Banana Cichlid (Lapidochromis Caeruleus) Pictured here is the Electric Yellow variety of the Banana Cichlid. It is one of the commonest Malawi Cichlids on the market, one of the least expensive, and one of the most popular. However, although common in fish shops, the yellow form of Lapidochromis caeruleus is the rarest of the multitude of colors that this fish comes in naturally. The most common color morph found in Malawi is blue and white. None the yellow Banana cichlid stocked in shops around the globe were born in the wild, though. Their popularity guarantees that breeders will be supplying these fish to the public in relatively good numbers. But while they are cheaply proced, beautiful, and widely recognized as an excellent starter fish for people interested in growing African cichlids, you need to ask yourself if they are right for you and avoid making an impulse purchase. First, although considered peaceful for a Malawian cichlid, it is a relative term. They should never be kept with non-African lake fish. Even if the water requirements were similar, no molly or angelfish is going to be able to live happily with a mbuna for a tankmate. You can keep them successfully with the cichlids known as Haps but if you are going to put them into a mbuna tank with the Banana cichlid’s more aggressive cousins, be sure to overstock (and overfilter) the tank. Ideally they should be kept in a species tanm. An aquarium of 150 liters/ 50 gallons should be enough for a single male and a group of three or four females. It is easy to tell the genders apart because the males have egg spots on their anal fin.
Size: 10cm/4 inches
Temperature: 24-28°C/ 75-82°F
Feeding: Banana cichlids are easy to feed but you should limit the amount of protein they get. They are not designed to digest it and too much will cause liver problems. Instead make the majority of their diet spirulina, blanced vegetables, and algae.
Habitat: They need a specific habitat to flourish. Their aquarium should contain hard water with a pH of 7.5 or above. The substrate should be sand with at least one large rock pile cemented together, providing lots of caves and crevices. Do not waste your money by attempting to add plants to a Malawi cichlid tank…most will tear them to pieces.
Breeding: Banana cichlids are maternal mouthbrooders. The mother will cary 5 to 30 eggs and young in her mouth for up to 3 weeks during which time she will not eat. But be careful! If she becomes stressed in that period, she will eat her offspring. In a species tank, there is little danger of predation to the fry which is another excellent reason to keep them in a species tank. Don’t worry about getting overrun with fish like with convicts! The small brood size and high demand for these fish means most local fish stores are happy to take extras off your hands
They really brighten up a tank. I put some bushy fake plants in my mbuna tank as a refuge for babies. A few make it. I figure those are the brightest strongest ones so will have some good fish to grow out.