of the fish depends on the part of the lake in which they originally inhabited. This mbuna is not widely available to the hobby at this time.
DC: 5. M. vermivorus is a hardy, but highly aggressive cichlid.

Aurora Cichlid [picture]
Pseudotropheus aurora
SYN: Pseudotropheus lucerna
PD: The Aurora Cichlid has a sloping forehead and characteristic, large eyes. The head appears smaller than that of other Mbunas. Males are far more colorful than females. Males are usually light blue to turquoise with six to eight darker, transverse stripes. The lower part of the head and the belly are bright yellow, as is the iris of the eye. The fins are all colored like the body, but have a yellow tinge. A large egg spot can be found on the anal fin. Females are much plainer in color. All the colors that the male possesses are considerably dulled, and the egg spot is fainter. Sometimes female may even be a solid, muddy-brown color.
SIZE: Males to 4.3" (11 cm), females to 4" (10 cm)
SS: None
HAB: Eastern Africa; found in the transitional zones between sandy and rocky areas of the Likoma Islands and Mdemba Bay. Lake Malawi.
S: bottom, middle
TANK: 40" (100 cm) or 45-55 gallons (170-209 L). The tank should have a rocky set-up with caves and crevices for hiding. A coral sand substrate is recommended and the few, robust plants can be used. Use a strong light to promote the growth of algae. Leave open swimming areas.
WATER: pH 7.5-8.8 (8.0), 12-25 dH (16), 75-81F (24-27C)
SB: A fish that is territorial and aggressive towards all species. Keep one male with several females.
SC: Small Haplochromines, mbunas, Synodontis
FOOD: Algae; flake; live; snails, bloodworms, mosquito larvae, microorganisms, crustaceans, snails, Tubifex; pellets; tablets; plant matter; vegetables; peas, lettuce, spinach; fruit.
SEX: Males are more brightly colored and have larger egg-spots on their anal fin.
B: Use water with a pH around 8.0 with a water temperature from 81-82F (27-28C). In the breeding tank, keep one male with several females. As many as 70 eggs are incubated by the female for 18-21 days. When the fry emerge, they can be fed on Artemia and Cyclops .
BP: 6. Breeding is moderately difficult.
R: Make frequent partial water changes.
DC: 4. A hardy, but aggressive fish that can develop stunning colors in properly maintained water.

Bumblebee Mbuna, Hornet Cichlid [picture]
Pseudotropheus crabro
SYN: None
PD: An elongated fish with a sloping forehead. The body coloring depends on the sex, age, and geographical population of the fish. Males can be dark yellow or blue in color with eight or nine black, transverse bars. The first is usually found on the upper lip, and the next runs through the eye. The final band is usually located on the base of the caudal fin. Other populations may also have horizontal stripes crisscrossing with the vertical bands. Females are usually paler in color. In both sexes, the fins are gray to black.
SIZE: To 4" (10 cm)
SS: Kennyi (P. lombardoi)
HAB: Eastern Africa, found along the rocky coast of Lake Malawi
S: bottom, middle
TANK: 32" (81 cm) or 30 gallons (114 L) is acceptable. The tank should have a rocky set-up with caves and overhangs. Use a fine gravel or preferably coral sand substrate. Robust plants that can tolerate harder water can be used. Leave open swimming areas and use a strong light to promote the growth of algae.
WATER: pH 7.5-8.8 (8.0), 12-25 dH (16), 75-84F (24-29C)
SB: Despite its smaller size, the Bumblebee Mbuna lives up to its other common name, the Hornet Cichlid, in its pugnacious nature. A fine fish for a Mbuna community tank. Keep one male with several females.
SC: Small Haplochromines, mbunas, Synodontis
FOOD: In Lake Malawi this fish often feeds off the lice of other fish. In an aquarium, the "usual" foods are accepted: Algae; Live foods; Artemia, Bloodworms, Daphnia, insect larvae, Tubifex, snails; vegetables; spinach, peas.
SEX: Males are slightly larger with more distinct egg-spots on the anal fin. Males are darker in color (see "Physical Description").
B: Breeding is similar to that of P. lombardoi.
BP: 7. Breeding is moderately difficult.
R: Different color forms are known.
DC: 4. An aggressive, little Mbuna.

