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Related Articles: Malawian Cichlids: The Mbuna and their Allies By Neale Monks, The Blue Followers: the Placidochromis of Lake Malawi by Daniella Rizzo,  Pseudocrenilabrus: Miniature Mouthbrooders With Attitude! by Neale Monks, Kribs & Their Cousins By Neale Monks,  

Stocking Lake Malawi Community Tanks


By Mary Bailey

P. demasoni


One of the most frequently asked questions about Malawi cichlids is how many can be kept in a specific size of tank, and what species.  Given that the lake is home to hundreds of species, in a range of sizes, temperaments, habits and habitats, this is not the sort of question to which there is a brief definitive answer, and any answer will of necessity involve an element of over-simplification.  Nevertheless, I will endeavor to give below some guidelines which, coupled with common sense, should help provide the desired result a workable Malawi cichlid community. 

Compatibility the big picture 

First of all, however, I must emphasize that not all Malawi cichlids are compatible with one another, far from it.  The biggest and commonest mistake most people make is to mix the small, thuggish, rock-dwelling mbuna (Pseudotropheus, Melanochromis, & co) with other Malawi cichlids.  The vast majority of mbuna are tied to the rocky habitat, they do not stray from it, and they live at a remarkably high population density.  This means they are aggressive and territorial. 

 Other cichlids may spend time in the rocky areas, but in most species this is optional, in other words they can beat a hasty retreat away from the danger zone if attacked.  They do not have this option in a glass box.  A few species eg Aulonocara jacobfreibergi, Otopharynx lithobates are also rock-bound but occupy microhabitats (eg large caves) which are of little interest to mbuna and so represent havens of peace and quiet amid the turmoil outside.  A number of much larger species eg Serranochromis robustus, Tyrannochromis spp. also spend a lot of time in rocky habitats, but they prey on mbuna! 

 Another important point is that not all Malawi cichlids are at home in an underwater rockery, many require a much more open type of habitat and/or more space.  Habitat is very important to many cichlids, especially when as is commonplace in Lake Malawi they have specialized on a restricted, specific environment and the resources it offers. 

What all this means is that if you want to keep mbuna, it is best to keep an mbuna-only community, because cichlids from other habitats may be actively harassed as they do not have the temperament to fight back, stressed by the wrong habitat or the busy nature of the tank, or likely to enjoy an expensive fresh-fish diet.

  To some extent the other groups for example sand-dwellers (Aulonocara, Lethrinops, and others), open-water dwellers (eg utaka Copadichromis) can be mixed, provided size and feeding habits are taken into account.  But that consideration is or should be a basic function of fishkeeping.

 There are sometimes also questions of compatibility within the various groups, but I will deal with them separately for each group.

Tank sizes and shapes

 There are a number of preliminary ground rules here, as well.  Nowadays tanks tend to be sold by volume (eg 100 gallons), which is fine if you are dealing with fishes where only volume is important.  For cichlids, however and not just Malawi cichlids it is shape and size (length, width, sometimes also height) that are the limiting factors. 

Aulonocara occupy different niches than Mbuna, and suffer if having to share space with them. MaryB pic

One major criterion of keeping cichlids is available bottom space (territory) and escape space (tank length) allowing any fish to get a decent distance away from an aggressor.  100 gallons could be a tall tower of a tank, a cube, a triangular corner tank but what Malawi cichlids require is a traditional long rectangular box unless you are talking about an immense, public-aquarium-type, tank which is wider than the length of a normal domestic tank so the escape space is two-dimensional.  By the way, escape upwards is not a solution, because there will be no cover at the top, the fish will be exposed and stressed, and a sitting target for any persistent persecutor.  And in my experience a Malawi cichlid trying to hide in an upper corner of a tank will be picked on by all and sundry, as its behavior is abnormal and invites attention.

 Volume and tank height do assume a degree of importance with the open water cichlids, but for the rest it is bottom area that is important.

Amongst the gentlest of Mbuna, Labidochromis (caeruleus). MaryB pic

My final basic rule is that with one exception only, Malawi cichlids should not be kept in a tank less than 36 inches (90 cm) long (for example a standard 30-gallon Breeder = 36" x 18" x 12" / 90 x 45 x 30 cm).  And a larger tank is far better.   The exception is the mbuna Labidochromis caeruleus, which is remarkably peaceful and also tolerant of its own kind, such that it is possible to keep just a pair in a species tank and not end up with just a male.  This makes it the ideal species for anyone wanting to simply try their hand, or who has very limited space.  But please do not try it with any other Malawi cichlid, unless you are keeping just one fish otherwise you will probably end up with just one fish!


