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Frontosa Fish Species:

The frontosa fish belongs to the cichlid family and is native to Lake Tanganyika of East Africa.

The species usually prefers the greater depths and rarely ventures out to the shore line. They are known to live for as long as twenty five years and can grow up to a length of thirty five centimetres. They do rise to the shallow waters early in the morning in order to feed on other shoaling fish.

They are distinct from other fish due to their markings, roughly 6-7 vertical bars upon a white or slightly bluish body. The nuchal hump develops over time and is more pronounced in older specimens of the species. The hump is more evident in the male, making it easy to distinguish and breeding across different colonies in Lake Tanganyika has led to the development of rather pronounced colour variants.


The species is an extremely popular aquarium fish and though it is usually sedate and tolerant of the other fish in its vicinity, it will need a big aquarium due to its size. Housing a single frontosa will require a twenty nine gallon tank. It is important to remember that the frontosa dislikes being alone and will require a cave like construct to offer it some sense of security. If this is not provided they can turn aggressive, especially the males and may attack other fish. They can be kept with a less aggressive species or preferably other cichlids. Since the fish requires the company of other fish, they are best housed in a 150 gallon tank which can house up to 8 fish. The water temperature and chemistry must mirror the one found in Lake Tanganyika as much as possible. The temperature of the water should remain constant between 26-27 C and the pH level should be between 7.8 and 9.0. The fish can be helped out by reducing stress levels and this can be done by creating caves, pipes and other places it can retreat to when it feels threatened. The females are less aggressive, but when scared both male and female can break thermometers, filters and even cause their tank to crack up. The species should be fed high quality prepared food, apart from earthworms and frozen foods like krill. Although a lethargic and rather slow moving fish, they are known to greet their owners with a great deal of enthusiasm after a brief acclimatisation period.

  Submitted on February 5, 2010