Cichlids Yellow (Labidochromis): Habitat, Care, Disease, Facts

Many aquarists want to decorate their home pond with fish with a bright and juicy color. Cichlids of Lake Malawi are perfect for this: they stand out for their amazing “outfits”, you can watch them for hours. This species is relatively peaceful and unpretentious to care for. Labidochromis are the most peaceful cichlids, which are recommended to start with for amateur beginners.

cichlids yellow labidochromis

Cichlids yellow Description

Electric yellow cichlid (Labidochromis caeruleus) is a freshwater fish from the tropics, belongs to the cichloid family. She is a rare endemic aquarium inhabitant. Its name, translated from Latin “yellow hummingbird cichlid”, indicates a small body size and color variety in comparison with other cichlids. You can also find white and pale yellow color variations, but only bright lemon-yellow representatives have become the most popular among aquarists. They are also called Yellow African fish or gold labidochromis.

Are yellow cichlids aggressive?

Only the Electric yellow cichlid does not show the aggression that is natural for all cichlids and is very often able to get along with different aquarium fish, even of medium size. Attacks of aggression can still appear, but only during spawning, as well as when kept with species of identical color, which males take labidochromis for rivals.

These yellow African fish do not live in schools, they can mostly be seen in pairs or one at a time.

Labidochromis are unpretentious in their content, they are easy to breed, therefore they are recommended for beginners who first decided to keep Malawian cichlids.

History of Cichlids yellow (Labidochromis) species

Labidochromis yellow was first described in 1956 when it was discovered by African fishermen on Lake Malawi. 

The wide habitat in many parts of the lake and the activity of reproduction made it possible for labidochromis to have a significant variety of external colors: from white to lemon yellow and even blue. Electric blue labidochromis is rare and is found only off the western shores of Nkata Bay and the islands of Lions Cove and Charo. 

These cichlids came to Europe in 1980. Swedish importer Stig Jansson presented a male and a female to his friend. 

It began to be implemented as an aquarium species in 1986, after Pierre Brichard achieved success in the reproduction of labidochromis in captivity. Tanganyika Labidochromis has not lost its former sales activity up to now.

Cichlids Yellow Habitat

The habitat is one of the largest African lakes – Malawi. The life of this fish is closely connected with the rocky shores of the lake. Hence its attribution to the Mbuna group, which is translated from the language of the natives as “a fish that lives by the rocks.” In Malawi, these ray-finned fish prefer the western rocky shores at a depth of 10 to 50 meters, where they make refuge in crevices. Yellow labidochromis live only in the northern part of the lake.

In natural conditions, labidochromis is not easy to detect it mostly hides in cracks in rocks and caves.

Cichlids Yellow are not strictly territorial fish. Fights for the territory of residence are not satisfied.

Cichlids Yellow Appearance

Cichlids Yellow (Labidochromis Yellow), like other representatives of Lake Malawi cichlids,  has an elongated, streamlined, slightly flattened body shape from the sides. The size of fish living in the wild is about 8 cm, in aquarium conditions, the hummingbird cichlid can reach 15 cm in length. They are the smallest representatives of the cichlid family, hence the name of the species in honor of the smallest bird on Earth.

In aquarium conditions, the hummingbird cichlid can reach 15 cm in length

In nature, you can observe more than 10 color variants of hummingbird cichlids, but the most popular in captivity are the yellow labidochromis. The body of an adult yellow cichlid is completely colored in a rich lemon yellow color. It is beautifully set off by a contrasting black wide stripe of long pointed dorsal and oval anal fins, as well as dark fins on the chest. A vertical dark stripe adorns each eye of the fish. Males also have oval orange spots on the anal fin.

With the help of the unique structure of the mouth apparatus, this fish has an excellent opportunity to collect algae and various invertebrates from the rocks.  

The small mouth contains small, elongated, conical teeth, similar to tweezers. They are very convenient for labidochromis to get food from even the smallest cracks in the rocks. Hence the generic name: in translation from the Greek labidos tongs.

