Frontosa Cichlid Care Guide & Species Profile

The frontosa cichlid is a freshwater fish of the Cichlidae circle of relatives. There are a number of other colour variants of frontosa cichlids, together with zaire blue frontosas, Kavala frontosas, and Tanzanian six-stripe frontosas.

Frontosa cichlids have daring coloring, with 5 to seven darkish bands on a faded or darkish blue frame. Those African cichlid fish are semi-aggressive and feature instinctive territorial behaviors. Frontosas are well-liked by aquarists because of the fish’s ease of care and lovely colours, in spite of the fish’s occasional behavioral problems.

Frontosa Cichlid Details & Assessment


Clinical identify Cyphotilapia frontosa
Not unusual names Frontosa cichlid, humphead cichlid, frontosa
Distribution East Africa
Dimension 12–14 inches
Existence expectancy 15–25 years
Colour Sunglasses of blue, grey, or white, with a number of vertical black stripes
Nutrition Carnivore
Temperament Semi-aggressive
Minimal tank measurement 70 gallons
Temperature 74–80°F (24–26°C)
pH 8.0–9.0
Hardness 12–14 dGH
Care stage Reasonable
Breeding Mouthbrooder


The frontosa cichlid is frequently discovered in numerous huge lakes in East Africa, together with the arena’s second-longest freshwater lake: Lake Tanganyika. The fish spends maximum of its time within the lake’s depths, surfacing handiest to seek out meals.


The herbal habitat of the frontosa cichlid is darkish, at nice intensity, and rocky with minimum crops. Lake Tanganyika is without doubt one of the richest freshwater ecosystems on this planet, and frontosa cichlids proportion their house there with as much as 2,000 different species of fish.

Grownup Dimension & Lifespan

Complete-grown frontosa cichlids are huge fish, achieving as much as 14 inches lengthy within the wild and in captivity. Men are about 2 inches longer than women.

The common lifespan of the frontosa cichlid is 15 years. With the proper care, some fish in captivity are living for as much as 25 years.



Frontosa cichlids are simple to reproduce in captivity, in order that they’re extensively to be had on-line and in native puppy retail outlets. The everyday price of a frontosa cichlid is $17–$28, relying at the area of expertise of the fish’s look. Some uncommon frontosa cichlids, like black widow frontosa cichlids, promote for round $50 consistent with fish.

Respected on-line retail outlets promoting frontosa cichlids are:

Look & Habits

The frontosa cichlid is a huge cichlid species with a blue-toned frame marked via black vertical bands. The fish is energetic, semi-aggressive, and recognized to combat different fish over meals and territories.

Colours, Patterns, Fins, and Intercourse Variations

Frontosa cichlids are present in colourful sun shades of faded blue, darkish blue, grey, and white, with black markings or vertical black bands on their our bodies.

Remoted colonies of frontosa cichlids in Lake Tanganyika have produced a number of frontosa colour types, together with:

  • Burundi six-stripe
  • Kavala
  • Tanzanian six-stripe
  • Tanzanian seven stripe
  • Samazi
  • Kipili
  • Zaire blue
  • Zambian blue
  • Black widow

Some colour variants of frontosa cichlids are darker than others, and they may be able to have various numbers of stripes. Black widow frontosa cichlids are the rarest colour variant — they’re white with black spots and blue-tinged fins and feature higher our bodies than maximum frontosa cichlids.

Female and male frontosa cichlids glance identical, however, at sexual adulthood, men broaden a distinguished nuchal hump and feature longer fins than women. When wired because of illness or deficient water stipulations, frontosa cichlids turn out to be duller in colour than commonplace.

Frontosa cichlids have a identical frame form to flowerhorn cichlids, however flowerhorns have larger nuchal humps than frontosa cichlids, other colours, and no stripes.

Conventional Habits

The frontosa cichlid is a semi-aggressive fish species that doesn’t get alongside smartly with different fish. Even though frontosas are much less competitive than maximum different cichlid species, they’re territorial and are recognized to flare their gills and chase fish in the event that they’re seeking to declare area or meals.

Frontosa cichlids are daring, outgoing, and tamable, regularly studying to devour out of the fishkeeper’s hand. The fish are sluggish, clumsy swimmers that don’t love to waste power, they usually spend maximum in their time drifting in teams across the decrease waters of the tank.

