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Livingston's Cichlid
(Nimbochromis livingstonii) Easy Semi-aggressive 10" male, 8" female 75 gallons 75-82° F, KH 10-25, pH 7.5-8.8 Piscivore, Carnivore Lake Malawi Cichlidae African Cichlid Cichlid-African The Livingston's Cichlid (Nimbochromis livingstonii) is from the inshore areas of the African rift lake, Lake Malawi. They grow to about 10" (males) and 8" (females), have a tall laterally compressed body and a large mouth for the overall size of the fish. Livingston's Cichlid patrol the sandy inshore areas of the lake looking for small fish to prey on. When insufficient quantities of prey fish are available, the Livingston's Cichlid will resort to an ambush hunting strategy where it will mimic a dead fish by laying on the substrate, only to quickly lunge at the prey and swallows it whole. Livingston's Cichlids are not suitable for the average Lake Malawi Cichlid community aquarium. They reach roughly twice the size of many of the more commonly kept Malawi Cichlid species and are ambush predators who feed exclusively on other fish in the wild. They will spend their time in the aquarium hanging motionless around rocky formations or lying "playing dead" on the substrate as they attempt to lure in smaller fish on which to prey. However, hobbyists can easily integrate the Livingston's Cichlid with suitable larger tank mates and convert them over to commercial meaty foods designed for African Cichlids, after which they make for interesting inhabitants for any non-standard Malawi Cichlid aquarium. Adult Livingston's Cichlids when housed with other similarly sized African Cichlids will do best in an aquarium of 75 gallons or more. A single specimen or pair can be kept in aquariums as small as 45 gallons. Suitable tank mates include large mbuna, other large rift lake cichlid species and catfish. In nature the Livingstons Cichlid is a loner and thus should be kept as a single specimen in the aquarium or if breeding is to be attempted, as a harem with several females and a single male. Average sized aquariums will not be large enough to provide enough territory for multiple males to coexist. When housing African Cichlids in community aquariums it is important that they be kept in aquariums of 75 gallons or larger in order to provide enough room to properly recreate their natural environment. Provide plenty of rocky caves and crevices in order 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. All forms of standard aquarium filtration including: power filter, canister, sump based and even sponge filters are suitable for providing adequate filtration for keeping African Cichlids. It is recommended that a power head be used to provide additional water flow to increase dissolved oxygen and keep detritus and debris suspended in the water column so that it can be removed by the mechanical filtration. Regular partial water changes will help keep nitrate levels low and overall water quality high, with frequency depending on tank size, stocking levels, amount of feedings and level of filtration being used on the tank. In their native Lake Malawi the Livingston's Cichlid feeds almost exclusively on small fish. They are known for their ambush tactics, where they will lie on the substrate on their side as if dead and wait for small fish to come in close looking for an easy meal. Once their target fish is within range they will quickly lunge at the prey attempting to swallow it whole. Locals who have observed their ambush tactic have dubbed them the kalingono or sleeper fish. Despite being a piscivore in their natural habitat, the Livingston's Cichlid will quickly adjust to being a carnivore in the aquarium environment feeding readily on all manner of commercial meaty foods designed for Cichlids. Juveniles can be fed commercial flake, freeze-dried or small pellet foods and frozen foods. Adult specimens should be offered larger pellet foods or larger frozen food like krill, chopped clams or squid. Hobbyists can also feed home made foods comprised of chopped fish, prawns, shrimp or other meaty aquatic items, combined with liquid vitamins designed for African Cichlids. It is best not include animal meat of any kind when making home made food for African Cichlids, as their digestive system is not designed to process it and it can lead to digestive problems over time. Males are polygamous and will mate with multiple females if given the chance. This species is an mouth brooder with the female incubating upwards of 100 eggs in her mouth until they hatch and the fry become free swimming. An ideal breeding environment would consist of a 75 gallon (48" length) aquarium with a soft sandy substrate, areas with smooth or flat rocks and an area with tall grass like plants. This will give the breeding colony potential spawning areas and provide the fish with a sense of security, as opposed to a bare aquarium. Water quality should be excellent a pH of 8.0-8.5 and a temperature between 78-82°F being ideal. A breeding group should consist of a single male and 3-6 females, and it is highly recommended that they are fed a high quality, meat-based diet consisting of frozen or freshly prepared raw foods. The male will exhibit an intense blue coloration when he is ready to spawn, and will choose a location in the aquarium as the spawning site. Spawning sites generally consist of a flat rock located on the substrate or an area in the substrate that the male will excavate by digging a depression in the substrate. Spawning occurs in a similar fashion to many other mouth brooding Cichlids, with the female laying a line of eggs before moving away and allowing the male to take her place and fertilize them. At which time she will return to the site, pick up the fertilized eggs in her mouth and then lay down another batch of eggs. The female will carry the eggs for about 3 to 4 weeks before they hatch releasing the free swimming fry. She will not eat during this time and can be easily spotted by her distended mouth and brooding coloration, consisting of dark blotched patterning. Females are notorious for spitting out the brood early when stressed, so extreme care should be taken if you decide to move the fish or disturb their breeding aquarium. Once the fry are released from their mothers mouth, they are large enough to accept brine shrimp nauplii. It is also worth noting that if a female is kept away from the larger colony in the main aquarium for too long, she may lose her position in the pecking order of the larger group. Females moved to a separate breeding aquarium should be given ample time to feed and strengthen before being returned to a larger community aquarium. Some breeders will artificially strip the fry from the mother’s mouth at the 2 week stage and raise them from that point on in a separate aquarium, and this usually results in a larger number of fry.
