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Powder Blue Cichlid

(Pseudotropheus socolofi)

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 Quick Care Facts

• Care Level: Easy   • Temperament: Semi-aggressive   • Maximum Size: 5"
• Minimum Tank Size: 70 gallons   • Water Conditions: 75-82° F, KH 10-25, pH 7.5-8.8
• Diet: Herbivore   • Origin: Lake Malawi   • Family: Cichlidae
• Species: African Cichlid   • Aquarium Type: African Cichlid, Rift Lake

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Species Information

Powder Blue Cichlid native habitat, distribution, behavior & aquarium compatibility.

Native to the coastal waters of Lake Malawi near Mozambique, the Powder Blue Cichlid (Pseudotropheus socolofi) is found living just off the rocky shoreline in an area of mixed rocks and sand flats between the shore and deeper regions of the lake. They stay close to areas with rock caves and crevices on which they feed on algae and micro-crustaceans, and where they can retreat to the safety of a cave or rocky crevice if they feel threatened by large fish species.

As far as mbuna species go, the Powder Blue Cichlid is by far more peaceful than most. This along with their brilliant coloration and pattern has made them a very popular species for hobbyists keeping African Cichlids. While more peaceful than most mbuna species, this species is not suitable for aquariums housing community fish or South American Cichlids.

Hobbyists should aquascape the aquarium with mitigating territorial aggression in mind. Proper aquarium decor design, aquarium size and aquarium tank mates will play a crucial role in whether the Powder Blue Cichlid and its African Cichlid tank mates aggression is properly mitigated. The Aquarium Care section below covers the most effective ways to aquascape an African Cichlid tank in order to mitigate aggression and allow for keeping different species together in an African Cichlid community tank.

Aquarium Care

How to successfully keep Powder Blue Cichlid in the home aquarium.

When keeping groups of African Cichlids, they should generally be kept in aquariums of 75 gallons or larger in order to provide enough room to properly recreate their natural environment. It is important to provide plenty of rocky caves and crevices to provide the fish with hiding places, along with adequate territory and places to graze for algae growth.

Most African Cichlids are pretty territorial, thus the aquarium should be decorated in such a way to provide them with enough caves and rocky formations to both establish their own territory and still have adequate swimming room. By distributing rock formations and suitable plants like Anubias all over the substrate of the aquarium with open swimming room above, the hobbyist creates distributed territory that allows for more fish to be kept in a single aquarium. If only one or two areas of the tank have well defined territories in the form of just a few rocks or plants and too much open area at the substrate level, a few dominant males will claim the limited territory and fight with the other tank mates continually.

Provide plenty of rocks within the aquarium in order to create surface area for algae growth, which is a very beneficial secondary food source the Powder Blue Cichlid and other herbivores and omnivores living within the aquarium. Like many species of African Cichlids, the Powder Blue Cichlid is semi-aggressive and proper stocking and aquascaping should be well thought out to prevent severe territorial battles between aquarium inhabitants.

Feeding & Nutrition

How to properly feed Powder Blue Cichlid and provide a healthy diet.

The Powder Blue Cichlid feeds primarily on algae, plant matter and the micro crustaceans found living on the algae and plants they graze on. In the aquarium environment, hobbyists will want to feed this species a diet based on vegetable and plant matter in the form of a high quality vegetable based flake or pellet food along with naturally occurring algae growth within the aquarium.

Additionally, they should be provided with blanched spinach, nori or other similar foods from time to time. While they may also consume meaty or combination flake or pellet foods designed for omnivorous African Cichlid species, the bulk of their diet should come from vegetable based foods in order for them to maintain a healthy immune system.

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