Labidochromis Cichlid

Labidochromis Cichlids are a type of Mbuna cichlids native to Lake Malawi in Africa. Labidochromis cichlids are not as aggressive as other Mbuna cichlids, making them a popular freshwater aquarium fish. Yellow lab (Labidochromis caeruleus) are ideal starter mbuna fish for anyone looking to get into African cichlids. Labidochromis cichlids are rock dwellers and can be found in the wild swimming around rocks and caves rather than in the open water. Under the right water conditions, labidochromis cichlids can be bred at home. They are mouth brooders where the mother keeps her eggs in her mouth, the breeding process is very fascinating to watch. Below you will find more information on Labidochromis cichlids and on how to care for your Labidochromis cichlid.

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How Big are Labidochromis Cichlids?

Labidochromis cichlids are small cichlids and can grow to 2-4 inches in length.

Are Labidochromis Cichlids Aggressive?

Labidochromis cichlids are not as aggressive as the other Mbuna cichlids. It’s a top choice African cichlid for a beginners tank.

What Water Parameters are Ideal for Labidochromis Cichlids?

Labidochromis cichlids will thrive in hard water tank that is set at 78-82 F at a PH level of 7.8 to 8.6.

How Many Labidochromis Cichlids Can You Fit in a 75 Gallon Tank?

You can fit 19 Labidochromis cichlids in a 75 gallon tank. Use the Mbuna Tank Calculator below to compute how many mbuna cichlids can fit in your tank.

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Aquarium Set Up for Labidochromis Cichlids

The Labidochromis Cichlids are rock dwellers. In its natural habitat at Lake Malawi, Labidochromis Cichlids are often seen swimming around the rocks and caves. In order to make your Labidochromis Cichlids feel at home, you need to recreate the rocky environment of Lake Malawi in your fish tank. Set up the aquarium with plenty of rocks and caves for hiding with a sandy bottom.You can buy caves and rocks from amazon or go out and find some in your backyard. Be careful, don’t stack rocks precariously, they can fall on your cichlids!

Infographic on Labidochromis Cichlid

Below you will find an infographic on Labidochromis cichlids.

Types of Labidochromis Cichlids

There are over 15 species of Labidochromis cichlids. Below are the more popular Labidochromis cichlids.

Yellow Lab Cichlid (Labidochromis caeruleus)
Red Top Hongi Cichlid (Labidochromis sp. “Hongi”)
Chisumulu Pearl

How to Decrease Labidochromis Cichlids Aggressive Behavior?

Labidochromis Cichlids are naturally territorial and aggressive. There are ways to decrease aggressive behavior amongst Labidochromis Cichlids. One way to decrease aggression is to have a big group of Labidochromis Cichlids in the tank. You need a minimum of 8 Labidochromis Cichlids per tank, this will diffuse the aggressiveness towards one particular cichlid because there are many cichlids in the tank. Another way to decrease Labidochromis Cichlids aggressive behavior towards each other is to have a bigger fish tank. At a minimum you need a 60 gallon tank but if you can fit a 100 or 150 gallon tank, you are better off and will likely decrease aggressiveness because they have space to stake out their territory. You can also try to decrease Labidochromis Cichlids aggressive behavior by adding more aquarium rocks and decor, this will create more hiding places, restrict line of sight and diffuse aggressiveness towards each other.

What to Feed Labidochromis Cichlids

Labidochromis Cichlids are omnivores. In the wild, they feed on aufwuchs and other organisms. Aufwuchs are algae that grows on rocks. Feed your Labidochromis Cichlids pellets

How to Breed Labidochromis Cichlids

Labidochromis Cichlids are mouth brooders. Start off with a harem of cichlids, have 1 male and 3 females.

Breeding starts with the male Labidochromis cichlid chasing after the female, doing his mating dance to get her to start spawning. When the female Labidochromis cichlid is ready, she will lay her eggs. He will then fertilize the eggs and then she will pick up the eggs and keep them in her mouth.

The eggs will stay in her mouth and hatch in 10-14 days. The female Labidochromis cichlid will continue keeping the fry in her mouth for another one or two weeks. Even after releasing the cichlid fry, if there is danger or at night, the mother Labidochromis cichlid may bring back her babies into her mouth for safety.

During the time when her babies are in her mouth, the mother Labidchromis cichlid will not be eating so she will become weak. 

It’s best to separate the mother and baby away from the other adult Labidochromis cichlid. If you keep the mother Labidochromis cichlid with the other adult Labidochromis cichlid, you risk the babies getting eaten. I’d do the separating after the eggs are fertilized by removing the male Labidochromis cichlid and not removing the mother Labidochromis. It’s too stressful for the mother to be moved to a new tank, you risk her spitting out the babies.

Mouth brooding Labidochromis Cichlids is fun and rewarding. They   can easily be bred at home with ideal water conditions and aquarium set up.

Below is an infograph showing how Mbuna cichlids breed.

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