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A Cichlids Article on: Frontosa Cichlid
The Frontosa cichlid is a beautiful fish that can have either a blue or a white body adorned with black bands that run vertically, although a blue body is more common. They grow quite large reaching a foot or more in length at maturity and under the right conditions and care, can live for as long as 25 years.
Because they do get so big and become really active when frightened, you should never use aquarium decorations or rocks that have sharp edges. Anything that they can injure themselves on when they quickly dart through the water should be removed.
It is a good idea to make sure that everything in the tank is well anchored; Frontosa's are very strong fish. Moreover, a fish this large darting through the water can easily knock tank decorations and rock formations against the tank glass and crack it.
The aquarium should be 75 to 100 gallons in size. And, to provide a larger swimming area, a longer tank is much better than one that is deeper. The substrate can consist of either sand or fine gravel and there should be several caves that they can use for hiding places. The ideal pH level is around 8 and the temperature should be maintained between 75 and 80 degrees.
In the wild, Frontosa's feed mainly on small fish, so they will thrive on a meal of feeder fish occasionally. But, you can also feed them either live or frozen Krill, Mysis, Worms, and Shrimp. Cichlid pellets and flakes are also excellent choices; however once they have reached about 5 inches in length, most of them will not eat flakes and pellets.
Frontosa cichlids are classified as semi-aggressive fish. However, they are generally very compatible with most other fish that are the same size. Smaller fish are in danger of being eaten. Clown Loaches and larger Plecos are good tank mates and other cichlids originating from Lake Tanganyika are very compatible.
These slow growing fish will need at least three years to reach sexual maturity. The best way to distinguish when a male is ready to breed is by his color, he will usually exhibit a bluer tone. The egg tubes in the female will begin to protrude when she is ready to spawn.
The best ratio to get optimal success in breeding is to have four females to each male. The male will choose a location in the tank to release his sperm, generally a cave. Then the female will follow behind him releasing her eggs into the sperm. After all of the eggs are released, usually around 50, the female will scoop them up into her mouth.
Incubation can take over 30 days, during this time the female will eat very little, if anything. Even after the fry have hatched, she will continue to allow them into her mouth for some time when she feels they are in danger. After she stops protecting them in this way, they should be moved into a separate tank. The adult's will see them as feeder fish and eat them.
Often referred to as the Humphead cichlid, the sex can sometimes be determined by the hump that forms on their heads as they mature. The males tend to have a larger hump than the females; however, this is not an accurate way to determine sex when the fish are young as the hump develops with maturity.
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