Are you thinking of starting an African cichlid tank? Want to start with Mbuna cichlids? Need advice on which Mbuna cichlids are the least aggressive? Here is our list of the least aggressive Mbuna cichlids.
Are Mbuna Cichlids Aggressive?
Mbuna cichlids are naturally aggressive and territorial. However, you can get Mbuna cichlids that are not very aggressive and can be peaceful fish in your aquarium. The peaceful Mbuna cichlids are the best cichlids for beginners.
Best Mbuna Cichlids for Beginners
1. Yellow Lab (Labidochromis Caeruleus)
Yellow Lab (Labidochromis Caeruleus) is a peaceful mbuna cichild making it a great beginners cichlid to care for. Yellow Labs are also sometimes called Electric Yellow, Yellow Prince or Lemon Yellow Lab. It is known for its vibrant yellow coloring. Yellow Lab Cichlids can grow up to 6 inches long. They prefer hard water with water temperature of 78-82F (25C-28C) and PH level of 7.8 to 8.6. Yellow Lab cichlids are omnivores. Its peaceful temperament and attractive coloring makes yellow lab one of the most popular african cichlid.
2. Rusty Cichlid (Iodotropheus sperengerea)
Rusty cichlids (Iodotropheus sperengerea) are Mbuna cichlids. They are non-territorial African cichlids. Characterized by its unique rust coloring and rounder shape, Mbuna cichlids are attractive African cichlids to keep in the aquarium. Male Mbuna cichlids will have lilac color in the body. Rusty Cichlids can grow up to 4 inches long. They prefer hard water with water temperature of 78-82F (25C-28C) and PH level of 7.8 to 8.6. Rusty Cichlids are herbivores. Feed them Vegetarian Cichlid Pellets.
3. Labidochromis perlmutt
Labidochromis perlmutt are semi-peaceful African cichlid, making them great for beginners. They are characterized by its white color with yellow dorsal fins. Females will have black stripes while males are white. Labidochromis perlmutt are omnivores and can be fed cichlid pellets.
4. Pseudotropheus acei
Pseudotropheus acei are popular mbuna cichlids for beginners. They are peaceful Mbuna cichlids, non-territorial schooling African cichlids. The purple bodies with yellow fins of Pseudotropheus acei will look great in any tank. Pseudotropheus acei can grow big up to 6 inches long so you should keep them in a big tank, at least 75 gallons. They prefer hard water with water temperature of 78-82F (25C-28C) and PH level of 7.8 to 8.6. Pseudotropheus acei are herbivores, feed them Vegetarian Cichlid Pellets.
4. Pseudotropheus saulosi
Pseudotropheus saulosi are great mbuna cichlids for beginners. They are peaceful Mbuna cichlids. The nice thing about Pseudotropheus saulosi are the females look different from the males so you get a nice color variety even if you keep a species only tank. The male pseudotropheus saulosi have blue color with indigo bars and the female pseudotropheus saulosi are vibrant yellow. They are small Mbuna cichlids growing to 3.5 inches. For a species only tank, you can house Pseudotropheus saulosi in a 50 gallon tank but if mixed with other Mbuna fish then you should house them in at least 75 gallons. They prefer hard water with water temperature of 78-82F (25C-28C) and PH level of 7.8 to 8.6. Pseudotropheus acei are herbivores, feed them Vegetarian Cichlid Pellets.
5. Cynotilapia zebroide
Cynotilapia zebroide are great African Cichlids for beginners. They are dwarf mbuna cichlids growing to 3 inches long. Male cynotilapia zebroide have beautiful indigo stripes with grey blue and yellow body coloring while the female cynotilapia zebroide are less colorful with yellow fins and brown body. They can be territorial but under the right aquarium environment they can also be a peaceful Mbuna. Cynotilapia zebroide are omnivores and can be fed cichlid pellets.
6. Cynotilapia Afra
Cynotilapia Afra is another good Mbuna cichlid for beginners. Cynotilapia afra is also called dogtooth cichlid or afra cichlid. It is characterized by its blue and black stripes. It is a small cichlid growing to 4 inches or 10 cm. Cynotilapia Afra are omnivores and can be fed cichlid pellets.
How Many Mbuna cichlids in Aquarium?
The ideal ratio is 8-10 Mbunas per 30 gallon tank. Use the Mbuna Fishtank Calculator below to determine how many Mbuna can fit in your tank. At a minimum you should have a tank of at least 50 gallons. You can mix species of Mbuna but make sure you have groups of at least 4 per species.
Can You Mix Mbuna Cichlids with Other Fish?
As a beginner, its best to stick to species specific tank. The challenges with keeping Mbuna cichlids are they are aggressive and territorial fish. Although the list above are the least aggressive and beginner friendly mbuna cichlids, they can still be aggressive if you make the mistake of mixing incompatible fish.
The safest best for you is to keep a tank of just the same species. For example, a Yellow lab cichlid only tank is safest. However, if you need to mix with other fish because you want to add more color to your tank, then I suggest mixing yellow lab cichlids with rusty cichlids. You can also have a tank of pseudotropheus saulosi only tank- the males are blue and females are yellow so you are getting two colors in one species.
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