Aquarium Fish

Frontosa African Cichlid

posted: 05/15/12
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Frontosa African Cichlid
Courtesy of Drs. Foster and Smith
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The Frontosa African Cichlid is a fairly typical member of the Cichlidae family. Both sexes are characterized by a large frontal hump. It is known by the scientific name of Cyphotilapia frontosa, but may also be known as Paratilapia frontosa, and Pelmatochromis frontosus. Originating from the deep waters of Lake Tanganyika, wild-caught specimens are not seen as often as captive-bred specimens in the hobbyist's aquarium. In their native Africa, Frontosa African Cichlids are considered a delicacy on the table.

Although territorial, the Frontosa African Cichlid is generally not aggressive, but rather gentle and tolerant. It does well in a tank with plenty of rocks and caves for hiding and a sandy bottom. Plants are incidental, but may be helpful for other tank mates.

A mouth brooder, eggs are laid in a rocky crevasse or cave and then scooped up by the female where she carries them for 21 to 28 days. Once released, she will take them back into her mouth at night or if danger is present. Most members of the mouth brooding variety of African Cichlids are easily bred while in the aquarium if given the proper tank set-up and excellent water conditions. A small group of 5 to 7 females and one male will provide the best opportunities for breeding.

The Frontosa African Cichlid prefers a diet of flaked and pellet foods and freeze-dried ocean plankton or krill.

Ideal tank mates include other aggressive Lake Malawi African Cichlids and African Catfish of the genus Synodontis.

Fish Facts

Name: Frontosa African Cichlid (Cyphotilapia frontosa)

Family: Cichlidae

Range: Africa — Lake Tanganyika

Size: Up to 15 inches

Diet: Carnivore

Tank Set-up: Freshwater: Rocks, caves, sandy bottom, plants incidental

Tank Conditions: 72-82°F; pH 7.8-8.5; dH 10-15

Minimum Tank Capacity: 70 gallon

Light: Low

Temperament: Semi-aggressive

Swimming Level: Bottom

Care Level: Moderate

Reproduction: Mouth Brooder

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