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Cichlids / Africa / Lake Malawi / Mbuna / Bumblebee Mbuna

Bumblebee Mbuna, Hornet Cichlid
Pseudotropheus crabro

Synonyms: None
Physical description: 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/Length: To 4" (10 cm)
Similar species: Kennyi (P. lombardoi)
Habitat: Eastern Africa, found along the rocky coast of Lake Malawi
S: bottom, middle
Aquarium: 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 chemistry: pH 7.5-8.8 (8.0), 12-25 dH (16), 75-84°F (24-29°C)
Social behavior: 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.
Suggested companions: 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.
Sexual differences: Males are slightly larger with more distinct egg-spots on the anal fin. Males are darker in color (see "Physical Description").
Breeding techniques: Breeding is similar to that of P. lombardoi.
Breeding potential: 7. Breeding is moderately difficult.
Remarks: Different color forms are known.
Difficulty of care: 4. An aggressive, little Mbuna.


By Rhett Butler   Mongabay.com