My Experience with Mbunas

Get advice or share your experience raising Mbuna Cichlids

My Experience with Mbunas

Postby gminor » Mon Dec 03, 2012 2:54 pm

Here's the short list of Mbuna cichlids I've raised.

Labidochromis caeruleus / Yellow Lab
Metriaclima estherae / Red Zebra
Metriaclima lombardoi / Kenyi Cichlid

I initially kept 4 of each species together in a 55 gallon when they were young and eventually moved them to a 90 gallon when they were about a year old. During the second year, all three species produced fry. It was very interesting as these were the first mouth brooding fish I've kept. To see the babies run for the protective cover of the mother fish's mouth, then appear unharmed later was really something to see.

As the fry get older, some actually try to escape mom's mouth to go explore, only for momma fish to chase them down and catch them. The parents were very protective of their babies so the survival rate was very good.

These fish have a reputation for being aggressive, but in my experience they rarely actually harmed one another. This could have something to do with the batch I had being raised together. I also understand keeping the tank slightly overstocked with extra filtration helps reduce any particular fish being singled out for bullying.

I had some success keeping Anubias and Vallisneria plants with the Mbuna since these plants are tougher in general. I'm told the fish may find these plants distasteful which could be another reason damage to the plants was manageable.
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Re: My Experience with Mbunas

Postby ENFORCER » Fri Apr 12, 2013 5:08 pm

I've had several year's experience raising mbuna in both a 90 and 135 gallon. I too found housing more fish kept the aggression down.

The last tank I ran, I had a single mbuna who was extremely hyper territorial. His behavior rivaled a mating pair of jewel or convicts, with fry. Within days I located several fish deceased behind the rocks. ...resulted in his removal.

I find these fish easy to raise and very low maintenance. I would suggest having enough rocks or plants for the fish to call their territory. I would also try introducing newer fish of similar size.

Some adult male mbunas can be very aggressive if placed with similar looking fish, regardless of species. The best way to knock down the aggression (that I found) would be adding different species of both vertical and horizontal stripes with similar colors.

Also, these fish tend to stick around the rock structures. If you have a very short rock wall, they'll stay near the bottom. This is one reason I'm creating a DIY aquarium background.

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