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Powder Blue Cichlid
(Pseudotropheus socolofi) Easy Semi-aggressive 5" 75 gallons 75-82° F, KH 10-25, pH 7.5-8.8 Herbivore Lake Malawi Cichlidae African Cichlid Cichlid-African 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. 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. 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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Khris DeCapua
Cobalt Blue Zebra
(Maylandia callainos) Easy Aggressive 5" 50 gallons 75-82° F, KH 10-15, pH 7.8-8.8 Herbivore Lake Malawi Cichlidae African Cichlid Cichlid-African The Cobalt Blue Zebra (Maylandia callainos) is endemic to Lake Malawi, where it is most commonly found living in the north and north eastern areas of the lake. They are found living in rocky formations along the shoreline, where they live in and around rock caves and crevices. Cobalt Blue Zebra Cichlid are very territorial and once they have established themselves within a particular area they will defend their turf very aggressively. Cobalt Blue Zebra Cichlid were formerly classified as Pseudotropheus callainos or Metriaclima callainos and is still often referenced by these names by many sources. The genus name Maylandia is now used to describe all former members of the (zebra) group of Pseudotropheus. Hobbyists should either keep a small group of a single male specimen and 2 or 3 female Cobalt Blue Zebras together in an aquarium that is either large enough to provide adequate territory or overcrowded with enough African Cichlids so that no single specimen can establish its own territory. In either scenario, a 50 gallon or larger aquarium is recommended with a substrate of either sand or mixed sand and crushed coral. Plenty of rock formations, rock piles or rocky caves should be included with some vegetation consisting of fake plants or very hardy hard water plants. Hobbyists can successful keep this species in small groups in smaller aquariums or mixed with large numbers of specimens in larger African Cichlid aquariums. When kept in larger community aquariums they must be provided adequate filtration, plenty of dissolved oxygen and have their territorial nature accommodated either by aquarium size and aquascaping or mitigated via over crowding. In order to replicate the waters of their natural habitat, hobbyists will want to provide plenty of water surface agitation or wet/dry filtration to provide high levels of dissolved oxygen within the aquarium. The main tank filtration should consist of a canister filter or wet/dry filter with additional water movement via a powerhead being recommended. The aquarium decor should provide plenty of rocky formations which provide caves and crevices for the fish to retreat to when it feels threatened, along with open sandy areas for swimming. Hardy plants that can tolerate the high pH of the African Rift Lake environment are also recommended for their looks and additional filtration properties. Cobalt Blue Zebra Cichlid will accept most commercial fish foods designed for Cichlids; however, it is essential that they receive a large amount of vegetable matter in their diet. Being a herbivore, their diet should consist of mostly vegetable matter either via commercial herbivore flakes and pellets or through fresh blanched vegetables like spinach, greens or other similar foodstuffs. Hobbyists looking to breed Cobalt Blue Zebra will want to keep a single male specimen with three to four females in a 4o to 50 gallon aquarium setup specifically for breeding. The males are easily identified as they are far more brightly colored than females. A proper breeding aquarium setup will include a few flat stones and areas of open substrate that the fish can use as a spawning site. The aquarium conditions should be maintained at a constant 8.2 to 8.4 pH and 78 to 80°F temperature. The fish should also be fed either live or high quality frozen foods to ensure that they have all the vitamins and minerals they need. When the male is preparing to breed he will exhibit very intense coloration and will choose a spawning site that he will then attempt to attract one of the females to join him and mate. In addition to exhibiting brilliant coloration, the male will also aggressively court the females by pursuing them vigorously about the tank. Because of this aggressive courting behaviour it is important to have a group of females in the tank so that the males overtures are spread out amongst the group and do not overwhelm a single female. Once a female has been successfully courted, she will lay her eggs in the nesting site that the male has prepared. The female will then scoop the eggs up into her mouth, during which the male which exhibits egg shapes spots on his tail fins will swim in front of the female and deposit his sperm while the female and the eggs are next to his tail fin. The female will carry the eggs in her mouth for about 1 month before she release the free swimming fry. It is important that the female is not stressed during this time as she will not be feeding and will be somewhat weak from lack of food and carrying the fry in her mouth. If she is stressed she may spit out the brood prematurely or even eat the young fry. It is for this reason that the other breeding fish should be removed from the aquarium so as not to cause undue stress to the brooding mother. However, once the female has released the fry from her mouth she should be returned to the main group of fish, so that she does not lose her place in the group hierarchy.
