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Labeotropheus fuelleborni


Article by Roland Tarr

Species information

Species: Labeotropheus fuelleborni

Synoma: Labeotropheus curvirostris

Common name: Fuelleborn's cichlid

Origin: Africa

Localities/Morphs: In Lake Malawi

Maximum size: 12-18cm

Natural habitat: Rocky coasts, oxygen rich water.

Natural foods/prey: Fuellebornis have under-slung mouth like the Tropheus. Their mouth is specialised for algae grazing from rocks.

Water chemistry in the wild: pH 7.5-9, dH 10 a 18

Predators: larger fish, birds

Brood size: 20-80

Sexual dimorphism: None. With the OB morphs the male can be distinguished from the females after a few weeks. Females have an orange-yellow body with dark blotches (OB), the males on the other hand have bluish body with orange dorsal fin.

Breeding method: maternal mouthbrooder and very prolific

Husbandry requirements

Minimum tank size: Minimum tank size is 4ft.

Sex ratio: 1 male with at least 3 females

Tolerance of conspecifics: aggressive towards other males of its kind, females can also quarrel.

Tolerance of heterospecifics: Not really aggressive towards other cichlids.

Water chemistry in aquaria: quite tolerant of a range of conditions so long as pH is above neutral.

Temperature range: 25-28 degrees Celsius. It can also tolerate 30 degrees Celsius.

Foods accepted: Readily accept most foods, but their diet should mainly consist vegetable matter. They are voracious eaters just like Tropheus, they would always beg for food, so make sure that you do not overfeed them. They also constantly scrape algaes off the rocks and glass.

Special requirements:none other than water chemistry


  • Good quality OB females have a strong orange-yellow colour with dark blotches. Unfortunately, have seen many OB females with pale yellow almost white colour. These fishes should not be bred.
  • The males bodies change from dark blue to sky blue when excited, their snout changes to dark blue and the dorsal fin fiery red.
  • Fuellebornis should not be kept together with L. trewavasae, because they could easily cross-breed. They look very similar except the L. fuelleborni is deep bodied, while the L. trewavasae is slender and also the L. fuelleborni grows bigger.
  • There are many colour varieties of the M. fuellebornis: Marmalade cat(males are OB as well), Albino fuelleborni, Mango fuelleborni, Yellow-sided fuelleborni, Ochre fuelleborni.
  • I strip my holding females after 13-14 days and the fry are quite large, larger then any mbuna fry I have seen.


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