Nimbochromis venustus

Aquarium fish: Nimbochromis venustus (Nimbochromis Venustus)
Size: 25 cm
Origin: Malawi
Water temperature: 24-28 ° C
Aquarium volume: 250 l

Nimbochromis venustus (Nimbochromis Venustus ) – aquarium fish from the cichlid family (Cichlidae) .


Africa. Endemic to Lake Malawi and Lake Malombe. Adults are usually seen at depths of 15-20 m in areas with sandy bottoms. Young shoals are found in shallow waters close to rocks.

Characteristics and disposition

Under natural conditions, they reach 25 cm, sometimes a little more in aquariums. The body is elongated, stocky and with a large mouth. Males are usually larger, brightly colored. There are golden forms with a blue mouth and uniformly blue ones. A pattern similar to a giraffe on the body – hence their colloquial name “Giraffe Cichlid”.

A yellow stripe runs from the mouth over the back. Females and cubs are slightly beige with a brown “giraffe” pattern. The head of the female is slightly golden, the anal fin in the lower part is yellow, the caudal fin is transparent at the top, yellow at the bottom, the dorsal fin in the upper part is lighter. The young look like females, only their body color is a little lighter, almost silvery white. Unlike the Mbuna group of males, they prefer swimming in open space.

They are predatory fish characterized by great cunning and an original hunting technique. They can partially bury themselves in the sand and wait motionless, even for a few minutes, for their victim. When a smaller, careless fish appears within their reach, they instantly “shoot” at it. These types of ambushes even set up near the caves of other fish. They live up to 10 years on average.

Nutrition and feeding

In nature, they feed on smaller fish. It is best to use a high-protein diet in an aquarium. They are not picky. They eagerly eat dry, frozen and live foods, such as krill, shrimp, and smaller fish. Warning! Feeding live animals can stimulate their hunting instincts and increase aggression.


For a group of young fish, a 250 liter aquarium is enough, but they grow quickly and it is best to buy twice as large for the target group of 6-8 adults. In this amount, they should swim nicely in a group. It is recommended to keep one male in the company of several females. If there are more males, as a last resort, only one will be left, unless the aquarium is much larger. A sandy substrate will be necessary to reproduce their environment.

The addition of coral aggregate will help maintain a sufficiently high pH. However, it should be remembered that hard and sharp ground can lead to cuts, due to their love of burying. There should be plenty of free space along the length of the reservoir for swimming and plenty of hiding places among stones and / or roots. Plants can be added, but only those with sturdy, thick leaves that grow attached to the decoration. They require efficient filtration and high water movement.

The optimal water parameters for this species are around pH 8, 6 – 10 dGH and temperature between 23 and 28 ° C. They can also tolerate a slight salinity, but below 1,0002 g / cm3. Outside of the breeding period, they do not show aggression towards larger fish. Smaller fish will sooner or later be treated as food. It is best to keep them in a species aquarium, but good companionship can be a glutinous snout, a knife ( Dimidiochromis compressiceps ) or other large species from Lake Malawi.


Breeding is not easy. The breeding aquarium should be at least 120 cm long, arranged as above, with the addition of a few flat stones. The ideal water parameters are 8.0-8.5 pH and the temperature 26-27 C. It is recommended to keep one male and 3-6 females in the group and feed high-protein animal foods. The male, ready for spawning, acquires intense colors and chooses a place for reproduction, most often a flat stone or a hollow in the ground.

Spawning occurs in a manner similar to that of other cichlids. The female lays eggs in a row and gives way to the male who fertilizes them. It then returns, collects the fertilized eggs in its mouth, and arranges the next row. The female can carry up to 120 eggs in her mouth for approx. 3 weeks until she releases a floating fry.

During this period, she does not take food and her body color is darker. In a stressful situation, it often spits out a brood, so be especially careful then if you decide to separate it from the group. It is recommended that you wait as long as possible before moving, unless disturbed by other fish. After leaving the mother’s mouth, the fry are large enough to receive brine shrimp larvae. The female care for it is continued for about 10 days.

In case of danger, the young seek shelter in its mouth.


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