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Colorful african tropical fish

Updated on September 8, 2010

When talking about colorful tropical fish most people think Saltwater Fish. While this is certianly true, there are a lot of colorful fresh water fish available which could give their Saltwater brothers and sisters a run for their money. One of the species in particular are Cichlids endemic to Lake Malawi. Most of these fish are available at your LHS or you can buy cichlids online from reputable breeders.

Lake Malawi is one of the great Rift Lakes located in Africa and is home to hundreds of colorful different cichlid species. The list below is my personal top 10 of colorful African Tropical Cichlids.

1) Labidochromis Caeruleus "Lion's Cove"

Labidochromis Caeruleus or "Yellow Lab" Cichlid is probably one of the most sought-after cichlid in the aquarium hobby because of it's vibrant yellow coloration and relatively peaceful behavior. The maximum size of the Labidochromis Caeruleus is roughly 5".

2) Pseudotropheus sp. "Acei" Msuli

A very common cichlid in the aquarium hobby Pseudotropheus Acei. A beautiful peaceful Mbuna with a maximum size of 6". Both male and females display a fluorescent blue body with yellow fins.

3) Astatotilapia Calliptera

Astatotilapia Calliptera belongs to the tribe Haplochromines endemic to Lake Malawi and surrounding rivers. The specie is often mis-identified as a Victorian Basin because of it's similar coloration. Maximum size 6".

4) Aulonocara Firefish

Aulonocara Firefish is an aquarium strain developed in Germany and grows to a maximum size of 5". Even though it doesn't occur in the wild I think it is one of the most beautiful Aulonocara available. Also sold as Dragon Blood or Red Orchid.

5) Aulonocara Baenschi

Aulonocara Baenschi also called Sunshine Peacock is peaceful Aulonocara displaying a yellow body and blue spots on it's head. Females stay brown. Maximum Size: 5"

6) Sciaenochromis Ahli

Sciaenochromis Ahli aka Electric Blue Ahli is best kept in larger size aquariums. It grows to roughly 8" and needs open swimming space. Males are fluorescent blue while females stay brown.

7) Pseudotropheus Demasoni "Pombo Rocks"

Pseudotropheus Demasoni belongs to the dwarf Mbuna specie. They stay relatively small and are very common in the hobby, however because of it's aggressive it is not recommended for the beginners.

8) Metriaclima Greshakei

Metriaclima Greshakei is another beautiful Mbuna. The dominant male display a very vibrant orange dorsal fin and a light blue body. Females on the other hand have a dull brownish color.

9) Metriaclima Callainos

Metriaclima Callainos also referred as Cobalt Zebra is from the Mbuna family. Both male and female displaying light blue coloration. Maximum size: 6"

10) Nimbochromis Venustus

Nimbochromis Venustus " The Giraffe Hap" is a large Malawian Haplochromis and is reguarly found in pet stores . They are best kept in larger aquariums. Males display a bright blue head and yellow-green sheen to the flanks partially covering the "giraffe" splotches.

Buy Cichlids Online

Before you buy cichlids online make sure it is from a reputable breeder with quality stock. Do not be afraid to ask a lot of questions. Do research and read reviews about the breeder before spending your hard earned money.


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