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Cichlids / Africa / Lake Tanganyika / Frontosa

Frontosa
Cyphotilapia frontosa

Synonyms: Paratilapia frontosa, Pelmatochromis frontosus
Physical description: A high-back cichlid that develops a large hump on the forehead. The fins are elongated and come to a point at their ends. The body coloration is bright white with five or six, depending on the morph, broad black bands. The width of these bands depends on the individual, and varies from fish to fish. The fins are white to violet-blue.
Size/Length: Males to 14" (35 cm), females to 10" (25 cm)
Similar species: None
Habitat: Eastern Africa; found at depths from 30-160 feet (9-50 m), Lake Tanganyika
S: bottom, middle
Aquarium: A tank of 48" (122 cm) or 55 gallons (210 L) is sufficient for young fish that are under 6-8" (15-20 cm) in length. Larger fish should be moved to a larger tank of at least 60" (152 cm) or 90-110 gallons (342-378 L). Use a coral sand substrate and create caves and crevices with large rock structures. Plants can be used. A powerful filter should be used, although the current created must be diffused to create little or no movement.
Water chemistry: pH 7.5-9.0 (8.2), 8-22 dH (12), 77-81°F (25-27°C)
Social behavior: A peaceful, but territorial fish. The Frontosa is a semi-nocturnal feeder that stalks small, resting fish. Combine with other large pelagic (open water) Lake Tanganyika cichlids. One male should be kept with several females. Does best in schools. Colby D. writes, "Tropheus are not good tankmates for C. frontosa. Tropheus stress the more laid back frontosa."
Suggested companions: Lake Tanganyika cichlids, Synodontis, Aulonocara, Lamprichthys, Afromastacembelus
FOOD: Feeds mostly on crustaceans and fish in nature. Will also accept insect larvae, aquatic insects, chopped meat, and fresh fish.
Sexual differences: Adult males reach a greater size and have a larger cranial hump on the forehead.
Breeding techniques: Use alkaline water with a pH from 8.2-8.5, a water hardness from 10-15 dH, and a water temperature from 79-82°F (26-28°C). Use a large tank with an abundance of retreats for the female. Combine at least three females with a male. Up to 50 eggs are deposited in a cave, where they are fertilized. After fertilization the eggs are taken in the mother's mouth where they are incubated for about four to five weeks. When the fry first emerge, they measure from 0.5 to 0.6" (1.3 to 1.5 cm) long. The fry are guarded by the female for up to two weeks further, with the young being taken into her mouth at times of danger. The young can be fed Artemia and Daphnia . The young need frequent partial water changes to prosper, but are sensitive to new water. Young fish may swim in the upper tank levels.
Breeding potential: 8. Breeding is difficult.
Remarks: Fish are sexually mature at 2 years, although they are rarely ready to spawn at this time. This Lake Tanganyika cichlid needs frequent partial water changes-recommended to occur weekly. The Frontosa is sensitive to water pollutants and chemicals. A popular delicacy in Zaire.
Difficulty of care: 7. A delicate fish that develops quite an interesting color pattern. It diet must include live foods.


By Rhett Butler   Mongabay.com