 Malawi cichlids are, with a very few exceptions (not generally maintained in aquaria), maternal mouthbrooders with no permanent pairing, although some live in non-territorial mixed-sex shoals or bottom-foraging parties outside the breeding season.  Mbuna are sedentary, with dominant males holding territory and non-territorial males and females trying to eke out a living while avoiding attack by territory-holders.  When a female is ripe she seeks out a male but the rest of the time she maintains her distance.  This is not so easy to do in the aquarium, and the presence of a female so near to the male sends him the wrong signals.  He thinks she wants to spawn, she is unwilling, unable, so courtship rapidly turns to attack.  This is why mbuna tanks need to have plenty of cover (as in nature), a high population density (to distract the males), and that essential length to provide escape distance.  Ironically, although mbuna are among the smallest Malawi cichlids, they are also the most territorial and hence the most difficult.

Buccochromis rhoadesii, up to a foot in length, though not being overly aggressive, is only safe w/ fishes of similar size. Neale Monks pic.

Many years ago I devised a formula based on a lot of practical experience for calculating the number of inches (TL) of adult mbuna that can be kept relative to the bottom area available:  20-24 inches (50-60 cm) of fish per square foot (144 sq. in or 900 sq. cm) of tank bottom.  This worked very well for me, and it has worked for countless other cichlid enthusiasts to whom Ive communicated it, one to one or via my books and articles.  At least, nobody has ever complained that Im wrong!  Using this formula the 30 gallon Breeder (36" x 18" x 12" / 90 x 45 x 30 cm) mentioned earlier has a bottom area of 36 x 18 = 648 sq. in, or (dividing by 144) 4.5 square feet, and will thus house 4.5 x 20- 24 inches of mbuna, which gives us 90-108 inches.  The average mbuna measures about 4-5 inches (10-12.5 cm) so the tank will (and should) house 23-27 adult mbuna.  It doesnt have to be precise, but has proved a very good rule of thumb.  Do not drop too far below the recommended population density or aggression problems are likely;  you can cram more fish in within reason as long as you are prepared to work harder on maintaining water quality.

Degrees of aggression

 However, mbuna come in various degrees of aggression and territoriality, which I usually group into peaceful (by mbuna standards), nasty, and the rest.  These should govern what species you mix, and are only partially dependent on size and genus: 

  • Peaceful:  all Labidochromis, Labeotropheus trewavasae, Pseudotropheus socolofi, Ps. demasoni, Ps. sp. elongatus XXX with stripes on the forehead (another rule of thumb), Tropheops, the small blue Melanochromis such as johanni and cyaneorhabdus, Metriaclima (except M. lombardoi), Iodotropheus;
  • Nasty:  Petrotilapia (by virtue of their large size), Pseudotropheus sp. elongatus XXX with no stripes on the forehead (males are often psychopaths, best avoided), large wild-caught males of Labeotropheus fuelleborni and the larger Melanochromis (ingrained aggression), Genyochromis mento (fin-eater, do not even try to keep);
  • The rest.

Labeotropheus fuelleborni RMF pic

Note that the small Cynotilapia species fall under the rest as their territoriality is out of proportion to their size, but they lack clout, being small.  So while they may cause trouble with peaceful-group tankmates of their own size, they will think twice about tackling a larger fish (but can look after themselves if a larger fish starts a squabble).  Cichlid-keeping is all about psychology! 

My criteria are based on males, as it is their territoriality that is the governing factor.  Females can become territorial if no conspecific male is present, but not to the same extent.  There is an element of overlap between groups:  occasional rogue fish (uncharacteristically peaceful or aggressive for the species) crop up, individual territoriality often increases with size and age, and wild fish can be expected to be more territorial than long-term tank-bred.  But again the system has proved itself in practice.    

The peaceful group are the only species that should be kept in a tank with the minimum Malawi length of 36 (90 cm), but they can be kept in larger tanks as well, and can be mixed with species from the rest, for which minimum tank length is 48 (120 cm), eg a standard 55 gallon (48" x 13" x 21" / 120 x 35 x 55 cm).  The rest can in turn be kept with the nasty group, but for that group minimum tank length is 72 (180 cm), eg a standard 180 gallon (72" x 24" x 25" / 180 x 60 x 62 cm). 

