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Family: Cichlidae

Common Name: Red Fin

Origin and Habitat: Lake Malawi, Africa
Variations exist from different geographical locations within the lake.

Compatibility/Temperament: A relatively Peaceful cichlid, will get along with most other Africans, although is best kept with other Haplochromines rather than "Mbuna" Mbuna being more active such as "Yellow Labs, Acei", this fish is NOT co-specific (same species) aggressive and can tolerate being in an aquarium with multiple males, although care should be taken when attempting this.

Red Fin Diet

They feed on plankton in the wild, although in the home aquarium will do well on a diet of high quality Cichlid flakes, supplemented with a Spirulina and Brine Shrimps. Pellets are preferred for larger specimens.


Males attain 6-8" (15-20cm) in length with females being slightly smaller.

Minimum Tank Suggestion


Water parameters for Red Fin

Hard water, 78-82°F, pH 7.8-8.6


Males attain a beautiful coloration of a Metallic Blue head with Yellow / Red Body, females will stay a darker color with Red fins.
The species generally has long ventral fins and some geographic variations these can extend the whole length of the fish.

These fish will readily school together with multiple males and females, during breeding males will show slight aggression and will defend a territory (though not as aggressively as some species of Lake Malawi Cichlids).
Like most African cichlids this is a mouthbrooder, meaning the female will incubate eggs in her throats Bucchal cavity. Incubation lasts approximately 3 weeks after which time the fry will be released, already showing color (broods consist on average of 20-30 fry), fry generally are a dark color with red/orange fins.

Spawning takes place usually on top of a rock and the male will not tolerate other fish being in the vicinity of his chosen breeding location (while not aggressively defending his territory, males are prone to fin nip other fish venturing too close)

The tank should be decorated with rock features, a sandy substrate to mimic the natural conditions of Lake Malawi. Due to the mind mannered nature of this species, it can be kept with the more peaceful Peacocks, such as Auloncara.

Fry will fatten up quickly so consideration must be given to this if one chooses to use a small aquarium as a maternity tank.

Contributing Members

The following members have contributed to this profile: Tazman


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