Cichlids Yellow Lifespan

It must be borne in mind that the life span of labidochromis directly depends on the creation of suitable living conditions and, of course, careful care. Overpopulation of the reservoir negatively affects the life expectancy of the fish. Competition with other fish species shortens the life cycle of the yellow cichlid. 

Life expectancy directly depends on the creation of living conditions

The life of labidochromis is prolonged by such factors as a correctly selected substrate, sufficient saturation of the reservoir with oxygen, adherence to cleanliness, the correct feeding regimen and many other conditions of the aquarium environment. 

Maintaining the optimal temperature in the aquarium is a positive factor in prolonging the life of the hummingbird cichlid. It should be remembered that the warmer the water, the faster the metabolic processes take place.

The size of the fish also plays an important role.  Medium-sized labidochromis can live for 7-10 years  . 

Types of labidochromis (Cichlids)

There are several types of labidochromis, each of which has its own distinctive features.

types of labidochromis cichlids

Labidochromis caeruleus (Electric yellow cichlid)

The most popular of Lake Malawi’s cichlids is due to its bright color and relatively peaceful nature. The fish has earned this name with its rich lemon body color. The dorsal fin is decorated with an attractive black stripe contrasting with the color of the body, while the anal and abdominal fin is completely black. 

This species is designated as a dwarf cichlid because its body length is no more than 10 cm.

An aquarium with a volume of 120 liters or more, decorated with many stones and grottoes, can be used for keeping 2-5 individuals. Cichlids Yellow represents the most peaceful Mbuna group: she does not fight for territory and gets along well with many of her relatives. Rarely shows aggression, and then only to fish with an identical color or during the spawning period.

An aquarium from 120 liters can be used to keep 2-5 individuals of this species

Quite peaceful with other neighbors in the case of living in a common aquarium. The eggs are hatched in the female’s mouth.

Hongi red top (Labidochromis sp. Hongi)

A rare cichlid in hobbyist circles, it is rapidly gaining popularity for its amazing coloration. A poorly studied species, named after the place where it was first discovered.

Lives in the northeastern parts of Lake Malawi, at the intersection of Lundo Island and the large city of Liuli. Living conditions are similar to the more studied conditions of individuals of the Mbuna group.

Males are colored blue or white-blue, and the forehead, occipital and dorsal fins are yellow to orange. Females and juveniles are less brightly colored. To keep just one pair of fish, you need an aquarium of at least 100 liters.  Reproduction is easy, eggs are hatched in the mouth. 

Little-studied species, named after the place where it was first discovered .

Color morphs are often referred to as Kimpuma or Kimpuma red. 

7 Keeping Cichlids Yellow caring Rules

Experience shows that the content of labidochromis does not present any particular difficulties. Such fish are recommended for beginners to breed African cichlids.

In order for Cichlids Yellow to feel comfortable,  an aquarium with a volume of more than 100 liters is needed. This capacity will be enough for one male with a “harem” of three or four females to settle in it. It is advisable to keep exactly one male in such an aquarium in order to avoid conflicts between them.

But in order to be able to observe all the habits, courtship processes, hierarchical relationships, you should purchase an aquarium with a volume of 200-300 liters. It will even be possible to breed a flock of Yellow in it.

Fights with injuries between individuals of this species are extremely rare. Females carrying offspring do not need to be placed in a separate tank. Nothing will disturb them in the surrounding peaceful atmosphere. Only if the number of sexually mature males is more than two, can we expect the manifestation of aggression between relatives.

Yellow aquarium fish are quite demanding on the conditions in which they will have to exist. They need clean water, the hydrochemical composition and temperature of which are stable. 

Cichlids Yellow are quite demanding on living conditions

Rule 1. Large aquarium

Aquarium size for Labidochromis Yellow is very important. In natural living conditions, cichlids have a lot of room for free swimming. Therefore, the aquarium must be purchased with a large volume (from 100 liters), preferably a rectangular shape.

