a member of the family
commonly known as a cihclid. The Labidochromis is native to Lake Malawi
in Africa. Lake Malawi is situated between Malawi, Mozambique, and
Tanzania. It is the third largest lake on the continent of Africa and
the eight largest in the world.
Labidochromis is part
of a group of fish collectively referred
to as African cichlids or Malawi cichlids.
The Labidochromis is
commonly called an electric yellow cichlid due to it vibrant yellow
palette. Its colors are almost as
brilliant as that of the saltwater
faring yellow tang.
to as a mbuna. Mbuna means rockfish in
the native tongue of the Tonga people from Malawi. Mbuna refers to a
large group of cichlids native to Lake Malawi. These rock-dwellers live
in piles of rocks, caves or other openings in the lake.
unknown to aquarium keepers until 1986. They
where “discovered” by Stuart Grant and his divers
at Lion’s Cove,
Malawi in 1980. Stuart Grant gathered a small number of specimens but
refused to mass-collect them because of their small numbers.
more interesting from there.
noticed these beautiful yellow mbuna in
Stuart Grant’s fish tanks. They requested that he collect
export. He promptly refused fearing the exotic species would be driven
into extinction in the wild. The Swedes bribed one of his divers who
took them to Lion’s Cove where they had been discovered.
Two of these
creatures were given to Pierre Brichard as a
gift. He was so impressed with them that he took them to his fish
operation along Lake Tanganyika, in Burundi. Within six years he
managed to breed 20,000 Labidochromis, all descendants of the original
pair. They were introduced to the public in 1986 and sold for a rather
hefty price. This is quite understandable given their bright color
palette and the fact that they were a previously unknown species.
Since then, the Labidochromis has become popular with freshwater
aquarists because it intense color so closely rivals those of saltwater
species. They reach 3-4 inches as adults and have a lifespan of
approximately 10 years.
Labidochromis are docile in nature. They lack the aggressive
instinct common to many African cichlids. They make wonderful additions
to a community tank provided it has an abundance of rock formations and
caves. You should avoid mixing them with more aggressive cichlids or
other aggressive species. Labidochromis are very social. They function
better in groups.
Lake Malawi’s waters are slightly alkaline with a pH level of
7.5-8.0. Water temperature range between 72-78°F. Any species
the lake will thrive in these conditions.
Labidochromis are omnivores. They will be just fine given a diet of
common variety tropical fish flakes.
The Male fish typically have more black on their dorsal fins than
the females. Unlike many cichlids, Labidochromis are not monogamous.
They have demonstrated no indication of pairing up other than during
the spawning cycle.
All cichlids from Lake Malawi are mouth brooders. Their eggs
incubate in their mouths until they hatch. The mother will continue to
hold the small fry in her mouth once they are born to protect them from
being eaten. They will inhabit her mouth for the first month of their
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