Scientific Name Of The Species
- Size of the fish in home aquariums (min-max):
13 - 16 cm ( 5.12" - 6.3")
- pH of water for Kenyi cichlid has to be between:
7.5 - 8.9
- Water hardness (dGH):
12 - 25 °N
- Recommended water temperature for Kenyi cichlid:
23 - 27 °C ( 73.4 - 80.6 °F ) \
- The Kenyi Cichlid Maylandia lombardoi (previously Pseudotropheus lombardoi) is a beautiful zebra-barred African cichlid. It is a moderately large, aggressive Mbuna from Lake Malawi. In the wild it will reach up to 5 inches (12.7 cm) in length, but can get even larger in the aquarium.This fish belongs to a group of cichlids called Mbunas. There are 13 genera full of very active and aggressive personalities of Mbuna cichlids. The name Mbuna comes from the Tonga people of Malawi and means "rockfish" or "rock-dwelling". This name aptly describes the environment these fish live in as opposed to being open water swimmers like the Utaka cichlids and other "haps". Other common names this fish is known by are Lombardoi Cichlid, Kennyi Cichlid, Blue Kenyi Cichlid, Golden Zebra Cichlid, Kenyii, Metriaclima lombardoi (now considered an invalid scientific name), Pseudotropheus lilancinius (an incorrect scientific name but one that has historically been used in the hobby), and of course Mbuna.The cichlid is unique among its kind because of its colors.The male and female look like two different species with the male having a bright orange base with faded dark bars and the female having a rich sky blue base with faded dark barring. These base colors are exactly the reverse of what is typically found in other Mbuna cichlids. Most Mbuna species have blue males and females that are yellowish.Being one of the most pugnacious and aggressive of the Mbunas, this is a fish for the intermediate and experienced cichlid keeper. It is very belligerent, even the two inch juveniles have the desire and power to devastate smaller fish, such as feeder guppies. It is not a fish for a community tank but it can easily hold its own in a larger aquarium of mixed African Mbunas. Wild caught specimens are even more aggressive than captive raised fish.The Kenyi easily adapts to prepared foods and will eat pretty much anything. They will even eat the algae in the tank so you do not need to buy a Plecostomus for algae control. They are best kept in a species specific tank unless they are kept with large Mbunas. In a large species tank, keep a group of one male and several females and provide lots of hiding places.The Kenyi Cichlid has the typical elongated, muscular Mbuna cichlid body, though the males seem to be a tad deeper than other Mbunas. In nature they will reach up to about 5" (12.7 cm) in length, and are sometimes larger in the home aquarium. This cichlid can live up to 10 years with proper care.The color differences between the male and female are opposite that found on most Mbuna species. The male Kenyi is a golden yellow with faint vertical bars, and has egg spots on the anal fin along with a lighter colored stomach area. The females are a purple to blue color with the same faint bars and lighter stomach area. Juveniles are similar to females, only smaller. All stages have faded vertical bars that have hints of color where they meet the dorsal fin.All cichlids share a common feature that some saltwater fish such as wrasses and parrotfish have. That is a well-developed pharyngeal set of teeth that are in the throat, along with their regular teeth. Cichlids have spiny rays in the back parts of the anal, dorsal, pectoral, and pelvic fins to help discourage predators. The front part of these fins are soft and perfect for precise positions and effortless movements in the water as opposed to fast swimming.Cichlids have one nostril on each side while other fish have 2 sets. To sense "smells" in the water, they suck water in and expel the water right back out after being "sampled" for a short or longer time, depending on how much the cichlid needs to "smell" the water. This feature is shared by saltwater damselfish and cichlids are thought to be closely related.Foods and FeedingThe Kenyi Cichlid is an omnivore that feeds primarily on algae in the wild, but also ingest plankton as well as aufwuchs, which contain tiny bentic organisma including crustaceans, invertbrates and some zooplankton. In the aquarium they will accept frozen or live brine shrimp, mysis, high quality flake, pellets, spirulina, and other preparations for omnivore cichlids. They also enjoy bloodworms, live feeder guppies, and daphnia. Their diet can also be supplemented with vegetable foods such as spinach, zucchini, and peas.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.
- Diet Type: Omnivore
- Flake Food: Yes
- Tablet Pellet: Yes
- Live foods (fishes, shrimps, worms): Some of Diet
- Vegetable Food: Half of Diet
- Meaty Food: Some of Diet
- Feeding Frequency: Daily - Offer several small feedings a day, what they can eat in about 3 minutes or less, rather than a single large feeding.