In the pond for Yellow, you can observe the decor in the style of minimalism. This will allow the fish to rebuild the conditions in their own way, which is very characteristic of cichlids, without creating problems for the owners with the establishment of order, as well as to play naughty and frolic to their heart’s content.

It is best to design an aquarium in the style typical of Malawian cichlids: sandy soil, a large number of stones and snags, from which multiple shelters are created, and a minimum amount of living plants (best of all hard-leaved) in a word, “stone desert”.

A few stones with uneven surfaces should be laid out at the bottom to create places where the fish can take refuge. African cichlids are accustomed to alkaline hard water, like the one that flows from the taps of Russian apartments. Therefore, it is possible to use limestone and marble stones.

The most recommended aquadecor technique for such fish is “Pseudomore”

For the purpose of organizing places of shelter, you can also use artificial grottoes or caves. 

You can place snags and coconut shells at the bottom, although in nature they are not part of the “interior” of cichlid habitats.

To prevent overly playful fish from spontaneously jumping out of the aquarium, cover it with a lid.

Rule 2. Suitable water

Suitable aquarium water parameters for labidochromis yellow:

  • temperature – 23-28 ° С;
  • pH balance – 7-8.8 units;
  • water hardness – 8-20 units.

 Water movement is suitable for both strong and moderate 

It is necessary to change water for freshwater weekly in the amount of 15–20% of the total. To do this, use settled tap water. Check your aquarium water regularly for ammonia and nitrates.

Rule 3. Special plants

Yellow, like all cichlids, strongly exterminate aquarium plants. Therefore, to revive the “stone desert”, it is better to plant Cryptocoryne and Anubias. It is these plants that will be in order in the reservoir with representatives of this species. Moreover, this vegetation is unpretentious to the conditions: it does not require powerful lighting or special conditions for growth. 

Duckweed and Vallisneria will not only improve water quality but will also be an excellent addition to your diet.

Rule 4. Correct scenery and ground

Aquarium bottom with Cichlids Yellow is covered with sand, shell rock, small pebbles. You can also use marble or coral chips as soil. 

The scenery for the pond should be placed so that it looks as much like a natural cichlid as possible. Cichlids Yellow fish spend a lot of time in the water column, but nevertheless, they often hide at the bottom. That is why it is necessary to build blockages of stones, build gorges and grottoes, which the pets will then protect, starting battles for territory.

Rule 5. Special equipment

To create optimal living conditions for cichlids in captivity in clean, oxygen-rich water without nitrogenous compounds, you will need special equipment:

  • An external filter that will filter 2-3 liters per hour. He must filter the water in the aquarium with high quality. At the same time, a strong pressure is permissible: yellow cichlids treat it calmly, the active movement of water is familiar to them. 
  • Compressor for saturating the aquarium water with the required amount of oxygen or a pump with aeration.
  • Heater for creating comfortable temperature conditions. 
  • Siphon for cleaning.
  • Thermometer for temperature control.
  • A net for catching fish.

It is imperative to install a pump with aeration in the aquarium.

If you wish, you can buy a special feeder, with which it will become more convenient to feed labidochromis.

Rule 6. Lighting of medium brightness

It is recommended to create medium-intensity lighting: too bright light in an aquarium with labidochromis is superfluous, but low lighting will not work for them either. 

It is better to choose blue or red lamps that will not overheat the water. The yellow fish is most impressed by the blue spectrum of lighting, where you can add shades of yellow or green light.

You also need to focus on the needs of the plants in the reservoir. 

Rule 7. Feeding including plant food

Cichlids Yellow are picky about food,  eat whatever is offered to them. In the wild, they feed on insects and algae, and their diet includes both molluscs and small crustaceans. 

Therefore, making a menu for hummingbird cichlids in captivity does not cause difficulties, the fish are happy to eat good-quality dry food. A balanced diet for labidochromis should contain both plant food (mainly) and animal food. The main thing is not to feed them only with protein products, which are live or frozen food, because this is fraught with gastrointestinal diseases. 