Elongatus, Slender Mbuna [picture]
Pseudotropheus elongatus
SYN: None
PD: The Elongatus is especially elongated for a mbuna. The body is very slender and there is a small hump on the forehead. Several different color morphs are known. Two morphs are seen more than the others. The first has a black body with eight transverse bands that are dark blue in color. The second commonly seen morph has an indigo blue body with six to 12 black bands. Sometimes fewer bands are present because they fade. In most morphs the fins are black in color.
SIZE: Males to 5.3" (13.5 cm), females to 4" (10 cm)
SS: One population of P. gracillior is fairly similar.
HAB: Eastern Africa; widespread throughout the rocky coasts of Lake Malawi
S: bottom, middle
TANK: 40" (101 cm) or 45-55 gallons (170-209 L). The tank should have a rocky set-up with caves and out-cropping. Retreats must be provide for hiding. Leave open swimming areas and use coral sand substrate. Use a strong light to promote the growth of algae.
WATER: pH 7.5-9.0 (8.2), 12-25 dH (16), 72-81F (22-27C)
SB: A fish that is territorial and aggressive towards all species. The Elongatus is considered by many to be the most aggressive of the Pseudotropheus genus. Males are strongly polygamous and will likely kill a single female. Combine a male with at least four females. Retreats will help tank mates to escape when they are Perused.
SC: Small Haplochromines, mbunas, Synodontis
FOOD: Algae; flake; live; snails, bloodworms, mosquito larvae, microorganisms, crustaceans, snails, Tubifex ; pellets; tablets; plant matter; vegetables; peas, lettuce, spinach; fruit.
SEX: Males are larger and have brighter egg-spots on their anal fin.
B: Use water with a pH around 8.2 with a water temperature from 79-82F (26-28C). Keep at least four females with the male. The female is an ovophile mouth brooder who lays as many as 35 eggs. The eggs are incubated for three weeks and the fry are guarded for two to three days after emerging from the mouth. Start feeding with Artemia and Cyclops .
BP: 7. Breeding is difficult, partly because of the male's aggressive nature.
R: About one-third of the fish available to the hobby are tank-bred.
DC: 5. An aggressive fish that should be combined with other aggressive and robust mbunas.

Snail Shell Mbuna, Shell-dwelling Mbuna [Pictures]
Pseudotropheus lanisticola
SYN: None
PD: This species has a "typical" mbuna shape, though its mouth is smaller and head has a smooth slope. The body coloration is variable. The upperparts may be rusty brown while scales of the flanks are light blue and edged with copper. The body is marked with several vertical bands that may be apparent or inconspicuous. Female fish may be yellowish. The fins match the body color, except for the yellow anal fin. The caudal fin has a base coloration of rusty-orange with blue stripes.
SIZE: To 2.7" (7 cm)
SS: P. livingstonii is another shell-dwelling mbuna.
HAB: Eastern Africa; inhabits empty snail shells ( Lanistes) of sandy regions of Lake Malawi
S: bottom, middle
TANK: 30" (76 cm) or 20-30 gallons (75-114 L). The tank should have a rocky set-up with caves and overhangs. Provide several large snails shells for each fish. Leave open swimming areas and use coral sand substrate. Use a strong light to promote the growth of algae.
WATER: pH 7.5-8.8 (8.2), 12-22 dH (16), 73-79F (23-26C)
SB: A territorial species that will guard its snail shell against intruders. This species will not usually harm plants and is unaggressive towards other species.
SC: Lake Tanganyika Rainbowfish, mbunas, Synodontis
FOOD: Algae; flake; live; snails, bloodworms, mosquito larvae, microorganisms, crustaceans, snails, Tubifex ; pellets; tablets; vegetables; peas, lettuce, spinach; fruit.
SEX: Males have brighter egg-spots on their anal fin.
B: Use water with a pH around 8.2 with a water temperature from 79-82F (26-28C). Keep at least three females with the male. The female is an ovophile mouth brooder who lays as many as 60 eggs, which she incubates for three weeks. She continues to guard the fry for a week after they emerge from the mouth. Start feeding with Artemia and crushed flake foods.
BP: 5. An easily bred species.
R: Will seek shelter in snail shells when danger is present.
DC: 4. This relatively peaceful mbuna is an excellent choice for a mbuna community tank.

