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Afra - Cynotilapia afra

Afra - Cynotilapia afra

Scientific name: Cynotilapia afra

Common name: Afra

Family: Cichlidae

Usual size in fish tanks: 9 - 12 cm (3.54 - 4.72 inch)


Recommended pH range for the species: 7.5 - 8.9

Recommended water hardness (dGH): 10 - 25°N (178.57 - 446.43ppm)

0°C 32°F30°C 86°F

Recommended temperature: 22 - 27 °C (71.6 - 80.6°F)

The way how these fish reproduce: Spawning

Where the species comes from: Africa

Temperament to its own species: peaceful to females

Temperament toward other fish species: aggressive/territorial

Usual place in the tank: Middle levels

Common Names

Afra or Dogtooth Cichlid


The Afra is omnivorous. They will accept a variety of flake foods, especially one that contains spirulina. In the wild, the males will feed on algae from the rocks while the females feed on plankton in open waters.


Male Afras have vertical stripes down each side and “dummy egg spots” on their anal fins that are used for breeding. Female Afras are lighter in color and lack the vertical stripes.


Afras are mouthbrooders. The female carries the brood in her mouth for approximately 3 weeks before releasing them to fend for themselves. This cichlid produces smaller broods than is typical for most mouthbrooders.


Between 7 to 10 years.


The Afra is from Lake Malawi near Likoma Island.


A male Afra will defend one large rock as its own territory. He feeds upon the algae growing on his rock. The female Afras hang out in open water and eat plankton. Afras often get mistook for the Pseudotropheus demasoni which are similar in both looks and size. The difference is Pseudotropheus cichlids have bicuspid teeth while Afras have a unicuspid tooth. Afras come in a variety of color combinations.


Aquarium Fishes of the World by Dr. Herbert R. Axelrod, Dr. Warren E. Burgess, Neal Pronek, Glen S. Axelrod, David E. Boruchowitz

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