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Liz Nieves
Maingano Cichlid
(Melanochromis cyaneorhabdos) Easy Aggressive 4" 55 gallons 76-84° F, KH 10-25, pH 7.8-8.8 Herbivore Lake Malawi Cichlidae African Cichlid Cichlid-African Hailing from the shallow waters of the banks and tributaries of Lake Malawi, Africa, the Maingano Cichlid is priced within the aquarium hobby for its beautiful dark blue and black coloration and unique color pattern. In the wild, the Maingano Cichlid is found inhabiting the shallow rocky shorelines of the northern and north eastern areas of Lake Malawi. They are very aggressive and territorial in nature, with a single male specimen dominating a small area of rocky caves and crevices and a small group of female specimens. There natural habitat consists of shallow rocky shoreline flats, with highly oxygenated waters and an abundance of small rock caves and crevices. Ideally, aquarium hobbyists should keep a small group of a single male specimen and 2 or 3 female Naingano Cichlids together in an aquarium that is either large enough to provide adequate territory or overcrowded with African Cichlids so that no single specimen can establish its own territory. In either scenario, a 55 gallon or larger aquarium is recommended with a substrate of either sand or mixed sand and crushed coral. Plenty of rock formations, rock piles or rocky caves should be included with some vegetation. Maingano Cichlids are used to warm waters and high levels of dissolved oxygen within the water. Hobbyists can successful keep this species in small groups in smaller aquariums or mixed with large numbers of specimens in larger African Cichlid aquariums, provided adequate filtration and dissolved oxygen are provided. In order to replicate the waters of their natural habitat, hobbyists will want to provide plenty of water surface agitation or wet/dry filtration to provide high levels of dissolved oxygen within the aquarium. The main tank filtration should consist of a canister filter or wet/dry filter with additional water movement via a powerhead being recommended. The aquarium decor should provide plenty of open sandy areas for swimming combined with plenty of rocky formations to provide caves and crevices for the fish to retreat to when it feels threatened. Hardy plants that can tolerate the high pH of the African Rift Lake environment are also recommended for their looks and additional filtration properties. Maingano Cichlid will accept most any type of foods that are offered, but they need a good amount of vegetable matter in the form of spirulina flakes, blanched spinach etc. Vegetable matter should form a large proportion of their diet, with meaty foods being a supplement. Hobbyists should feed quality flake, freeze-dried or frozen foods a couple of times a day in amounts that the fish will consume within a few minutes. Maingano Cichlids are not too difficult to breed in the home aquarium when provided the proper environment. Hobbyists will want to isolate a small group consisting of a single male and 3 to 5 females in a species only aquarium setup. The tank should be about 30 gallons in size and be furnished with areas of open substrate and a few large flat stones or slate. It is important to closely replicate the water conditions that the Maingano Cichlid would expect during the breeding season, which consist of a pH between 8.2 & 8.5 and a temperature around 80°F. It is very important that the water quality is excellent and that the fish are fed a high quality diet consisting mainly of quality frozen foods with plenty of vegetable matter. When the male is preparing to breed he will exhibit very intense coloration and will choose a spawning site that he will then attempt to attract one of the females to join him and mate. In addition to exhibiting brilliant coloration, the male will also aggressively court the females by pursuing them vigorously about the tank. Because of this aggressive courting behaviour it is important to have a group of females in the tank so that the males overtures are spread out amongst the group and do not overwhelm a single female. Once a female has been successfully courted, she will lay her eggs in the nesting site that the male has prepared. The female will then scoop the eggs up into her mouth, during which the male which exhibits egg shapes spots on his tail fins will swim in front of the female and deposit his sperm while the female and the eggs are next to his tail fin. The female will carry the eggs in her mouth for about 1 month before she release the free swimming fry. It is important that the female is not stressed during this time as she will not be feeding and will be somewhat weak from lack of food and carrying the fry in her mouth. If she is stressed she may spit out the brood prematurely or even eat the young fry. It is for this reason that the other breeding fish should be removed from the aquarium so as not to cause undue stress to the brooding mother. However, once the female has released the fry from her mouth she should be returned to the main group of fish, so that she does not lose her place in the group hierarchy.
