Description: Cyphotilapia frontosa is one of the most popular cichlids from Lake Tanganyika, and with good reason. This species is outgoing and will eat out of the aquarist’s hand. It is not as active or as aggressive as other Lake Tanganyika cichlids. This large cichlid has blue vertical stripes and six or seven darker blue-black bands. It has a nuchal/cephalic hump on the forehead, which grows as the fish grows older, and it is also a sign of sexual maturity. Their fins also grow with age. With good care, your frontosa can live to about 25 years.
The best setup for the frontosa is a large colony aquarium (at least 125 gallons) with one male and three males. These are moderately aggressive cichlids, and males may not tolerate each other. Because the frontosa is a large fish, growing up to 15 inches, it should not be in a community aquarium with smaller fish (all tankmates should be larger than 3 inches). Decorate the aquarium with rocks that create caves or clay pots where they can hide.
In the wild, the frontosa cichlid hunts nocturnally for fish, snails and mussels. In the aquarium, feed Cyphotilapia frontosa a staple diet of meaty foods, including Mysis, krill and worms (you can try flakes, but they may be ignored). Also provide occasional treats, such as bloodworms, Tubifex worms, glassworms and Daphnia. The frontosa cichlid can be trained to eat from your hand.
Breeding: It is difficult to tell between the sexes, but males generally have larger humps than females, and they are usually a bit larger overall. When a male is ready to breed, he will attract a female to a spawning site, and they lay and incubate about 50 eggs. The female incubates the eggs in her mouth and cares for them for about 30 days. After the eggs hatch, she keeps the fry in a tight group until they can fend for themselves. At this point, separate the fry and raise them in an aquarium separate from the adults. While the female is caring for the eggs, the male may need to be removed so he does not eat the eggs and fry. Because the fry are so large, they are easy to feed with finely crushed flake food or newly hatched brine shrimp. It will take three to four years before the fish reach sexual maturity.