Kennyi [picture]
Pseudotropheus lombardoi
SYN: Pseudotropheus liliancinius, P. kennyi
PD: The Kennyi has a "typical" Mbuna shape. The coloring depends on the age and sex of the fish. Females are pale blue to blue with six to eight transverse, black bands. The bands are begin at the crest of the black and fade in color as they move down towards the belly. The first band runs to the eye and the last is located near the tail. The belly is lighter in color. The fins are light blue and the caudal fin has some vertical, spotted lines. The dorsal fin has five dark splotches where the longitudinal bands end, and has a black fringe. Males are yellow in color and may or may not have the transverse bands that the female possesses. The fins match the body color.
SIZE: Males to 6" (15 cm), females to 5.5" (14 cm)
SS: Bumblebee Mbuna ( P. crabro)
HAB: Eastern Africa; found only around the Mbenji Islands in Lake Malawi
S: bottom, middle
TANK: 40" (100 cm) or 45-55 gallons (170-209 L) is sufficient for young fish under 3" (7.5 cm). Adult fish are territorial and need large areas to defend. A 48" (122 cm) or 70 gallon (266 L) tank is suggested. The tank should have a rocky set-up with caves and out-cropping. Retreats must be provide for hiding. Leave open swimming areas and use coral sand substrate. Use a strong light to promote the growth of algae.
WATER: pH 7.5-9.0 (8.1), 12-25 dH (16), 73-81F (23-27C)
SB: The Kennyi is an aggressive cichlid while young. With age the fish become even more belligerent and territorial. Combine the Kennyi with other robust mbunas to distract them from fighting with other of their own species. Keep one male with several females. Tensions are reduced when kept in a large tank with a number of hiding places.
SC: Small Haplochromines, mbunas, Synodontis
FOOD: Algae; flake; live; snails, bloodworms, mosquito larvae, microorganisms, crustaceans, snails, Tubifex ; pellets; tablets; plant matter; vegetables; peas, lettuce, spinach; fruit. The Kennyi will eat almost any food, but color enhancing foods will help bring out the male's gold body coloring.
SEX: Males are yellow in color and have brighter egg-spots on their anal fin.
B: Breeding is fairly easy in a large tank with a great deal or caves and crevices. Use water with a temperature from 77-82F (25-28C), a pH from 8.0-8.3, and a hardness from 10-16 dH. The male is polygamous, so use several females. Spawning takes place on or above a flat stone. As many as 50 eggs are laid and fertilized by the dummy-egg method. The female mouth broods the eggs for 20-25 days. The blue colored fry emerge and can be fed Artemia , Cyclops , and Daphni a.
BP: 6. Breeding is fairly easy after the male's aggressiveness accounted for and taken care of.
R: The sexual dichromatism of the Kennyi is opposite from other Mbunas. In most cases (with other mbunas), the male is blue, and the female is yellow or orange-which is not the case for the Kennyi.
DC: 5. An aggressive fish that should be combined with other aggressive and robust mbunas.

Eduard's Mbuna [picture]
Pseudotropheus socolofi
SYN: Pseudotropheus pindani
PD: P. socolofi has a "typical" mbuna shape. The coloring of the fish is golden yellow or pale blue to dark blue. On the blue morph, faint bands can sometimes be seen. Usually the blue variant is marked with a black ridge along the upper part of the dorsal fin and a black band on the first rays of the anal fin. The yellow morphs are usually not marked.
SIZE: Males to 4.7" (11 cm), females to 4" (10 cm)
SS: Barlow's Mbuna ( P. barlowi), Zebra Mbuna ( P. zebra)
HAB: Eastern Africa; found on the eastern coast of Lake Malawi and around the Likoma Islands.
S: All
TANK: 40" (100 cm) or 40 gallons (150 L). Use rock structures that reach the surface of the water. Provide hiding places among these structures. Robust, live plants can be used as this fish will not usually bother them. Leave open swimming areas.
WATER: pH 7.5-9.0 (8.1), 12-25 dH (16), 73-81F (23-27C)
SB: P. socolofi is among the most peaceful of Pseudotropheus species. Although territorial, this fish does well with peaceful mbunas and Peacocks.
SC: Small Haplochromines, mbunas, Synodontis, Aulonocara
FOOD: Algae; flake; live; snails, bloodworms, mosquito larvae, microorganisms, crustaceans, snails, Tubifex ; pellets; tablets; plant matter; vegetables; peas, lettuce, spinach; fruit.
SEX: Males have three to four, distinct egg-spots on the anal fin and have slightly longer pelvic fins.
B: Use water with a temperature from 77-82F (25-28C), a pH from 8.0-8.3, and a hardness from 10-16 dH. The male is polygamous, so use several females. As many as 60 eggs are laid and fertilized by the dummy-egg method. The female mouth broods the eggs for 20-25 days. The blue colored fry emerge and can be fed Artemia , Cyclops , and Daphni a. The female should be removed 6-10 days after the fry are released from the female's mouth.
BP: 7. A moderately difficult fish to breed.
R: P. socolofi differs from other mbunas by its lack of clear sexual dichromatism.
DC: 4. A relatively peaceful mbuna.