Look-alikes are more likely to squabble than dissimilar species, which brings me to my last mbuna rule:  NEVER have more than one longitudinally-striped Melanochromis species in a tank, as the stripe pattern (color irrelevant) is like a red rag to a bull.  But they rarely squabble much with vertical stripes unless the latter start it.  By the same token, except in very large tanks it is inadvisable to have more than one male of a species;  if you must have more then make it an odd number as only two can fight at once, so theres an opportunity for each to take a break in turn! 

Don't mix longitudinally-banded Melanochromis species as they'll fight. A female M. chipokae shown. MaryB pic

Small sand-dwellers and utaka

 Small sand-dwellers Aulonocara, some Lethrinops, and some small haps such as Placidochromis electra and Cyrtocara moorii mix well with utaka, the open-water plankton feeders (mostly the genus Copadichromis).  Most of these fishes have some association with rocks:  utaka are typically found in open water near to a rocky backdrop or over rocks, and most small sand-dwellers are either found where rocks meet sand or go there to breed.  All these cichlids are relatively peaceful and will mix well in a tank with a rocky backdrop (not necessarily in the tank) and some rocks on the bottom. 

Alternatively the two groups can be kept separately, but in that case either the bottom or the top part of the tank will be fish-free, which is a waste.

Utaka are shoaling fishes immense shoals of hundreds or thousands when plankton is plentiful so they need to be kept in reasonable numbers.  Keeping a single pair of Copadichromis is not kind.  But you dont have to have a single-species shoal, as a mix of species works well with a couple of provisos:  firstly, choose species that live together in the wild or that are very different in appearance, including the females.  The former will have built-in mechanisms to prevent hybridization, while the latter will be able to tell visually who is the right mate.  Otherwise there is a very real risk of crossing, as many species are closely related;  a lot of supposed C. borleyi in the trade are actually hybrids.  Secondly, if possible select species with different-looking females so you can tell them apart yourself.  Otherwise, how will you know what the fry are unless you grow them up to full size so the males color up?! 

Similar ID strictures apply to Aulonocara species, which again often have very similar females and are notorious for hybridizing as the males cant tell them apart.  Do not, for example, mix the stuartgranti types together, but by all means mix a stuartgranti with jacobfreibergi and/or one of the blaze species (maylandi Sulfurhead  Aulonocara, kandeense Blue Orchid).   

When it comes to tank size, an Aulonocara species tank (one species) can be the Malawi minimum length of 36 (90 cm), but normally the starting point will be a 48 (120 cm).    If keeping just the bottom dwellers then depth is relatively unimportant, but for utaka the tank will ideally be at least 24 (60 cm) deep to allow for a decent amount of swimming space.  A 180 gallon (72" x 24" x 25" / 180 x 60 x 62 cm) would be an excellent choice.

For stocking density, as a rough guide use half the mbuna rate for the bottom dwellers 10-12 inches (TL) of adult fish (roughly 2 fishes) per square foot (900 sq cm) of bottom area;  these fishes do not lead such a crowded existence as mbuna.  And for the utaka use the mbuna formula, but adding 25% for every extra 6 (15 cm) of depth over the basic 24 (60 cm), because for this group volume (all three dimensions) is actually a factor.  Thus the above-mentioned 72" x 24" x 25" (180 x 60 x 62 cm) will hold 20-24 of adult utaka per square foot (900 sq cm), but if we increase the depth to 30 (75 cm) you can have 25-32 inches of adult fish (TL) per square foot, and thats in addition to any Aulonocara, etc on the bottom.  For those who prefer to work in volume, thats 1.3-1.6 [ 1] of utaka per (US) gallon and the above-mentioned 180-gallon tank would house about three dozen of them when adult.  Here, however, there is no minimum stocking rate as long as you have a reasonable group. 

Big Malawis

This group is a convenience rather than a natural entity, and based only on size.  It comprises numerous genera, many of them quite small and sometimes with behavioral and habitat variation within the genus.  It is essential to research each species individually (I recommend Ad Konings Malawi Cichlids in their Natural Habitat www.cichlidpress.com) and use common sense when mixing species, or as to whether to mix them at all.  The only other universal stipulation here is that the tank must be large, at least 72 (180 cm) for a community, eg a 180 gallon (72" x 24" x 25" / 180 x 60 x 62 cm).  It may be possible to keep a pair or small group of one species in a 48 (120 cm), but because the fishes are large a reasonable width and depth are required as well as length, eg a 90 gallon (48" x 18" x 24" / 120 x 45 x 60 cm).