Malawi Cichlids will deteriorate under poor water conditions. Malawi bloat is a typical disease especially if their dietary needs are not met with quality foods. It is caused by too much protein matter. As these are messy fish, do water changes of 10% to 20% a week depending on the bio load. If overstocking is used as a form of aggression reduction, care should be taken to do several partial water changes a week.
- Water Changes: Weekly - Water changes of 10-20% weekly are suggested, depending on the bio load. If tank is overstocked than several partial changes a week are recommended.
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.
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.
A minimum of 50 gallons is recommended for for a male and several females. An even larger tank would be needed if mixing them with other Mbuna. They do fine in either freshwater or brackish freshwater but need good water movement along with very strong and efficient filtration. Gravel makes a good substate and the addition of crushed coral can help keep the pH up. A very slow acclimation to different pH levels can sometimes be achieved. Crushed coral or aragonite sands do tend to dissolves easier than salts. Keeping a higher pH however, means that ammonia is more lethal, so regular water changes are a must for these fish.
The Kenyi Cichlid needs a lot of rock work for shelter and territories. Some open space is appreciated as well. Like other Mbunas, they may dig so make sure the rocks sit on the bottom of the aquarium not on the substrate. Arranging the rocks in a manner to make "territories" will help ease aggression.
- Minimum Tank Size: 50 gal (189 L) - A minimum of 50 gallons is the suggested for one male and several females, but a larger tank is needed for a mixed group of Mbunas.
- Suitable for Nano Tank: No
- Substrate Type: Any
- Lighting Needs: Moderate - normal lighting
- Temperature: 76.0 to 82.0° F (24.4 to 27.8° C)
- Range ph: 7.8-8.6
- Hardness Range: 10 - 15 dGH
- Brackish: Sometimes - Salt is not found in their natural environment, but they do have a slight tolerance, keep levels below 10% - a specific gravity of less than 1.0002.
- Water Movement: Moderate
- Water Region: Middle - These fish will swim in the middle and bottom areas of the aquarium.
The Kenyi Cichlid is not considered to be a community fish. They are best kept in groups of one male and several females in a large tank. Males will attack and kill any other males of the same species in the tank. They are best kept in species specific tank. They can also be kept in a very large aquarium with other large Mbunas, just make sure to provide lots of hiding places. Do not put this fish with peaceful cichlids.
- Temperament: Aggressive
- Compatible with:
- Same species - conspecifics: Yes - They can be kept in groups of 1 male with several females, but 2 males will fight, usually to the death unless they are in a very large tank with plenty of territories.
- Peaceful fish (): Threat
- Semi-Aggressive (): Monitor
- Aggressive (): Safe
- Large Semi-Aggressive (): Threat
- Large Aggressive, Predatory (): Threat
- Slow Swimmers & Eaters (): Threat
- Shrimps, Crabs, Snails: Threat - is aggressive
- Plants: Monitor
SexingBoth male and female Kenyi Cichlids are pale blue with dark bands when they are juveniles. Adult males will become a bright yellow with spots on their anal fins. Adult females are a brilliant blue, sometimes with black bands.
These fish can also have some variations in color depending on social circumstances in the aquarium. Sub-dominant adult males may keep their juvenile blue colors when multiple males are kept together. Mouthbrooding adult females may exhibit signifigant yellow coloring soon after spawning.
BreedingKenyi Cichlids should be spawned in a large breeding tank. A sandy substrate with many large, flat rocks should be provided. Place one male and at least three females in the tank and feed them vigorously with green vegetables to induce spawning. Excellent pH and water quality will be required.
The males will initiate spawning by dancing around in front of the female. If she is ready to spawn, she will follow him to a bed that he has previously dug in the substrate.
Once the breeding pair have reached the spawning bed, the female will lay 10-20 eggs in it. She then promptly scoops the eggs into her mouth. While she is doing this, the male will rub the spotted area near his anal fin in front of her mouth. These spots trick the female into thinking they are eggs. When she goes to gather the spots in her mouth, the male fertilizes the eggs that she has already scooped up. This behavior will be repeated several times during the spawning.
The eggs hatch in a few days, and the female protects the fry by keeping them in her mouth for about a month. The fry will leave her mouth to feed on baby brine shrimp and crushed flake. The female will stay close to the fry and allow them to swim into her mouth again if they feel threatened. Males have no part in the protection of the fry after spawning concludes.
When the eggs have hatched, take care to not remove the female from the aquarium where her fry were spawned. She may then become stressed and eat the fry.