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Malawi Eye-Biter
(Dimidiochromis compressiceps) Easy Semi-aggressive 10" 70 gallons 76-82° F, KH 10-25, pH 7.5-8.6 Carnivore Lake Malawi Cichlidae African Cichlid Cichlid-African The Malawi Eye-Biter is one of those fish species that has a well deserved common name that clearly illustrates its behavior. Malawi Eye-Biters are well known for their propensity to bite or eat the eyes out of smaller fish species before consuming them tail first. Both habitats are a bit unusual as most fish simply swallow their prey head first and do not specifically attack the preys eyes. With a well deserved reputation such as this it is understandable that this species is not suited for most community African Cichlid aquariums. Malawi Eye-Biter need to be house with larger species that will not be considered as a food source. A general rule of thumb is that Malawi Eye-Biter tank mates be at least six inches in length or just over half as long as an adult Malawi Eye-Biter. This species is endemic to all of Lake Malawi and are commonly collected for the aquarium trade, where they are typically sold as Malawi Eye-Biters or Compressiceps Cichlids. The Malawi Eye-Biter (Dimidiochromis compressiceps) grows to about 10 to 11 inches in length and requires an aquarium of at least 70 gallons in size, but does better in a longer aquarium like a 125 gallon. A larger properly aqua-scaped aquarium will provide more suitable territory, which will allow the Malawi Eye-Biter to co-exist more easily with other large African Cichlid tank mates. Their large mouths and aggressive temperament make the Malawi Eye-Biter unsuitable for most African community aquariums where there is a wide variety in the sizes of the fish. However, they do fine with tank mates that are not seen as a prey item, ie. too large to fit in their mouth. They do best in aquariums designed to replicate the shoreline of their natural Lake Malawi habitat. Ideal tank decor would include a sandy substrate, large smooth rocks piles or caves, open swimming areas and areas of vegetation. They are accustomed to living in shallow water that reaches temperatures well into the 80's during the middle of the day, thus will prefer aquariums with water temperatures between 79 to 82°F. Malawi Eye-Biter live near the shoreline where there are not strong water currents like that produced from power heads or filter returns, thus they will appreciate an aquarium environment with gentle or indirect water flow. In their natural habitat the Malawi Eye-Biter feeds primarily on smaller fish that it hunts for in the vegetation growing along the Lake Malawi shore line. They will readily consume any fish in the aquarium small enough for them to fit in their mouth, including both bait fish and fellow tank mates. Malawi Eye-Biters can easily be weaned off of live fish for a variety of other dead meaty foods, which is generally safer and more cost effective. Fresh or frozen foods like silver sides, lance fish, mussels, prawns, cockle and other similar meaty items make excellent food choices. They can also be fed a quality pellet or frozen preparation designed for carnivorous African Cichlid species once they are weaned from live foods. It is best to feed them multiple smaller feedings per day and to monitor their overall growth to determine the ideal feeding regimen.