Dimidochromis compressiceps are peaceful (though predatory) and bullied by Mbuna, but mix well w/ Aulonocara, Utaka and Haps. Photo by Neale Monks

It is questionable whether some species can be kept in domestic aquaria at all, other than as singles, if then.  The lifestyle of Taeniolethrinops praeorbitalis, for example, involves travelling over large expanses of shallow sandy or muddy bottom sifting the substrate for food.   The smaller ncheni (Rhamphochromis open water pursuit predators) have been kept and bred successfully in large aquaria, but some are large and cover huge distances in their normal wild life.   Then there is Fossorochromis rostratus, another sifter that is occasionally imported, usually only males as only males are colorful.  They seem to be impossible to keep except alone.  This does not surprise me.  A sandy bay several hundred yards long in Lake Malawi will harbor countless female and juvenile Rostratus, when you wash dishes in the lake they come scavenging and they check out your toes when you paddle.  But if you snorkel in that bay you will find just one adult, colored male, master of all he surveys.  We cannot hope to reproduce that sort of environment.  I feel that some species, especially those that range widely or enjoy immense territories, are best left in the lake.

Sex ratios

 Finally, another question associated with stocking how many females per male?  In the early days when only wild fishes were available there was no choice unless you were very lucky, as they were usually imported in pairs.  And we got by.  Nowadays it is usually possible to get additional females if desired.  With species where males are hard on females, the advantage of more than one female per male is obvious any persecution is spread so harm is less likely.  The downside is that multiple females means less variety of species, and also that when your Malawis breed as they probably will you may have a glut of youngsters that you cant sell. 

 Some people choose to have only males, as they are often more colorful and there will be no harassment of females, plus the aquarist may not want to breed his fish.  But in my view there are serious ethical questions about keeping cichlids in which breeding and parenthood plays a particularly important role and not allowing them to breed.  Besides which, their breeding behavior is a major part of their charm.  There are other colorful fishes if color is all you want.

 Last but not least:  it is fine to keep a celibate male for a while if his female is lost, but NEVER keep a single female in the company of a male of a closely related species (same group, eg any other mbuna, any other utaka) or you will have hybridization, and usually the cross is fertile and you will have a brood to destroy.  Even hybrids between groups are possible, so the situation is best avoided.

 As I said at the beginning of this article, it is impossible to cover all eventualities where so much variety is concerned.  But I hope I have at least given you a starting point, and some ideas, about what and how many Malawis to keep.


Haps/Peacock Stocking Options for 330 G tank
Stocking Options for a 330 G Malawi Cichlid Tank     – 11/20/12

