Name: Labidochromis caeruleus
Origin: Lake Malawi (Africa)
I have 2 male and 2 female the sexes are fairly easy to tell apart. Males have the black on their dorsal, pelvic and abdominal ventral fins. Also I have noticed that the males have a horizontal black marking on their eyes were as the females usually do not. Females are also with out black on the pelvic and abdomen ventrals. Although some might have a light charcoal marking on the pelvic and abdomen ventrals. These markings are beautiful and very striking. Yellow Labs are a harty fish and are easy to care for. They can and do breed easily in the right tank environment. Ideally there should be one male to two or more females. This way the male will be able to divide his attention and not terrorize or pick on one lone female. Dropping the water level by doing a water change and temperature changes can bring on a spawning drive. Labs are a friendly fish and are very interactive. Mine will eat out of my hands and like to nibble at me when I am cleaning the tank. They love lots of hiding places to feel safe when they rest. Plants and rock caves are a must. Males will fight from time to time, circling tail to mouth and then stop to face each other with mouths open wide in a tug of war lip lock. Changing the tank around every so often helps to keep this to a minimum. I have enjoyed watching these fish and find that they are a part of my family and not just a pet.
Yellow labs are one of my favorite mbuna. They're beautiful, hardy, and not as aggressive as most other mbuna species. I have about 8 juvenile labs housed with an equal number of juvenile Pseudotropheus demasoni (a very beautiful blue- and black-barred dwarf mbuna) in my African cichlid tank. The contrast between the sulfur-yellow and midnight-blue fish against plain rocks and gravel is so vivid, it almost looks more like a marine tank than a freshwater setup. One caution though: these little guys are pigs, and will quickly become obese if you feed them every time they look hungry. They learn quickly that a person approaching the tank usually means a feeding, and will wriggle against the glass, stare at you, follow your every move, and all but jump out of the water in hopes that food is forthcoming. Overfeeding will not only make them fat and unhealthy; it will quickly pollute the water, causing ammonia and nitrite levels to soar even in an established aquarium. Lake Malawi cichlids come from some of the cleanest water in the world, so water quality is extremely important in a mbuna tank.
I've been keeping and breeding Lake Malawi cichlids for years. Labidochromis caeruleus is one of my favorites. They are one of the more docile mbuna (rockdwelling) species, and are an ideal fish, for novice cichlid keepers. They can be kept in reasonable sized tanks (110 liters or larger), are hardy, and breed easily. Contrary to popular opinion, this mbuna isn't vegetarian. L. caeruleus picks invertebrates off of the biocover. In an aquarium, a typical tropical fish diet will do (they will eat almost anything). Brine shrimp helps keep them brightly colored.
I was a little suprised that everyone said these fish are quite peaceful - this is the only Cichlid I have ever kept and if he is peaceful others must just be blood thirsty maniacs! I put this fish into my mum's community tank while I was moving house and he systematically terrorized the poor little Platies - he even bit off one Platy´s pectoral fins so that it couldn't swim properly and died a horrible death. So, maybe I just got a crazy specimen but beware these friendly active little fish may be hiding something more sinister! [Editor´s note: it is highly inadvisable to mix any African Cichlid with peaceful community fish - M.A.]
These African Cichlids are aggressive little things. I put 3 in a community tank and my female Betta lost all of her fins! Not only did my Betta loose her fins, but my Black and Gold Dust Mollies had to hide constantly to stay away from these hellion fish! I finally got a 75 liter tank and put the Labs in there, but I am telling you, don't put the Labs in a community tank.
HEHE, yes they are a relatively peaceful fish, but that does not mean they can go with delicate fish like guppies or things that have long fins/thingys like gouramis. But, they can go with normal community fish in a large enough tank (120+ cm tanks). If you do have a large enough tank and you are looking for a fish that can go with almost any cichlid less than 12 cm it's the rainbow fish. These inhabit the upper tank. The Royal is great...just don't go for the rainbows that stay under 10 cm. I have used this combo for 5+ years. Some particularly diabolical cichlids will attack them at first, but after a few days of realizing they just can't keep up the alpha ends up sitting side by side with the cichlid back to attacking his own brethren.