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Albino Malawi Eye-Biter
(Dimidiochromis compressiceps) Easy Semi-aggressive 10" 70 gallons 76-82° F, KH 10-25, pH 7.5-8.6 Carnivore Lake Malawi Cichlidae African Cichlid Cichlid-African The Albino Malawi Eye-Biter is one of those fish species that has a well deserved common name that clearly illustrates its behavior. Albino Malawi Eye-Biters are well known for their propensity to bite or eat the eyes out of smaller fish species before consuming them tail first. Both habitats are a bit unusual as most fish simply swallow their prey head first and do not specifically attack the preys eyes. With a well deserved reputation such as this it is understandable that this species is not suited for most community African Cichlid aquariums. Albino Malawi Eye-Biter need to be house with larger species that will not be considered as a food source. A general rule of thumb is that Albino Malawi Eye-Biter tank mates be at least six inches in length or just over half as long as an adult Albino Malawi Eye-Biter. This species is endemic to all of Lake Malawi and are commonly collected for the aquarium trade, where they are typically sold as Albino Malawi Eye-Biters or Albino Compressiceps Cichlids. The Albino Malawi Eye-Biter (Dimidiochromis compressiceps) grows to about 10 to 11 inches in length and requires an aquarium of at least 70 gallons in size, but does better in a longer aquarium like a 125 gallon. A larger properly aqua-scaped aquarium will provide more suitable territory, which will allow the Albino Malawi Eye-Biter to co-exist more easily with other large African Cichlid tank mates. Their large mouths and aggressive temperament make the Albino Malawi Eye-Biter unsuitable for most African community aquariums where there is a wide variety in the sizes of the fish. However, they do fine with tank mates that are not seen as a prey item, ie. too large to fit in their mouth. They do best in aquariums designed to replicate the shoreline of their natural Lake Malawi habitat. Ideal tank decor would include a sandy substrate, large smooth rocks piles or caves, open swimming areas and areas of vegetation. They are accustomed to living in shallow water that reaches temperatures well into the 80's during the middle of the day, thus will prefer aquariums with water temperatures between 79 to 82°F. Albino Malawi Eye-Biter live near the shoreline where there are not strong water currents like that produced from power heads or filter returns, thus they will appreciate an aquarium environment with gentle or indirect water flow. In their natural habitat the Albino Malawi Eye-Biter feeds primarily on smaller fish that it hunts for in the vegetation growing along the Lake Malawi shore line. They will readily consume any fish in the aquarium small enough for them to fit in their mouth, including both bait fish and fellow tank mates. Albino Malawi Eye-Biters can easily be weaned off of live fish for a variety of other dead meaty foods, which is generally safer and more cost effective. Fresh or frozen foods like silver sides, lance fish, mussels, prawns, cockle and other similar meaty items make excellent food choices. They can also be fed a quality pellet or frozen preparation designed for carnivorous African Cichlid species once they are weaned from live foods. It is best to feed them multiple smaller feedings per day and to monitor their overall growth to determine the ideal feeding regimen.
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Yellow Peacock
(Aulonocara baenschi) Moderate Semi-aggressive 6" 55 gallons 76-84° F, KH 10-25, pH 7.5-8.8 Carnivore Lake Malawi Cichlidae African Cichlid Cichlid-African The Yellow Peacock (Aulonocara baenschi) is endemic to Lake Malawi and the areas of around Nkhomo reef and Kande Island. They are generally found living where the rocky shoreline transitions into the more sandy substrate of the lake bottom. Yellow Peacocks feed in a similar fashion as Geophagus species in that they sift through the sand substrate by pushing the sand through their gills and extracting small invertebrates hidden in the sand. However, unlike the South American Geophagus, Yellow Peacocks are also active hunters that will also actively prey on small prey items that it detects moving about the substrate or if it spots movement in the sand. Like most species of African Cichlid the Yellow Peacock lives in small groups of a single male and a small group of females. They will lay claim to small piece of territory that provides them adequate feeding opportunities. Once they have established their territory they will aggressively defend it from similarly sized and patterned fish species or anything that they determine to be competition for food. Yellow Peacock (Aulonocara baenschi) make a good addition to most any community