It is recommended to use food for feeding labidochromis that will fully satisfy their nutritional needs, containing the necessary algae of spirulina, nori, and chlorella.

Specially balanced for cichlids of the Mbuna group, flake, or chip-like, or granular, containing natural carotenoids to enhance the color of pets, food can be purchased at pet stores.

For a variety of yellow fish diets, it is great to use bloodworms or brine shrimp in healthy jelly. 

The feed should be given 2-3 times a day in moderation: the fish should eat it in 2-3 minutes.  Uneaten food is immediately removed from the reservoir. 1 day a week, you can arrange a “fasting day” for pets – do not feed them at all.

The Cichlids Yellow (labidochromis) menu can also include:

  • daphnia;
  • shrimp and mussels; 
  • minced meat;
  • cereals;
  • carrot;
  • duckweed;
  • salad and spinach leaves;
  • dry vegetable food;
  • peeled peas.

Live food must be frozen or treated with a weak solution of methylene blue to avoid introducing parasites into the aquarium.

What fish can live with yellow cichlids?

Cichlids Yellow with its livable character can be compatible in the same reservoir with Malawian cichlids of similar sizes, such as pseudotrophies, melanochromis, etc. Lemon fish will live with such medium and large species: 

  • labeo;
  • fights;
  • iris;
  • ancistrus. 

In a large aquarium, next to hummingbird cichlids, synodontis or pterygoplichts, blue fish dolphins, and aulonocar can safely settle.

Small fish with veil fins are often attacked by yellow cichlids. The same is true for the species of yellow color shades. 

Cichlids Yellow will not coexist peacefully with slow-swimming species and viviparous fish, which include:

  • neons and tetras; 
  • goldfish; 
  • parrot fish; 
  • danio; 
  • astronaut.

It is necessary that in one reservoir the number of females should be at least twice the number of males. Otherwise, males fights during spawning are inevitable. 

Cichlids Yellow Reproduction and breeding

Labidochromis yellow is very easy to breed. For breeding offspring, you do not need to create special conditions.  Hummingbird cichlids reproduce well in a common reservoir. It is rare that to stimulate the spawning period it is necessary to increase the temperature of the water in the aquarium by several degrees. 

Individuals reach sexual maturity by 6-8 months of age. The pairs created by labidochromis are often very stable.

The place of the forthcoming spawning is arranged by the male. To do this, he needs to dig a depression or clear a stone in a protected place. Here the female lays eggs, which are instantly fertilized by the male. The whole process takes 40 to 60 minutes.

The female can lay from 8 to 40 eggs, depending on her age. At the end of the fertilization process, she collects the eggs in her mouth in order to carry them in the throat sac intended for this for 24-40 days. All these days, the female does not eat anything. She still continues to look after the already hatched babies, hiding the babies from danger again in her mouth. This type of gestation can result in the mother accidentally swallowing eggs or fry, for example, during stress or fright.

Fry, 2-3 mm in size, emerged from the mother’s mouth, can feed on their own. To feed them, you can use live dust or ground dry food. Yellowfish fry are characterized by their ability to survive well even in the presence of a large number of neighbors. 

In order to avoid eating juveniles by neighbors in the aquarium, equipped places for shelter are still needed.

electric yellow cichlid male or female

 Sexual dimorphism in yellow cichlids is not pronounced. But the dominant male can be distinguished – he has the brightest body color and well-developed fins. Other males look paler on its background and almost do not differ from females, in rare cases they are larger, with dark pelvic fins (in the female, these fins are yellow).

The presence of dark spots around the eyes or mouth can also be a hallmark of the male. 

Cichlids yellow Diseases, illnesses and treatment

With proper care and favorable conditions, the yellow hummingbird cichlid fish is not susceptible to disease. If these rules are not followed, then she may suffer from injuries, ichthyophthyroidism, tuberculosis, fin rot, poisoning and swelling in Malawi.


