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Kenyi Cichlid

A Cichlids Article on: Kenyi Cichlid

The Kenyi Cichlid is a very active and aggressive fish. When young they are a bright blue, but as they mature, the female will become paler in color while the male becomes a vivid yellow, or gold. During all phases of development, they have numerous black bands that run vertically. Although, these bands are usually barely visible on mature males.

Kenyi's are mouth brooders; the female will lay the eggs and collect them all in her mouth.
At maturity, these cichlids usually reach around 5 to 6 inches and they can live for 10 years or more when well cared for. Water temperatures should be maintained between 74 and 80 degrees and the pH level should range from 8.0 to 8.5. They are sensitive to high levels of nitrate, so frequent water changes are crucial.

A single Kenyi can be housed in a 10-gallon tank, but a male with several females requires a tank size of at least 50 gallons. They will appreciate a tank that is heavily decorated. Pieces of terracotta, rocks, caves, and many plants will provide them with plenty of hiding places. However, some open space is needed as well.

They need lots of water movement and a very efficient filtration system. They prefer a substrate of sand, but small pebbles will work fine. To help keep the pH level up, sand that is used specifically for salt-water aquariums, or crushed coral can be used.

Kenyi cichlids are omnivores and they will gladly accept both frozen and live foods. Both pellets and flakes can be used as well as feeder fish, brine shrimp, bloodworms, and glass worms. They will also enjoy crickets, chopped beef heart, and plankton. Spinach, zucchini, lettuce, and peas can be used to supplement their diet.

They will also devour algae from the sides of the tank, so during water changes the tank sides should not be scraped. A higher water quality can be maintained by feeding them small amounts several times throughout the day instead of feeding them a larger amount of food once a day.

Kenyi cichlids are very messy fish and will deteriorate quickly when the water conditions are poor. Partial water changes of from 10 to 20 percent should be done at least once weekly depending on the amount of fish that are kept in the aquarium.

They are very aggressive and it is recommended that they be only kept with the same species. However, males will generally kill any other males of the same species kept in the tank. Aggressiveness can sometimes be decreased by having a large tank that provides numerous territories. The Kenyi cichlid should never be kept with peaceful, non-aggressive cichlids.

These cichlids are easy to breed, but will need to be around 3 inches long before they will reach sexual maturity. One male should be kept with 4 to 5 females to prevent one female from being too stressed. It is very important to provide lots of hiding places during this time. Males are usually overly aggressive during breeding and the female will need a safe place to retreat.

Kenyi's are mouth brooders; the female will lay the eggs and collect them all in her mouth. The female tries to collect the egg spots on the male's anal fin stimulating the release of sperm, which fertilizes the eggs in her mouth. Each female will produce around 50 eggs at each spawning.

The female will carry the fry in her mouth for 3 to 4 weeks until she feels they are ready to be released. Young fry can eat a variety of foods such as finely crushed flakes, artemia, and cyclopeeze. Once they have reached about 2 inches in length they can be fed feeder fish.

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