Lake Malawi aquarium, as they will generally get along with most other Lake Malawi species that do not have the same pattern and size as the Yellow Peacock. However, they are peaceful enough to keep with similar species providing the aquarium is large enough to provide multiple territories for each group of fish. Yellow Peacock Cichlids do best in Lake Malawi biotope aquariums, which contain a sand substrate, large rock piles, rocky caves and some scattered hard water tolerant plants. A sand substrate is most critical as the Yellow Peacock is a species likes to feed by taking in mouthfuls of sand and blowing it out of its gills, removing any food items it finds. Be sure to leave plenty of areas of open sand between the rocks to provide feeding areas and to create multiple territories within the aquarium. The Yellow Peacock is considered a good Rift Lake community aquarium species, as it will only exhibit aggression towards fish species that are very similar in size and pattern. Yellow Peacocks are also peaceful enough to be housed with some non Cichlid hard water Barb species and Rainbow fish. Care should be taken when keeping this species with aggressive substrate dwelling African Cichlid species as they will often be out competed for food by these more boisterous fish. The Yellow Peacock is a substrate feeder that in nature will both sand sift and actively prey on small invertebrates and crustaceans living on and in the sandy lake substrate. In the aquarium environment, the Yellow Peacock will readily accept a wide variety of commercial meaty foods. Ideally they should be fed foodstuffs that will sink to the aquarium substrate, where they can feed in a more natural manner. Commercial pellet and frozen foods designed for African Cichlids should make up the bulk of their diet, with live or frozen worms as a supplement. Given time they may become bold enough to feed from the water column; however, the hobbyist should make sure that some of the food reaches the aquarium substrate so that the Yellow Peacock can feed in a more natural manner.
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Blue Dolphin
(Cyrtocara moorii) Moderate Semi-aggressive 8" 125 gallons 78-82° F, KH 10-15, pH 7.5-8.5 Carnivore Lake Malawi Cichlidae African Cichlid Cichlid-African The Blue Dolphin Cichlid hails from the Lake Malawi rift lake and near by waterways of eastern Africa. They received their common name due to the nuchal hump on their forehead and the bill-like shape of their mouth, that combined give them a look resembling that of a dolphin. Blue Dolphins are widely distributed throughout Lake Malawi and nearby streams and water ways. They are popular with African Cichlid enthusiasts due to their attractive shape and coloration, thus they have been widely imported since the late 1960s. Blue Dolphin (Cyrtocara moorii) grow fairly large and thus requires a good sized aquarium of 125 gallons or more to properly house adult specimens. In the wild they are found living near muddy and sandy coastal areas, their aquarium environment should closely resemble their natural habitat. Provide them a sandy substrate with plenty of open swimming area and plenty of rocky caves and rock piles. A mix of sand and aragonite works well for this species as it gives the substrate a good texture and also helps to buffer the water parameters. As the Blue Dolphin generally feeds on bits of food that it picks up from the sandy substrate, it is important to have plenty of open areas in the aquarium that are unobstructed by rocks or plants. In the wild Blue Dolphins exhibit a rather unique feeding adaptation, in that they follow behind substrate feeding fish species looking for small organisms to consume. By following closely behind substrate feeding fish that stir up the sandy substrate, the Blue Dolphin is provided with a host of small organisms and meaty particles on which to feed. In the aquarium environment the Blue Dolphin can be weaned to more traditional meaty foodstuffs like pellets and freeze-dried commercial foods. Cyrtocara moorii take about 2 years to reach sexual maturity and begin spawning. Breeding pairs will typically spawn every two months, producing clutches ranging from 30 to 90 young. As spawning nears, the male will tend to develop more vivid coloration and begin to display more often to the female. The male will also begin digging a nest in the substrate in which the female can lay her eggs. The male will fertilize the eggs once laid, then the female will pick the eggs up into her mouth for protection. Approximately 20 days later the eggs will begin to hatch and the young fry will be release from their mothers mouth in about a weeks time. As is typical with other mouth brooders, the Cyrtocara moorii Cichlid does best with a single large male and multiple females in the same aquarium.