Most often, injuries occur from collisions with aquarium décor that has sharp edges. The cause of injuries can be their clashes with relatives. 

Most often, injuries occur from collisions with the sharp edges of the decor.

With good functioning of the fish’s immune system, the resulting wounds will soon heal. 

If the wound is infected, the individual becomes inactive, does not swim out of the shelter. Antifungal drugs and antibiotics can be used for treatment.


Often, Cichlids Yellow are poisoned. Symptoms include a swollen abdomen (dropsy) and heavy, rapid breathing. The cause of the disease is pathogenic bacteria eaten by the fish along with poor quality live food.

Add methylene blue to your aquarium water as soon as possible. The disease is difficult to cure, the outcome is mostly fatal.

Such toxic substances as chlorine, ammonia, heavy metals lead to poisoning. In this case, the loss of coordination and movement activity is added to the rapid breathing. 

To prevent such cases, it is necessary to process decorative elements and a substrate (pour over with boiling water). For the same purpose, it is imperative to defend water for a change, periodically add conditioners. 

Regular cleaning in the aquarium, washing the decorations without the use of detergents are also preventive measures against poisoning. It is also very important to monitor the operation of filters and air conditioners in the aquarium. Used or broken appliances must be replaced or repaired.

Regular cleaning is a preventive measure against poisoning


Tuberculosis is caused by pathogenic bacteria that enter the aquarium with food, substrate, or infected fish. Symptoms: severe weight loss, bulging eyes. Not amenable to treatment. 

A diseased individual must be deposited in a separate container, and the aquarium with decorations is washed and disinfected, the substrate and vegetation are replaced with new ones.

Ichthyoftiriosis, or deficiency

In this disease, the body and fins of the cichlid are strewn with light dots. The reason is ciliated ciliates.

The addition of malachite green preparation often leads to good results. After completing the treatment, it is necessary to replace ½ the volume of water.

Fin rot

This infection develops in fish in dirty water or from stress. The disease manifests itself first by the formation of a light plaque along the edges of the fins, which then covers the entire body.

At the first symptoms, the diseased individual is isolated in a separate container. 

At the first symptoms, the diseased individual is isolated in a separate container.

Basically, the disease heals on its own. In case of advanced disease, you must consult a specialist.

Bloating Malawi

African bloating is a disease of labidochromis and other cichlid species from Lake Malawi. It happens from inappropriate nutrition or neighborhood, as well as due to inappropriate water parameters. 

A lethal outcome can occur within 3 days.  Antibiotics are prescribed as treatment.  

how much do yellow cichlids cost

How much do yellow cichlids cost? and purchase rules

It is recommended to purchase hummingbird cichlids in flocks (3-5 females per male).  Individuals should be carefully examined, and before launching into a common aquarium, they should be placed in quarantine with a weakly diluted manganese solution.

The cost of one Labidochromis caeruleus var. Yellow 3-4 cm in size is about 3 dollars, 5-6 cm – 5$, larger fish can be purchased for 7 Dollars.

Cichlids yellow (labidochromis) Interesting Facts

The yellow fish is quite inexpensive, but its beauty and originality of behavior will not leave anyone indifferent.

Cichlids yellow love digging. Therefore, the frequent rearrangement of decor items in their reservoir is a common occurrence.

Experienced aquarists concluded that if the fry of hummingbird cichlids from birth are contained in a container with algae, they get used to them and do not destroy them.

Yellow cichlids are famous for their vitality due to the high intelligence of the species. Their fry is able to survive in captivity, even closely adjacent to predatory cichlids. And in the case of very high-quality content, they can live up to 10 years.

Fish are famous for their vitality due to the high intelligence of the species.

Cichlids yellow rightfully deserves admiration for its amazing color, simplicity of content, resistance to disease, unusual behavior, and peaceful disposition. It only takes a little effort.

Leave a Comment