Cynotilapia afra, is a freshwater fish of the cichlid family. The genus name roughly translates as dogtooth cichlid which describes the sharp, conical unicuspid teeth unique to this genus within the Lake Malawi flock. The species afra is endemic to Lake Malawi and is found in rocky habitats throughout the lake.
The afra has an elongate body with vertical blue and black bars. However, there are many different coloration patterns depending on the region the fish is from, for example, the male fish from Kobwe (usually seen spelled either Cobue or Cobwe) is shown in the picture to the right. The population from Jalo Reef show no yellow in the body but have a solid yellow dorsal fin. Other populations have no yellow highlights at all. Males can grow up to 10 cm., females usually somewhat smaller.
Like most other cichlids from Lake Malawi,afras are mouthbrooders. Males defend territories near caves within the rock piles and feed from algae and micro-fauna on those rocks. Females congregate in mid-water and feed from plankton.Other popular color variations are so named: Chewere, Chinuni, Chitande, Chuanga, Likoma, Lumbila, Lundu, Lupingu, Mbenji, Metangula, Minos Reef, Msobo, Ndumbi, Njambe,
, and the Nkolongwe Nkhata
10cm, sometimes more.
pH 7.5-8.5; GH 100 – 300ppm; Temperature 23 – 28C.
These fish is an omnivore , They can accept frozen or live brine shrimp, high quality flake, pellets, spirulina, and other preparations for omnivore cichlids. It is always better to feed them small amounts several times a day instead of one large feeding. This keeps the water quality higher for a longer period of time. Of course, all fish benefit from added vitamins and supplements to their foods. They will eat to the point of their stomach being distended, so be very careful to not overfeed.
The Tank size should be about 26 gallons for a pair and more than 60 gallons for a harem. A larger tank will be needed if kept with other compatible
cichlids. They do fine in either freshwater or brackish freshwater but need
good water movement along with very strong and efficient filtration. Keeping
the ph above neutral is important.
Rift lake cichlids need hard alkaline water but are not found in brackish waters. Salt is sometimes used as a buffering agent to increase the water's carbonate hardness. This cichlid has some salt tolerance so can be kept in slightly brackish water conditions. However it not suited to a full brackish water tank. It can tolerate a salinity that is about 10% of a normal saltwater tank, a specific gravity of less than 1.0002.
The streams that flow into
Lake Malawi have a high
mineral content. This along with evaporation has resulted in alkaline water
that is highly mineralized. Lake Malawi is
known for its clarity and stability as far as pH and other water chemistries.
It is easy to see why it is important to watch tank
parameters with all Lake Malawi fish. A higher
pH means that ammonia is more lethal, so water changes are a must for these
fishes. A very slow acclimation to different pH levels can sometimes be
Sand used for saltwater fish or freshwater can be used and if keeping them with a higher ph, the saltwater sand can help keep the ph up. Crushed coral or aragonite sand can also increase the water's carbonate hardness, and tend to dissolves easier than salts. They will enjoy piles of rocks that are stabilized on the bottom glass of the tank, and also robust plants. They will not bother tough plants.
Malawi Cichlids will deteriorate under poor water conditions. Do water changes of 10% to 20% a week depending on bio load.
a typical disease especially if over fed. Malawi
( The teeth of this fish really like Dog Tooth )
Sex Difference :
Males fish are far more colourful if compare with females
These fish are Mouthbrooding egg-layer. They can bred in captivity. The male is ready to breed at 6 to 8 months. The Dogtooth Cichlid females can lay about 10 - 20 eggs and then immediately take them into their mouths before they are fertilized. The male flares out his anal fin, which has "egg spot patterning" so the female mistakes the eggs spots on the male's anal fin as her own eggs and tries to take them in her mouth as well. In doing so, she then stimulates the male to discharge sperm (milt cloud) and inhales the cloud of "milt" which then fertilize the eggs in her mouth.
After the time past about 14 - 21 days at about 82° F, the eggs are developed. The released fry can eat finely powdered dry foods andbrine shrimp nauplii. The female will guard her young for a few days, even taking them into her mouth if there is a perceived threat. As long as you have plenty of hiding places, your young will have an easier time surviving until they are too big to eat.
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