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Kenyi Cichlid
(Metriaclima lombardoi) Moderate Aggressive 6" 75 gallons 75-82° F, KH 10-15, pH 7.5-8.5 Herbivore Lake Malawi Cichlidae African Cichlid Cichlid-African Kenyi Cichlids originate from the Mbenji Island and Nkhomo Reef areas of Lake Malawi where they live near the sediment rich areas where the rocky reefs meet the sandy substrate. As a juvenile the Kenyi Cichlid exhibits a light blue and white body with darker blue vertical bars. Adult females retain the juvenile coloration, while adult males turn a vibrant orange and yellow coloration. Interestingly enough females will take on the coloration of males during mouth brooding, which is most likely to deter interference from other males looking to mate. While the Kenyi Cichlid is an attractive and interesting species, this is often overshadowed by its extreme aggressiveness. The ferocity of their territorial aggression makes this species not suitable for aquarium hobbyists who are new to keeping African Cichlids. Only hobbyists with experience mitigating African Cichlid territorial aggression should consider keeping this species. Proper aquarium decor design, aquarium size and aquarium tank mates will play a crucial role in whether the Kenyi Cichlids aggression can be mitigated, which is required to successfully integrate this species with other tank mates. Kenyi Cichlids should 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, adequate territory and places to graze for algae growth. Kenyi Cichlid 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. 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 Kenyi Cichlid and other herbivores and omnivores living within the aquarium. Like many species of African Cichlids, the Kenyi Cichlid is aggressive and proper stocking and aqua-scaping should be well thought out to prevent severe territorial battles between aquarium inhabitants. Being herbivores, the Kenyi Cichlid requires a diet based on vegetable and plant matter. They should be provided a high quality vegetable based flake or pellet food along with naturally occurring algae growth within the aquarium. They may also consume meaty or combination flake or pellet foods designed for omnivorous African Cichlid species; however, 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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Bumblebee Cichlid
(Pseudotropheus crabro) Easy Aggressive 8" 75 gallons 75-82° F, KH 10-15, pH 7.5-8.5 Omnivore Lake Malawi Cichlidae African Cichlid Cichlid-African Bumblebee Cichlid's or Crabro Cichlids originate from Lake Malawi, where they are found in deeper waters live in caves or near large rocky formations. The Bumblebee Cichlid shares these caves with the Kampango Catfish, which is a large aggressive species. The two species have a partial symbiotic relationship in that the Bumblebee Cichlid will eat parasites off of the Kampango Catfish and in return the Kampango will not eat the Bumblebee Cichlid. In the dark watery caves, the Kampango Catfish uses the lighter gold and brown/black barred pattern of the Bumblebee Cichlid to identify it and not treat it as prey. However, the Bumblebee Cichlid can rapidly change their coloration to a very dark almost black coloration that they use to mimic the appearance of the Kampango in order to feed on their eggs during breeding season. After feeding on the Kampango eggs, the Bumblebee Cichlid is quick to adjust it's coloration and pattern back to the gold and brown striped pattern so they can remain safe inside the cave with the larger catfish. Bumblebee Cichlids must be aggressive in the wild in order to coexist in close quarters with other larger predators and steal eggs while doing it, so it is important to remember that they will also be very aggressive within the aquarium environment as well. The Bumblebee Cichlid makes a great addition to aggressive African Cichlid aquariums and larger community African Cichlid aquariums provided that the habitat is properly designed and large enough to provide the necessary territories for the fish being housed. When considering a Bumblebee Cichlid for your African Cichlid aquarium, the most important aspect to consider is the aggressiveness of the species. They are easy to care for and do not have many specific needs when kept within an aquarium, but they are quite aggressive and will need to be housed with proper tank mates in a reasonably sized aquarium. It is critical to consider this when choosing tank mates as the Bumblebee Cichlid will quickly dominate less aggressive species, which could very well mean killing them. The best ways to mitigate this aggression is to keep them with other larger aggressive species, create aqua-scaping that provides a large variety of territories with plenty of caves, house them in large aquariums that will allow them to establish territory without taking over the entire aquarium and lastly, keeping them with many other aggressive species so that aggression is spread out amongst many fish. Bumblebee's will appreciate an aquarium setup that has a sandy substrate and plenty of large rocky caves. Quality biological, mechanical and chemical filtration along with partial water changes are critical to maintaining high water quality levels that mimic the water conditions of the Bumblebee Cichlids native rift lake home. The omnivorous Bumblebee Cichlid is an aggressive feeder that in the wild scratches out an existence eating parasites, stealing and eating other fishes eggs and preying on a variety of meaty planktonic foods. When kept in an aquarium environment the Bumblebee will readily accept a large variety of meaty foods including: cichlid flake, pellet, sticks, frozen and freeze-dried foods, blood worms, tubifex worms and other similar meaty foods. Simply provide them some variety to their diet so that they receive balanced nutrition and the Bumblebee Cichlid will be more than satisfied with most any meaty fare.