Showing posts with label Mbuna. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mbuna. Show all posts


MBUNA CICHLID Breeding - Step by Step Guide To Avoid Common Mistakes!

different Mbuna from Lake Malawi
Different Mbuna from Lake Malawi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Breeding Mbuna cichlid fish is facile. To get them to spawn is to provide them with the same care and conditions as with the non-breeding Mbuna's.

Place the breeding mbuna's in a tank approximately one male to 2 - 3 female ratios. The aquarium in which they are kept must be well stocked and adding extra aeration and filtration is important as well as a frequent water change. Remember that Lake Malawi has a stable environment thus Mbuna does not appreciate rapid changes in water quality and will not breed with unstable water conditions. Keep Mbuna's in an aquarium with a pH of 7.5 - 8.5 water range and a KH/GH of 12. There should be zero contents for ammonia and nitrite and nitrate of no more than 15 ppm. More so keep the temperature at 75 - 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

For the breeding to be successful it is relevant not to overfeed your mbuna. Keep in mind that they tend to utterly eat anything and everything give to them and may easily lead to obesity which is bad for its health. Furthermore, larger mbuna's would mean fewer fishes in your aquarium plus the fact that its aggressiveness may also increase. As a result of its violence stress is manifest in your fishes hence making them less capable to breed. Not only will that, but overcrowding the aquarium may also hamper breeding as well.

Mbuna cichlid natural diet includes algae and insects. But if they are fed with prepared foods, make sure that vegetable and algae matter like Spirulina is always included.

Another important factor that mbuna's are rock dwellers, thus it is apparent that they prefer to spawn in rocks, crevices, or caves. Needless to say, when keeping and breeding mbuna's it is vital that the breeder must provide a substantial amount of hiding place with the use of rocks or caves.

Initially, breeding is noticeable when the male will start claiming a small territory which he thinks is suitable for the spawning process. It is quite obvious that the male mbuna will show himself in front of the female mbuna and starts dancing usually by causing its whole body to vibrate and its fins will start to erect.

Moreover, its color will exude more brightness than normal. If the female is also in a spawning condition, then she will willingly go with the male to its spawning site. Both the female and the male cichlid will now start to swim closely to each other in a circular motion and amazingly the female will now start depositing the eggs in the spawning location. She will then pick the eggs and put it in her mouth for guarding and at the same time receives a mouthful of sperms to fertilize the eggs.

She will continue depositing eggs in the site and the process will follow the same cycle until all the eggs are fertilized and inside her mouth. When the eggs are all kept in her mouth the male mbuna will drive away the female in its territory. The female will try to hide the fry on hiding places provided for during the aquarium set-up. Even with the meticulous caution, some of the offspring may still be eaten but at least there are also a relative amount of babies saved. Female Mbuna cichlid fish may be moved to another aquarium to increase the rate of survival of its fry.

    By Lacey Bryant
    Lacey Bryant is a cichlid enthusiast and author, who has been caring for cichlids for over 15 years. She has been breeding Cichlids for years and it has become her passion to share her knowledge about their proper care.
    Article Source: EzineArticles



The bumblebee cichlids are fresh water fish from the cichlid family. Their scientific name is Pseudotropheus crabro. They are also known as the hornet cichlid. These fishes are basically cave fish, since they live in large caves. Their pH preferences is mid while they are found in areas between the temperatures of 24°C to that of 26°C.

The fishes in this specie have a barred "bumblebee" pattern on their bodies which makes them specifically attractive to children. Their bodies are elongated and have yellow and black bars spawn all over their bodies.
Pseudotropheus Crabro Mâle (dominant)
Pseudotropheus Crabro Mâle (dominant) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When they are younger, the bumblebee cichlids are brightly colored and start to darken when they grow older.

One thing about the bumblebee cichlids fish is that they are very aggressive and should not be placed with other kinds of fishes in a community tank. During breeding, the males turn into an almost total black color.

The bumblebee cichlids change color very rapidly. For the females, they change their color to a black murky black.

The fish generally feed on parasites found on other fishes such as the bagrus cat fish. At times the bumblebee cichlids will prey on the eggs of the bagrus cat fish. Due to their fast color change ability, the bumblebee cichlids take up a dark brown color when preying on the eggs.

In normal circumstances, the bumblebee cichlids males will harass the female or other less aggressive males. They may even go to the extent of killing them. To remedy this, it is a good idea to place a few more females in the fish tank as well. One male bumblebee should be placed in a group of around six other females. This encourages spawning.

To determine the gender of the fish, pay specific attention to the color as well as the size. Male cichlids will usually display a larger frame than the females. On their bodies, they have a bluer coloring. The females on the other hand have a more pronounced yellow and gold.

Although very easy to breed, these kinds of fish should be watched carefully. When the males darken in color, their behaviors change and they create their own special territory in the tank. The male bumblebee cichlids then welcome one female at a time and circle and dance around.

The female lays the eggs and the male will sperm them. She then takes the eggs and the sperms into her mouth. The female then incubates the eggs in her mouth up to 21 days.

Female bumblebee cichlids usually eat the eggs while under stress. This may be caused by the male when he harasses her. The best remedy for this is to switch the female to a different tank. Here, she will incubate the eggs and hatch them, after which she will release them into the tank.

