This fish is a good choice for newcomers to dwarf cichlids. They are hardy, relatively undemanding, peaceful, and easily bred in an aquarium environment. Min tank size 120 litres, adult fish size up to 7.5 cm.
African Butterfly cichlid (Anomalochromis thomasi) is from Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. Wild caught specimens tend to be more colourful than the tank bred fish, and there are several geographical colour variants, including ‘Guinea’ and ‘Kilissi River’.
They are gregarious, so should be maintained in groups of 8 or more wherever possible. The African Butterfly Cichlid is a shy, relatively peaceful species but like all cichlids, it becomes territorial during spawning. They are somewhat drab as juveniles, but once they settle into an aquarium environment, they color up well and are quite beautiful.
The aquarium should be spacious with a soft sand or fine rounded gravel substrate. There should be plenty of shady hiding places provided amongst areas of dense planting, driftwood, and caves (including a few smooth flat rocks to provide potential spawning sites). Filtration should be efficient, but water movement not too strong, and small partial water changes should be carried out on a regular basis to keep nitrate at a minimum.
These cichlids will not usually dig up the substrate, so a densely planted aquarium with a lot of rocky cover and roots makes an ideal habitat for them. Some floating plants can be added to diffuse overhead lighting and a good filtration system is needed to maintain water quality.
African Butterfly Cichlids are generally shy, peaceful (except when breeding). In an aquarium environment they can be kept with other dwarf African cichlids, smaller tetras, Corydoras, rainbowfish, rasboras and dwarf gourami. Because they are loosely gregarious, they do best in a single species tank in small groups. They should not be housed with any of the more aggressive cichlid species. If kept in cramped quarters, breeding pairs will become quite aggressive towards their tankmates, so adequate space must be provided.
They are not too fussy about water chemistry. They don’t have any extra special requirements when it comes to their care, just make sure that you clean the tank and do water changes every 1-2 weeks to keep nitrates down.
See Fish Disease Diagnosis and Treatment at Rebel Pets for help with diagnosing and treating diseases.
|Adult Size:||4-7.5 cm|
|Aquarist Experience Level:||Beginner|
|Minimum Tank Size:||120 litres, +10 litres/add. fish|
|Temperament:||Peaceful, good community fish|
|Tank Level:||Mid dweller|
|Diet:||Omnivore, eats most foods|
|Temperature:||23 to 27°C|
|pH:||5.5-7.5 (slightly acidic preferred)|
|Hardness:||up to 12 dGH (soft)|