Trewavas Cichlid 40mm (juvenile) is endemic to Lake Malawi where it inhabits rocky areas with heavy algal growth around shorelines and islands. In the upper levels the water is often turbulent and has a high oxygen content. This species has the characteristic overhanging snout possessed by all three members of the genus. It also has chisel-shaped teeth which are designed for scraping algae off rocks.
The fact that Trewavas Cichlid love grazing algae from rocks with it teeth, gives it the common name Scrapermouth mbuna.
They are aggressive and territorial by nature. Their specialized snout lets them to remain horizontal in these rough waters while they feed.
Much of the aquarium should contain piles of rocks arranged to form caves with small areas of open water between. A sandy substrate is best and the water should be well oxygenated. There’s no point adding any plants as they’ll be eaten. You can add plastic plants to improve the tank decor.
Since Mbuna come from a large lake, they are used to clean, clear water, which is free of pollutants and rich in oxygen. In the aquarium this means they need lots of mechanical and biological filtration. You will need to carry out plenty of water changes to keep nitrate at low levels and provide extra aeration by way of an airstone or Venturi outlet on a filter. We recommend a weekly water change of 10%-20% depending on the bio-load.
You will need to add Malawi cichlid salts, particularly if you have soft water. Decor should include calcareous, lime-based decor or filter media to keep those minerals high and pH, KH and GH buffered. We have several buffering products available.
A tank holding 180 – 240 litres of water with lots of aeration is ideal.
These Cichlids are aggressive and territorial. They should not be kept with peace loving species such as Peacocks or Utaka but can be kept with other Mbuna. The tank should be quite crowded in order to reduce aggression and territorial behaviour. Since they are very aggressive towards their own kind, you should add other species to the tank to help dissipate this behaviour. Similarly several females should be kept per male in order to reduce harassment by the male. Male Trewavas Cichlid want to be the only male in the tank and will ferociously fight off other males. If you add some females with a male, you will need a tank capacity of more than 200 litres.
They will will accept most foods offered but vegetable matter in the form of spirulina flakes, blanched spinach etc. should form a large proportion of the diet. This can be supplemented with live and frozen varieties. We have a good range of Cichlid Food available. Offer several small feedings a day, only as much as they can eat in about 3 minutes or less, rather than a single large feeding.
They are very sensitive to poor water quality and need a very clean environment. As with all cichlids, the Trewavas Cichlid can be easy to care for as long as water quality is kept high and appropriate foods are given.
These fish need large amounts of vegetable matter and plenty of hiding places.
In nature, there are times of famine and feast for the Trewavas Cichlid but not so inn the aquarium, so mbuna grow big and fat on rich diets and regular feeds. This gives rise to so-called “Malawi bloat”, although many other underlying factors probably also contribute to the disease. In a mbuna with bloat, the neck and stomach become swollen and firm to the touch; the eyes pop slightly. It’s almost always fatal but we do have bloat treatment if you can catch it early enough – it is worth a try.
Leave off feeding for one day a week and your mbuna will take to the rocks, cleaning up algae and clearing out their systems.
See Fish Disease Diagnosis and Treatment at Rebel Pets for help with diagnosing and treating diseases.
|Adult Size:||11 – 12 cm|
|Aquarist Experience Level:||Intermediate|
|Minimum Tank Size:||160 litres for one fish|
|Temperament:||Aggressive and Territorial|
|Tank Level:||Middle to bottom|
|Lifespan:||Average 6 – 10 years with good care|
|Water Flow:||Moderate to high – high filtration needed.|
|Temperature:||24 – 28 C|
|pH:||7.6 – 8.8 (8 is ideal)|
|Hardness:||6 – 10 dGH|