If this is not possible, design your tank in a way that it has more rocks. This will greatly help the females when they are in the incubation period. They will need a place to hide from the male bumblebee cichlids.

    Want to know more about bumblee-cichlids ? Then check out [] for the latest info on caring for, breeding and raising big beautiful cichlids.
    Article Source: EzineArticles


Pseudotropheus Elongatus - One of the Original MBUNA

Maybe  it is the sleek, torpedo shape knifing through the waters of the aquarium, unlike most other types of fish which are built much more like...well, fish!  Or possibly the brilliant, usually blue and black vertical striped  colourations, are what attracted me in the first place, and hold me fascinated as they swim.  There are some other morphs and colorations coming into the trade as time goes by, but the blue and black bars of an alpha male will always be my favorite pattern for this fish.

Elongate mbuna
Elongate mbuna (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Most likely it is the way they carry themselves with pure attitude, from fry on up that makes them so memorable.  Rarely do they allow themselves to be bullied, and generally end up as the fish to be concerned about when new additions are added.  They are already kings and queens and will ensure the rest are aware of their status.  An alpha male, patrolling the aquarium and ensuring all others flee when near is a spectacle I can watch for hours.

Like many other Mbuna from Lake Malawi, the elongatus has developed as a mouth brooder. Although this form of parental behaviour is not unique to this species, it is fascinating to watch.  I have had established aquariums where many generations live and thrive in the same tank.  Father, Son, Grandson, great grandson and even more generations all grow and thrive together over time and interbreed their generations if allowed.

Unlike livebearers who simply drop their babies someplace and leave, rarely recognizing them later as anything other than food, the entire cichlid family provides some form of parenting behaviour.  South American Cichlids share the duties with both parents often protecting the eggs where they have been laid.  They then continue protecting the brood as they hatch and then begin to swim.  For most species this a job for both male and female of the pair, and for this reason many species form long-term bonds.

The Mbuna, or African CIchlids generally take this protection a step further, holding the young within the mouth of the female until the fry are free-swimming and able to fend for themselves.  Unlike many others that pair-bond, it seems the female takes the responsibilities for the fry on herself and pairing will be much more fluid.  This is important to understand since when after the courtship and the eggs have been laid, the female may not eat for up to three weeks to prevent accidental ingestion of the precious cargo she is carrying in her mouth.  The male does not share these duties, and can even be working with another female during this period.

Elongatus, like most African Cichlids, are more difficult to sex and to compound the problem there are  extreme discrepancies in the ratio of the sexes for many Mbuna species.  There are commonly many more females than males born and raised to maturity. It is often best to purchase these fish, as unsexed juveniles in schools of 6 or so, that way you should get at least one viable pair when they mature. This also helps with controlling the aggressive tendencies of the fish and keeps them busier among themselves establishing territory and dominance in the group rather than beating up the other species kept in the aquarium.

Once grown, the males are generally larger than the females.  The egg patches on the anal fins are often more intensely coloured for the females, offering better visual targets for the males in the breeding rituals. As a species they are very aggressive, even for African Mbuna,  But, with enough distractions, simply add plenty of activity to the aquarium.  Don't obtain these fish if you are looking for a peaceful and placid aquarium community.

The living area should be as large as possible, with a 30 gallon aquarium being my personal minimum for them.  Decorations should be basically rocks - usually the flatter and stackable the better.  I have had the most success with lots of slate that is piled up in such a manner that there are all sorts of small spaces and channels for the babies, once they have been released from the mother's mouth.  They need to rapidly find places and swimming paths where bigger fish mouths simply cannot go.  The rocks should be piles in the back of the aquarium with free swimming areas open in the front. I also tend to offer a few caves or other hiding places in the front that often become the sole property of the tank alpha male.

Some people have had success with live plants with Africans, or so they report, but I have always found that if they don't eat them, then they will dig them up, so I have always reverted to rock decorations only.

I keep the tank relatively high in pH, although nowhere close to the recommendation of Hans Baensch - p 756 - Baensch Aquarium Atlas which is 8.5.  My fish do fine in Montreal's standard water - about 7.6 - 7.8.  The water is supplemented with an African Cichlid conditioner to bring up the hardness and stabilize alkalinity, but other than that, at present no other work is done on the water characteristics.

I do very little as far as exotic foods.  Most African Cichlids do very well on the various prepared foods available at the local pet store. Cichlid pellets, either floating or sinking are usually quite enough, although I do feed them some staple flakes as well.  At present the food I have is a sinking small Cichlid micro pellet for the tank of essentially juvenile Africans.  The pellets seem to sink quite fast to a single place, so the addition of flakes lets everyone feed at other levels in the aquarium.

    By Stephen Pond
    Having kept and bred many different types of tropical fish for the past forty years, I am dedicated to providing information required for the novice aquarist to to the advanced tropical fish keeper to become successful in this fascinating hobby. I continue to provide as much information on all aspects of the hobby through my website with its associated blogs and video areas dedicated to quite a number of aquarium topics at the Tropical Fish Aquarist website. It has been designed to provide an excellent resource for every level of fish enthusiast. For more detailed information specifically tailored for the novice aquarist on all aspects of the beginning aquarium check the website at Besides my own personal contributions, a variety of other sources are polled and added regularly to the content warehouse available there.
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    Article Source: EzineArticles