Cichlids and the Details for the Same Now

The African Cichlids are very beautiful solid fish (much less prone to disease than exotic fish), with shimmering colors and living for many years (some can live up to 15 years.). In short, what happiness is for them.

They are divided into 4 groups follow the place where they live:

  • The cichlids of Lake Tanganyka
  • Lake Victoria cichlids
  • Cichlids from Lake Malawi
  • River cichlids

Here we will focus on those from Lake Malawi. Not that the others are not interesting, but just because we started with these cichlids and we never wanted to change them. But it is quite possible that we will be interested in the other lakes thereafter maybe.

Cichlids from Lake Malawi

Cichlids from Lake Malawi fall into two groups:

  • The haplos which are carnivorous, piscivorous (can eat small cichlids)
  • M’bunas which are herbivores, alguivores, and even sometimes can eat small crustaceans, plankton etc., therefore often omnivores.

You will thus understand why it is preferable to choose one or the other of these groups because in an environment as restricted as an aquarium … it will not mix. Unless you have a large enough aquarium (700L), it is possible to mix the two groups but under supervision all the same.

The M’bunas:

The word “M’bunas” means “stone hitters”; fishermen in Malawi simply call them because when these fish feed, they pluck the algae from the rocks with their teeth; they advance on the rock and pull the algae while backing up. This back and forth movement gives the impression that they hit the rock, hence the name.

But make no mistake. M’bunas are not nice fish that eat a little algae. they are more aggressive than the territorial Haplos because they are just what it takes to avoid being bitten by your corner) and sometimes characteristic and that is precisely what makes their charm. They do not allow themselves to be done, even if they are less imposing in size (10 cm on average) than the haplos. Well yes, you have to defend yourself against big fish.

This is why it is necessary to channel their manners thanks to large heaps of rocks with holes so that they can hide and have their independent corners, and especially 2 females minimum per male , so that this one does not spend its time doing court a female and not exhaust her.

The quieter species like labidochromis can also live in groups of 4 males / 4 females or 5 males / 5 females. But not less males, because 4 or 5 males can more easily establish a hierarchy than 2 or 3 males who risk fighting too often and even end up eliminating the dominated.


Attention, not all M’bunas can live together in a reduced volume that is the aquarium: when you want to put different species, pay particular attention to hybridizations, it is not necessary to mix species of colors and very very shape close to the risk of seeing your fish cross between them.