Even though those fish aren’t nocturnal, they like dim environments and are maximum energetic when the tank’s lighting are off.


Frontosa Cichlid Tank Necessities


Taking good care of frontosa cichlids is straightforward. The fish are hardy and sociable, however they require various swimming area and strong water stipulations.

Habitat and Tank Setup

Frontosa cichlids are living within the rocky depths of enormous freshwater lakes in Africa. Mimic the fish’s herbal habitat to verify the fish is wholesome and comfy in captivity.

Select a substrate that replicates the sandy mattress in Lake Tanganyika. Aragonite sand or overwhelmed coral are just right substrates to deal with the water’s alkaline pH.


Upload rocks and caves to the tank to copy the fish’s rocky habitat. Frontosa cichlids revel in redecorating their tanks, so make sure that all decorations are weighed down to stop them from being dug up via the fish.

Vegetation aren’t required in a frontosa cichlid tank, but when you select to incorporate crops, probably the most appropriate crops are the ones that may be connected to driftwood, reminiscent of java moss, java fern, and anubias, in order that the fish don’t dig them up.

Tank Prerequisites

Perfect tank stipulations for a frontosa cichlid are:

Water sort Impartial, slow-moving freshwater
Tank measurement Minimal of fifty gallons for one juvenile, 75 gallons for one grownup, and no less than 125 gallons for a bunch of 3 or extra grownup fish
Water temperature 72–82°F
Substrate Aragonite sand or overwhelmed coral
Tank setup Rocks and caves
Acidity 8.0–9.0 pH
Water hardness 12–14 dGH
Clear out Sure, to stay the water blank
Bubbler Sure, to verify extremely oxygenated water, which the fish are used to within the wild
Lighting fixtures Dim aquarium lights on a timer
Water heater Sure, to stay the water heat

The frontosa cichlid’s herbal habitat has strong water stipulations, and the fish isn’t conversant in adjustments of temperature, pH, or alkalinity. Make sure that your aquarium’s water is blank and strong prior to introducing the fish to the tank.


Not unusual Frontosa Cichlid Well being Problems and Sicknesses


A number of commonplace cichlid illnesses impact frontosa cichlids. Maximum illnesses may also be handled and cured via quarantining the affected fish and the usage of industrial medicines or water therapies.

Well being Factor Signs Prompt Motion
Swim bladder illness Sinking to the ground or floating to the highest of the tank, distended stomach, curved again, diminished urge for food Don’t feed the fish for 3 days, upload 1/8 teaspoon of Epsom salt consistent with 5 gallons of water, and discuss on your veterinarian about antibiotics
Malawi bloat Stomach swelling, lack of urge for food, speedy respiring, discolored feces Carry out a big water trade and upload metronidazole (an antibiotic) to the water in keeping with the packet’s directions
Cotton wool illness Fuzzy white enlargement at the frame, head, and fins Isolate affected fish in a health center tank and upload aquarium salt or antibiotics to the water within the health center tank following recommendation out of your veterinarian
ICH White, salt-like sprinkles at the fish’s scales, flashing (rubbing in opposition to tough surfaces), lethargy, lack of urge for food Build up the tank’s temperature via 2 or 3 levels, upload aquarium salt or potassium permanganate to the water

Frontosa Cichlid Tank Pals

The most productive frontosa cichlid tank associates are huge, hardy, assured fish species from Lake Tanganyika, which is able to tolerate the similar arduous, alkaline waters as frontosas. Don’t space frontosa cichlids with invertebrates, fast-moving fish which can be sufficiently small to suit right into a frontosa’s mouth, or fish with other water necessities.

Nice tank associates for frontosa cichlids come with:


  • Different frontosa cichlids (the fish are calm and energetic in faculties of 8–12)
  • Plecos
  • Bichirs
  • Cuckoo catfish
  • Rainbowfish

Frontosa Cichlid Nutrition and Feeding

Within the wild, frontosa cichlids are carnivorous ambush predators that devour herring or sardine cichlids. The fish float underneath their prey at daybreak and nightfall, then clutch their meals with out expending a lot power.

Maximum frontosa cichlids also are lazy eaters in captivity, and can handiest devour sinking meals that falls close to their mouths. The most productive meals for this species are krill, prawns, mysis shrimp, earthworms, mussels, and small fish that sink slowly to the ground of the aquarium. Complement the fish’s vitamin with sinking pellets made for cichlids and an occasional piece of blanched spinach or kale.