Hello Crew: I`m new to this hobby - and I really love your site.  I have a new (for me) 330 G tank that I set up this fall (2` x 2` x 12`).  Currently, the water parameters are as follows:  pH @ 7.8, ammonia 0, nitrites 0, nitrates 60, water temp. @74.5F.  My water is naturally on the hard side.  I tried some live plants, but they did not survive the cichlids.  I have three live plants left, some plastic plants, lots of rock:  marble, limestone, river rock, and about 1/3 of the tank is covered in sand, no obstructions - for the peacocks.  I have a Rena XP3 filter with Purigen and Super Elite activated carbon in the filter trays, along with the other media, two
110 Aqua Clear HOB filters, 2 Aqua Clear 70 pumps, and 2 blue Poret filters with water lifters in them.  I have two large pieces of drift wood with many caves near the rocks.  I do about a 25% water change week 1, and about a 40% water change week 2.  I try to fast them one day a week, but its hard not to feed them, especially when they do their `little dances`.
I started myself off with a few mixed Mbuna in a 70G before I found this large, custom built tank that came with stock.  After it was set up, while I was away on holidays, my spouse moved all the fish into the large tank and disposed of the 70G.  :(   I now have the following stock in the big tank:
6-7 Labidochromis Caeruleus (aka "Yellow labs"; 2 @ 3'', the rest various sizes)
5  Iodotropheus sprengerae (aka "Rustys")
 *  Protomelas taelianautas (aka "Super Red Empress"; 1 dominant male beautifully coloured @ 51/2'' He is the second dominant tank boss, 2 subdominant males @ 5'' that have taken on the female colouring, numerous females)
2  Metriaclima Estherae (aka "Red Zebra";  1 @ 3'', 1@ 2'' )
1  Metriaclima Estherae OB -  1 ''
1  Pseudotropheus sp. Acei  (aka "Yellow Tail Acei")
 *  Otopharynx lithobates 'Mumbo Is.' - and I think there are a few 'Zimbabwe Rock' also - (aka ''Sulphur Head'') - 1 white blaze male  @5'' who is my tank boss, 2 subdominant males that take on the female colouring about the same size as the dominant male, numerous females)
*    Capadichormis chrysonotus 2 males, several females
2   Metriaclima Lombardoi (aka Kennys; both males @ 31/2'' each)
1   Labeotropheus OB fuelleborni (about 3'')
2   Aulonocara Jacobfreibergi 'Eureka' Peacocks (1@ 3'', 1 @ 2'')
2   Melanochromis Johanni (aka electric blue johanni, 2 males)
5   Hemichromis binnaculatus (Blood Red Jewel Cichlids - juveniles - 2 males, 3 females less than 2 '')
5   Aulonocara Peacocks - Rueben Reds - juveniles - too young to tell sexes yet @ 1 ''
1   Red Top Hongi (male about 3'')
1   Melanochromis hybrid ?   (Started out as silvery pink, now has coloured up similar to the electric blue johanni but is larger and is relatively peaceful @3 1/2'')
1   Giant Sailfin Pleco (@14'')
1   Medium size sail fin Pleco @ 7''
1  Cuckoo catfish @ 2 1/2'')
2  Bristlenose catfish @ 3'')
1  Freshwater crayfish - Procambarus Clarkii sp. orange
*The females are similar:  silver with three black splotches or silver with black line below lateral line, sometimes with or without blotches.  All together, there is about 16 of them in various sizes.
I have read many articles that state it is not wise to keep haps/peacocks together with Mbuna, including Mary Bailey`s on this site, except for the very peaceful species such as the yellow labs and Rustys. This is the reason why I am re-homing the other Mbuna. While the red zebra and kennys have not killed any fish, they are very territorial and will not let others near their claimed homes. The ones left are all peaceful - for now. Will have to wait and see about the other red zebra and OB red zebra which are still small, and no trouble at the moment. If that changes, I can re-home them later.
Along with the two kennys, and the large red zebra, I`m re-homing the medium sized sailfin Pleco.  I will keep the yellow labs, the Rustys and yellow tail acei with the haps and peacocks.  I know that the yellow tail acei is a schooling fish so I will likely get 4 more.  I`ve heard the same about the cuckoo cats.  Should I get another one?
< If your cuckoo cat is a Syn. multipunctatus then a few more will make them feel more at home.>
 My main concern is that I read conflicting info about peacocks/haps in terms of mixing species.  It is clear that it is not good to mix species with similar looking females due to cross breeding and hybridization.  However, an article I read suggested that you can keep 4 different species of Aulonocara if you pick one from each of the following sub-groups:  Chitande, Jacobfreibergi, Stuartgranti, and sand dwellers (like Gertrudae).  So far, from my reseach,
I discerned that the Otopharynx falls into the Chitande sub-group, correct?
< The genus Aulonocara is characterized by the cichlids having a series of pores along the bottom of the jaw that that pick up vibrations of food items living in the sand. Cichlids without this feature are not placed in the genus Aulonocara. The Otopharynx is not a peacock. In the hobby it is usually placed in the hap group.>
 The Eureka peacock falls into the Jacobfreibergi sub-group, correct?
< Correct >
  So I could then select a Stuartgranti species such as the Stuartgranti maleri or Ngara species?  As for the sand dwellers, I do not want any at the moment.  Was this article accurate?  Can I also get the Stuartgranti ("yellow Regal") or Ngara ("Flametail") with the other Aulonocara or is this inviting cross breeding?
< Generally, blue colored peacocks and the Jake groups do best in Malawi community cichlid tanks. Yellows do best in a species only tank. I would recommend  getting males only unless you are planning on breeding them.>
Afterwards, I am looking forward to adding some Copadichromis borleyi (Kandango) and Copadichromis .  Can I, or is it better to select only one from these two sub-groups?
<  Go with the borleyi since the females will have some color on the fins.>
 Or in other words, does the rule about
Aulonocara apply to the other species as well?
< Here is how it works. If you have this big tank full of blue fish, the females will breed with the dominant blue fish. This means your fish will cross breed and  your tank will have numerous little strange cichlids that don't look like anything.>
 I would also like to get one Crytocara Moorii (aka "dolphin head").  To this mix, can I add Protomelas sp. steveni Taiwan (Taiwan Reef) or Protomelas sp. spilonotus Tanzania (Liuli) or will this be inviting cross breeding?
< Yes>
  I also like the following fish:  Pundamillia nyererei, Cynotilapia Afra (Cobue), Haplochromis ''ruby green'', Pseudotropheus demasoni, Pseudotropheus Saulosi, and Pseudotropheus Socolofi and I have considered some Lethrinops.  I prefer to keep the fish smaller than the 6 inch length, a few bigger are OK but I don`t want to get too much into species larger than 10 inches.  I prefer more herbivores than carnivores.  My concern is that I would like to utilize all of the tank, not just the mid section or bottom.
I appreciate selecting stock is very individual, but I would be interested in hearing your suggestions on stocking this tank.
< Skip the Victorians. They will have a difficult time competing with the Malawi cichlids. In my Malawi tank all the fish have color or at the least an interesting pattern and get along.  I would recommend the following:
Yellow labs ( Good stock have a orange -yellow color with black fins) or Labidochromis chisumulae ( Blue male with white female).
Rustys ( Both sexes look alike)
Ps Saulosi ( Blue striped male with yellow orange female) or Ps demasoni (Both sexes are blue with black stripes).
Ps acei ( Both sexes look alike, feeds on algae on driftwood )
Ps lanistacola ( Malawi shell dweller)
Mel parallelus ( Black male with blue horizontal stripes, females are white with black horizontal stripes)
Red Fin ( Colorful male and females are silver grey with red fins)
Red Top L. trewavasae ( Blue male with red dorsal fin, females are a bright orange color.) or L fuelleborni Marmalade Cat ( beautiful mottled fish)
C. moorii ( both sexes look alike but get big humps on their foreheads)
You get the idea. Keep all the fish colorful unless you are interested in breeding. Then keep them in a species only tank.>
As for the high nitrates, have you heard of Maglife USA`s new substrate, Nitrastrate that is naturally buoyant and reduces nitrates?  Has anyone tried it?  Does it work?  Do the fish like it?  I am in the process of setting up a refugium to cycle the fish water through that will help reduce the nitrates
< Nitrates are converted to Nitrogen gas by anaerobic bacteria. I would increase the filter maintenance, occasionally vacuum  the gravel, and try a vegetable based fish food high in Spirulina to reduce the nitrates. Haven't heard of the product but have seen similar claims on products over the years that may work for awhile.-Chuck>
Re: Haps/Peacock Stocking Options for 330 G tank  11/22/12

