Caring For Electric Yellow Lab Cichlids

Their bright yellow coloration and fairly mild temperament make Electric Yellow Lab Cichlids a popular choice from the waters of Lake Malawi.
Their bright yellow coloration and fairly mild temperament make Electric Yellow Lab Cichlids a popular choice from the waters of Lake Malawi.

African Cichlids comprise of some of the most beautiful freshwater fish in the hobby and the Electric Yellow Cichlid ranks up with the most popular of these beautiful fish. If you have been considering keeping Electric Yellow Labs in a home aquarium there are quite a few things that you should know in order to have healthy, vibrant fish in your aquarium. Like all fish, Electric Yellow Cichlids need to have proper water conditions and the right aquarium setup in order to keep the fish alive for a long time. These freshwater fish come from the waters of Lake Malawi in Africa and thrive when their living conditions are similar to the conditions they had in the wild. There are some basic things that you will need in order to be able to give your fish the best environment to live in..

Small Groups Thrive

These fish are very easy to care for. They are not as aggressive as some of the other African Cichlids but are still territorial. Do not keep them with smaller community fish. They grow to be about 3 inches in length on average and small groups of 3 or 4 may be kept in as small as a 29 gallon tank. Small groups of 3 or 4 do well with one male and 2 or 3 females. It is also important that the group of fish should have more females than males because a dominant male can injure or kill a smaller male. Electric Yellow Cichlids are rock dwellers and a home aquarium should include some type of rock formations along with caves and passageways. The tank should also be well lit and contain a fine gravel or sandy bottom. It is best to apply some type of background with an underwater scene for a better sense of security for the Electric Yellow Cichlid fish.

Vibrant Colors

Electric Yellow cichlids are fairly hardy and can adapt to a range of water conditions. But, even though they are hardy, they will show more vibrant colors and be more healthy when water conditions are best suited for them. The water should be medium - hard, alkaline with the temperature range between 72 degrees to 77 degrees.

Mouth Brooding Cichlids

When breeding the Electric Yellow Cichlid will actually spawn just about anywhere in the tank. After spawning, both the male and female may still be kept together, however you may choose to move the male to another tank so he doesn't bother the female while she cares for the eggs and fry. Typically the female Electric Yellow will choose to incubate her eggs within a cave. Electric Yellow Cichlids are mouth brooding Cichlids which means that they protect their eggs and fry by carrying them inside their mouths. Because of this form of caring for their fry, Electric Yellows tend to have small broods of fry. It is a good idea to feed the fry baby brine shrimp for first couple of months after they hatch.

Proper Diet

A proper diet is the last and very important part to having a vibrant and healthy Electric Yellow Labidochromis. Thes fish areĀ omnivorousĀ and will eat a wide range of foods. Commercial foods such as Cichlid pellets and other frozen or freeze dried foods are excellent choices to give to your fish. Feed them a couple times per day and only give them what can be consumed in 5 minutes.

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Reader Feedback 12 comments

XMAN28 10 months ago

how big does a female got to be to breed?


Web Gazelle profile image

Web Gazelle 4 years ago from USA Author

With 2 males and only one female you might see some aggression from the males competing for the lone female. You should try to get 2 or 3 more females. Your tank is on the smaller size but should provide enough space if there is several females in the tank.

When I had Electric Yellow Cichlids they would start flashing when ever I needed to make a water change. Flashing can also be a sign on a parasite like Ich. However, Ich also has other visible symptoms like little white spots appearing on the body of the infected fish. Check your ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels again and make sure they are all zero. Do another partial water change and allow up to 48 ours for your fish to adjust to water change.


Soopy 4 years ago

Still flashing on the sand... :(


Soopy 4 years ago

Okay, after the 40 litre water change, the levels are:

Ph 8.1

Ammonia 0

Nitrite 0

Nitrate 5-10 (sort of between colours on my API freshwater test kit)

I also have had Salvinia Natans floating plants for just over a week now and they cover approx 1/4 of the surface.

