Raising Frontosa Cichlids

Frontosa cichlids live in the rocky areas of Lake Tanganyika.
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The frontosa is one of the famous African cichlids from the Rift Valley lakes. These cichlids are less aggressive than most of the other African cichlids, making them more ideal for the home aquarium.


Like most cichlids, frontosas breed easily. It's a bit tricky to tell the males from the females, but the cranial hump on the heads of the males is somewhat larger than on females. If you feed them nutritious, meaty foods like bloodworms, earthworms and daphnia (and they can be trained to eat from your hand!), they will most likely pair off and spawn on their own.


Frontosas breed by mouthbrooding. Mouthbrooding is when a fish cares for its eggs and young by carrying them around in its mouth. In this case, the female carries the eggs around in her mouth until they hatch after about a month or so. You may need to remove the male during this period, as he is more likely to eat the eggs.

Raising the Fry

The baby frontosas, called "fry," are large and well-developed, like many cichlids. This means less work for you. Once the female stops keeping a close eye on them, you should move them to another tank to care for them. You can feed them baby brine shrimp or even ground-up flake food.

The Colony

It will take several years for your frontosas to reach sexual maturity. You can keep them in a large (125-gallon) "colony" aquarium. In this type of aquarium, you remove the young when they're too small to fend for themselves but large enough that the mother stops watching them intensely, then return them once they've gained some size. You can do this will several generations of frontosa cichlids if your tank is large enough.

the nest