Stocking a 330 Gallon Malawi Cichlid Tank II
Thanks for your insight and comments, Chuck!  Yes, my catfish is a Syn. multipunctatus so I will add two more.  Thanks for the clarification on the peacocks.  The species you recommend seem to be sufficiently different from one another so as to discourage cross breeding.  I'll do more research on the stock you suggested and then decide.  With your suggested stock list, does Mary Bailey's rule of thumb re:  inches of fish/square foot of tank still apply?
< Since most cichlids are territorial it is wise to be aware or there passion for their own area. Mary's rule is s good place to start but it is not species specific. I would give a little more space to some of the more aggressive species like Ps elongatus types and very little territory to the less aggressive species like the Ps. acei . When it comes right down to all fish are individuals and you will have to watch you fish to determine the limits of their territories.>
What  vegetable based fish food have you used with good results?
< When you look at the ingredients listed on the package for Spirulina food you will see fish meal as the first main ingredient. This is because fish will not eat pure Spirulina.  Spirulina should be lists close to the top as a list of ingredients. I feed Zoomed Spirulina 20, OSI also makes a very good food. Some brine shrimp flake and plankton flake fed sporadically will enhance the fishes colors. Stay away from any type of worm food. Lake Malawi cichlids don't do well on bloodworms, glassworms or earthworm flake.>
I live in a rural area, so my LFS is very limited in choices so I will likely have to order on line.
< Good luck.-Chuck> Cheers, AW.

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