Feed your fish a pinch of meals thrice consistent with day, for 6 days every week, taking someday off to stop bloat and constipation. Don’t feed bloodworms to frontosa cichlids as a result of they may be able to reason the fish’s bowel to inflate.

Breeding the Frontosa Cichlid

Breeding frontosa cichlids is straightforward, and the fish don’t require a devoted breeding setup. Frontosa cichlids turn out to be sexually mature once they’re 3 years outdated.

To reproduce frontosa cichlids, apply those steps:

  1. Get ready a bunch of frontosa cichlids for breeding via feeding them high quality, high-protein, are living meals. Complete proteins cause the manufacturing of eggs and sperm. Make sure that there’s no less than one wholesome male within the tank
  2. Look forward to the fish to reproduce. The male’s nuchal hump will turn out to be darker, attracting a feminine. The pair will blank an area to reproduce in and the male will free up milt, triggering the feminine to put an egg
  3. Permit the method to proceed till the feminine has laid all her eggs. Frontosa cichlids are mouth brooders, so the feminine will accumulate and lift all her eggs (between 20 and 50) in her mouth
  4. Look forward to 5 to seven weeks for the feminine to incubate her eggs. All over this time, the feminine gained’t devour. As soon as the eggs hatch, the feminine releases them so she will be able to devour
  5. Feed the fry a vitamin of child brine shrimp or powdered flake meals. For the primary 40 to 50 days, the fry will swim on the subject of the feminine or swim again into her mouth in the event that they sense risk
  6. Transfer the fry into their very own tanks as soon as this time has handed and the fry are sufficiently big to be unbiased

Must You Get a Frontosa Cichlid for Your Aquarium?

Frontosa cichlids are colourful, attention-grabbing, freshwater fish which can be a laugh to look at. Alternatively, the fish aren’t appropriate for all group tanks.

Believe getting a frontosa cichlid in case your freshwater aquarium incorporates appropriate fish and you have got enough space for a college of frontosas, or if you happen to plan to determine a single-species aquarium. Don’t get a frontosa cichlid in case your present tank’s water stipulations can’t be tailored to fit this species, or in case your tank incorporates small fish that can be eaten via the frontosa cichlid.

In spite of their semi-aggressive personalities, frontosa cichlids are assured fish that supply an out of this world supply of leisure in a house aquarium.

Frontosa Cichlid FAQs

How Giant Does a Frontosa Cichlid Get?

Male frontosa cichlids develop as large as 14 inches lengthy, whilst women develop to about 12 inches lengthy. Those fish are sluggish growers, achieving sexual adulthood at two or 3 years outdated. You’ll want various tank area for those fish — no less than 75 gallons for a unmarried fish, or 125 gallons for a bunch of 3 or extra fish.

Is a Frontosa Simple to Stay?

Sure, a frontosa cichlid is straightforward to stay so long as you deal with blank, strong water stipulations and space the fish with appropriate tank associates. Frontosa cichlids are hardy and mild-mannered, however they’re liable to commonplace fish illnesses and are recognized to devour small fish. Be sure you correctly deal with the aquarium and make a selection huge, slow-swimming tank associates to stop illness and battle within the tank.


How A lot Does a Frontosa Cichlid Value?

The common price of a frontosa cichlid is $17–$28, relying on how uncommon or distinctive the fish is. Some uncommon colour diversifications of frontosa cichlids, like black widow frontosas, price about $50 consistent with fish. Frontosa cichlids will have to be housed in teams of 5 or extra, so get ready to pay for no less than 5 fish directly.

What Fish Can You Put With Frontosas?

The most productive fish to place with frontosas are huge, assured fish from East Africa, like plecos, bichirs, and cuckoo catfish. Don’t put small, fast-swimming fish with frontosa cichlids — your frontosas will view them as prey. Sooner than you imagine including other fish species to a frontosa tank, be sure to have no less than 5 frontosa cichlids for your tank to copy their herbal training habits within the wild.

Can Frontosas Reside With Vegetation?

Sure, frontosas can are living with crops. Alternatively, those cichlids are recognized to dig within the substrate, in order that they’ll most probably uproot crops and disarrange the tank. The most productive crops so as to add to a frontosa cichlid tank are those who the fish can’t dig up. Java moss, java fern, and anubias are all just right alternatives as a result of they may be able to be connected to driftwood.

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