Zebra Mbuna, Zebra Cichlid, Cobalt Blue Cichlid, Zebra Malawi Cichlid, Nyasa Blue Cichlid [picture]
Pseudotropheus zebra
SYN: Tilapia zebra
PD: The Zebra Cichlid has a "typical" mbuna shape. The coloring depends on the geographical population and mood of the fish. The most common color variety has a pale blue body with seven to eight, dark blue or black, vertical bands. All flanks are pale blue. Another variety or "mood coloration" is simply pale blue in color. Albino and white variations are very common, as is a "Red" or "Tangerine" form, and several blotched "OB" varieties.
SIZE: Males to 6" (15 cm), females to 5" (13 cm)
SS: Eduard's Mbuna ( P. socolofi), Golden Tropheus ( P. tropheus), and other Pseudotropheus species.
HAB: Eastern Africa; rocky shores of Lake Malawi
S: bottom, middle
TANK: 36" (91 cm) or 35 gallons (132 L) is sufficient only for specimen measuring up to 3.5" (9 cm). This territorial fish requires a minimum tank size of 48" (122 cm) or 55 gallons (209 L) as an adult. Arrange the tank as one would for other Lake Malawi Mbunas.
WATER: pH 7.2-9.0 (8.1), 12-25 dH (16), 72-82F (22-28C)
SB: The Zebra Mbuna is an aggressive fish towards similar and dissimilar species. Tensions between fish are reduced when the Zebra Mbuna is kept in a large tank will many hiding places, and combined with different-looking species and morphs. Keep one male with several females. Females have a tendency to school. Males establish large territories which are defended with strength.
SC: Small Haplochromines, mbunas, Synodontis, Aulonocara
FOOD: Algae; flake; live; snails, bloodworms, mosquito larvae, microorganisms, crustaceans, snails, Tubifex ; pellets; tablets; plant matter; vegetables; peas, lettuce, spinach; fruit.
SEX: Males have stronger and more obvious egg-spots, and will develop a hump on the forehead with age.
B: Use water with a temperature from 77-82F (25-28C), a pH from 8.0-8.8, and a hardness from 10-16 dH. The male is polygamous, so use several females. As many as 60 eggs are laid and fertilized via the dummy-egg method. The female mouth broods the eggs for 20-25 days. The female continues her cave for 8-10 days after the fry are free-swimming. The young can be fed Artemia, Cyclops, Daphnia and dry foods.
BP: 6. Breeding is fairly easy.
R: Several populations that greatly vary in color and pattern are available. In addition to the many color varieties, there are several species that are sold as P. zebra. Many of these have not been scientifically described but are known as Pseudotropheus species aff zebra. The zebra will change colors depending on its mood.
DC: 5. An aggressive fish that should be combined with other robust mbunas.

Lend Support | Suggestions
Fish Home | Rain Forest Info | Travel Images | Mongabay Home


By Rhett Butler







FISH

Preface
Introduction
Fish Anatomy
Water Chemistry
The Aquarium
Plant Care
Plant Species
Food
Disease
Biotope Aquaria
   Ecosystems
   Country Database
Breeding Fish
Aquarium Photos


Fish Species
   Catfish
   Characins
   Cichlids
   Cyprinds
   Killifish
   Labyrinth Fish
   Livebearers
   Loaches
   Others
   Perches
   Rainbowfish
Non-fish Species


Languages
   Chinese
   Croatian
   Finnish
   German
   Japanese
   Portuguese
   Spanish
Bibliography
Links
Resources
MONGABAY.COM

About
Contact
Newsletter
Environmental news
Rainforests
Books
Rainforests for Kids
Madagascar
Environmental news






what's new | tropical fish home | rainforests | news | search | about | contact

Copyright Rhett Butler 1994-2013

If you find errors, such as outdated scientific names, please feel free to send corrections to us.