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Mbuna cichlid - Pseudotropheus fainzilberi

Mbuna cichlid - Pseudotropheus fainzilberi

Scientific name: Pseudotropheus fainzilberi

Common name: Mbuna cichlid

Family: Cichlidae

Usual size in fish tanks: 12 - 13 cm (4.72 - 5.12 inch)


Recommended pH range for the species: 7.1 - 8.5

Recommended water hardness (dGH): 10 - 22°N (178.57 - 392.86ppm)

0°C 32°F30°C 86°F

Recommended temperature: 21 - 26 °C (69.8 - 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 Pseudotropheus fainzilberi is 8-10 years.

Short description

The Mbuna Cichlid may be found under the common name of Goldbreast zebra but they are the same fish, they are not ideal for novices to keeping Malawi species as they do grow quite large and can be aggressive towards other tank mates but if kept in a species only tank the aggression should disappear.

Pseudotropheus fainzilberi are very territorial so plenty of hiding places must be provided by adding lots of rockwork. They should all be added into the tank at the same time, the best ratio is one male to 3-4 females. This will prevent the males from harassing individual females when in spawning mode.

Due to the larger size of these fish the minimum aquarium size should be at least 48 inches (121.92 cm) in length and keep the front of the tank open to allow for swimming spaces in front of the rock work.

Food and feeding

Mbuna cichlids are herbivores, feeding them with spirulina flake is ideal as well as pellet food. They will also accept peas, blood worms and brine shrimp.


Males will be more colourful than the females and slightly larger. The females may look drab in comparison. Just because egg spots are displayed on the anal fin, this may not mean that the specimen is male. Females will also possess these but they will not be as bright and vivid as displayed by the males.


Pseudotropheus fainzilberi are maternal mouth brooders. Spawning sites may vary from a flat stone or the actual rock work in the tank, but once the eggs have been fertilised, the female will mouth brood them for 2-3 weeks. It is best to breed these in a species tank, the male will clean various spawning sites and when ready the female will deposit her egg which she will immediately scoop into her mouth. After this she will then approach the male mistakenly thinking his egg spots are further eggs, he will then deposit the milt into her mouth resulting in fertilisation. She will continue to protect the fry for a further week by taking them back into her mouth at any signs of danger.

While the female is holding it is best she does not get stressed or she could spit the fry prematurely or even eat the young.


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Mbuna cichlid

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