Sadly one of my 'female' Labs has turned out to be a male!

Would one more female be enough? Also do you think the males have enough space to co-exist happily?

The tank is 180 Litres, 5 feet long, approx' 16 inches deep and high. It has a sandy substrate and rocks at the back with numerous holes and caves.

Sorry to hijack your comment section, is there another place you would rather I asked for your advice?

K rgds


Soopy 4 years ago

Thanks for your advice.

I did a 40 litre water change yesterday evening and will do another nitrate test this afternoon.

Tried feeding twice yesterday (don't think I'm very popular :o) still unsure how much to put in, but all eaten.

Left a defrosted pea in last night after lights out and a Catfish pellet, so hope all okay.

The Labs have grown much faster than the Catfish, not sure if that is connected to not enough food, or just that they grow at a slower rate.

I have found some Yellow-tail Violet Cichlids to join my Labs, 4 due on Wednesday this week!

Thanks again!


Web Gazelle profile image

Web Gazelle 4 years ago from USA Author

I don't think the pH of your tank is too high. 7.5 to 8.5 is the range that they like.

The 'scraping" that you are seeing is called Flashing. And many fish will start to do that when toxins in the water are too high. If Ammonia and Nitrites are at zero then it is probably the Nitrates. I suggest doing a partial water change to reduce the Nitrates.

Feeding your fish twice a day is plenty. To make sure your catfish gets something you should feed them right before to turn off the tank lights at night.


Soopy 4 years ago

Thanks, I'll take a look.

Do you think my Ph is too high at 8.2?

One of the females was scraping her side on the sandy bottom yesterday and I read in my Cichlid book that it may be caused by a Ph being too high.

I have now added floating plants and hoping that my nitrates start to come down a bit.

Nitrite ann ammonia still 0.

I'm still really worried about feeding too. I'm feeding a variety of foods two or three times a day and I know it should be only as much as they eat in two-five mins but they are so greedy I'm not sure how much that should be.

Also because they it it all and my catfish only come out after lights out, there is nothing for the Cats to eat!

I tried putting a Catfish pellet in after dark and the Labs still ate it! They were a bit lethargic the next morning so I wondered if it was just too much food?

Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance.


Web Gazelle profile image

Web Gazelle 4 years ago from USA Author

Electric Labs are going to do best with other mild-mannered Malawi Cichlids. You could try Aurora Cichlids. They are fairly mild-mannered and very attractive looking fish. Live Fish Direct has a large assortment of African Cichlids. They might have something you are looking for.

Floating plants will help with your nitrates.


Soppy 4 years ago

I have 3 electric yellow labs and 2 Hydrodontis Petricola Catfish. I would like to add some Blue Lupingo labs but cant find a LFS that has any.

Do you know of a similar Cichlids that will live okay with the yellow labs?

FYI I have an 180L Juwel tank, Ph 8.0 / Amm 0 / Nitrate 0 / Nitriate 8.0

P.S. I have caves and rocks and no plants to help with my nitrate, would floating plants help?

Thanks all.


Web Gazelle profile image

Web Gazelle 5 years ago from USA Author

Thanks for the feedback. I agree that these fish are amazing fish. Freshwater with color that compares to marine fish. I also think that their way of caring for their fry is very fascinating.


davenmidtown profile image

davenmidtown 5 years ago from Sacramento, California

This is a great hub. Thank you for writing it. It is full of great information and the video is out of this world. These are also one of my favorite of the Cichlids. I think their color rivals that of the saltwater yellow Tang. One of the most fascinating aspects of cichlids is watching them when they have young. These amazing fish actually care for their children...


kmuise profile image

kmuise 5 years ago from Laurel, MD and Bedford, MA

Cool Hub. I used to mate and raise Kribensis. Easy I know but I liked to see them come out of their cave with the babies and gather them up in their mouths to corral them back up. Sweet. This hub actually brought back memories of my kids and my wife when we were all younger and living in Germany with the fish. Funny how things connect with each other!

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