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Mbuna cichlid - Melanochromis lepidiadaptes

Mbuna cichlid - Melanochromis lepidiadaptes

Scientific name: Melanochromis lepidiadaptes

Common name: Mbuna cichlid

Family: Cichlidae

Usual size in fish tanks: 8 - 10 cm (3.15 - 3.94 inch)


Recommended pH range for the species: 7 - 8.3

Recommended water hardness (dGH): 10 - 23°N (178.57 - 410.71ppm)

0°C 32°F30°C 86°F

Recommended temperature: 22 - 26 °C (71.6 - 78.8°F)

The way how these fish reproduce: Spawning

Where the species comes from: Africa

Temperament to its own species: peaceful

Temperament toward other fish species: aggressive to smaller

Usual place in the tank: Middle levels


Africa; Mbuna cichlid is endemic to Lake Malawi.


The expected life span for Melanochromis lepidiadaptes is 8-10 years.

Short description

Melanochromis lepidiadaptes are very active fish that need to be kept with other species that are also active. They can be aggressive to their own kind; this can be reduced by keeping one male with 2-3 females.

Although these are not the most aggressive Mbuna species they should still be housed with species of a similar size but try to make sure that their tank mates have a different colouration or they could become aggressive to these as well.

They will require lots of rock in the aquarium and make sure that it is stacked so that lots of nooks and crannies are formed to provide plenty of hiding places for harassed females or subdominant males to escape.

Like all of the larger cichlids, they are high waste producers so make sure that the filtration system can cope with this and make sure that regular water changes are performed on a weekly basis to keep the quality high.

Food and feeding

Mbuna cichlid will accept quality flakes or cichlid pellets as well as vegetable matter. The occasional treat of brine shrimp will also be readily accepted. Add peas or romaine lettuce, spinach and spirulina flake to vary the diet.


Males display a silvery blue colouration; the females will have a duller brown colouration.


The female will mouth brood the eggs and fry for about 3 weeks, during this time she may hide away and refuse to eat. When the fry have been released, they should be given Infusoria or an algal based food as meaty foods can cause problems early on in their lives.

It is easy to spot a female that is carrying as her mouth will look irregular as she distend her jaws to accommodate the fry, she can become stressed easily during this time and spit the young too early so make sure that she can hide away when she needs to.

When she feels ready the fry will be released where they can easily consume Infusoria or newly hatched brine shrimp but at any sign of danger for the first few days she will scoop the young back into her mouth for protection.


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Mbuna cichlid picture

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