Front Cichlid

Aquarium fish: Front Cichlid (Cyphotilapia frontosa)
Size: 30 cm
Origin: Africa
Water temperature: 23-27 ° C
Aquarium volume: 500 l

Front Cichlid (Cyphotilapia frontosa ) – large, freshwater aquarium fish from the cichlid family. Due to the similarity of Cyphotilapia frontosa and C. gibberosa , the description applies to both species, which are commonly called frontosa muzzle .


Africa. Endemic species, occurs only in the northern part of Lake Tanganyika.

Found in large groups, sometimes close to 1000 individuals, in the coastal zone, at depths of 30-50 m (some sources also indicate depths over 100 m).

Characteristics and disposition

Large fish, in natural conditions, can reach up to 40 cm in length, in an aquarium males do not exceed 30 cm, and females 25 cm. They are characterized by a massive, strongly protruding body, large head and wide mouth. With age, a leading fatty hump appears on the head, especially well developed in adult males. The sex of the young is indistinguishable, adult males are usually larger, with more elongated fins and a larger hump.

Coloration gray-white or blue-gray with dark, vertical stripes – between 6-7 depending on the variety. Below the eyes is a shimmering blue stain. White or light blue fins. The color varieties found in the southern part of the lake were described by Takahashi and Nakaya in 2003 as a separate species of Cyphotilapia gibberosa . They have six dark vertical stripes, instead of the seven of C.

Frontos . Nevertheless, one of the variants of C. Frontos from the north also has 6 stripes. Color varieties are named after the place of occurrence. The most famous are Burundi Six-Stripe, Zaire Blue, Tanzanian, Kipili, Zambian blue, Samazi, Kavalla.

Sociable and relatively peaceful fish. In the aquarium, it is recommended to keep 1 male and 3 females in a group or in a group of 8-12 individuals. In a large group, the sex ratio is not as critical as that of most African cichlids, and more males can be successfully kept. Interestingly, the most dominant male in the herd is the shyest individual. Under the right conditions, they can sometimes live to be 25 years old.

Nutrition and feeding

In their natural environment, they eat small fish, crustaceans and snails. In the aquarium, they can be fed high-quality food for cichlids as well as live and frozen food, eg daphnia, artemia, bloodworm, etc. They are reluctant to eat from the water surface.


A single adult specimen requires at least a 250 liter aquarium. Preferably keep several items in a 500 l or larger tank .

For decoration, you can use rocks of various sizes, arranged so that they create as many hiding places as possible, while maintaining space for swimming. The sand that is eagerly digged by the cupped mouths is the best substrate. Therefore, the stones cannot be placed directly on the sand. Pots can also be used to imitate rock caves. The water should be of excellent quality, highly oxygenated with stable parameters.

These fish are very sensitive to pollution. They require efficient filtration and regular weekly water changes. They do not tolerate a pH below 7 pH. They don’t like the water current that is too strong. In sufficiently large aquariums they can be kept with other larger, hardy fish.

In their company, larger ciliates ( Marliera , Regan ), Altolamprologuses will work. Smaller fish up to 7 cm can be eaten over time. Perch-like Cyprichromis or Paracyprichromis are not suitable as companions .


They reproduce in aquariums. A polygamous species, males can mate with several females at the same time.

Breeding of frontosa midge is not easy, it requires patience and a lot of money. Fish reach sexual maturity at the age of 3-4 years, males are about 18 cm long and females about 15 cm. The first spawns are usually unsuccessful, young and inexperienced females swallow or spit out the eggs. Some breeders recommend buying a larger group of young fish (10-12) and catching the largest fish as likely males every 6 months. For the obtained group of adult females, it is best to buy a male from another source.

This procedure is to ensure good quality fry with little deformation. It is recommended to breed in a harem consisting of 1 male and 3 or more females. A long and large aquarium of over 500 liters is required. The tank should contain rock decorations, pots or PVC pipes that can be used as spawning grounds. The process of reproduction itself is quite simple.

The female draws the attention of the male, who invites her to a place of his choice. In the wild, fish breed in caves. In an aquarium it is usually a hole in the sand between the rocks, where the female lays eggs (about 50), and the male releases the milk. The female then collects the fertilized eggs into her mouth and incubates them for 4 to 6 weeks. After 3-4 months, it is ready for the next spawning.

The best results are obtained by taking freshly fertilized eggs directly from the female’s mouth and rearing the fry in a separate aquarium. However, this method is associated with a lot of stress for the female and the risk of injury, and is not recommended for beginner breeders. The fry released by the female are quite large and can do well even in the general aquarium. In rearing fry, clean water and its frequent changes as well as appropriate carmines are important. From the very beginning, you can feed them Artemia larvae, eyelids, plankton, etc.


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