crabro is also known as the "Hornet cichlid". It is
endemic in Lake Malawi (as the genus name implies). Relatively large
(approximately 15 cm for the male; 12 cm for the females) has a
voracious appetite. It will eat almost anything offered. A result of
that is a stunning growth rate but also diseases of the intestinal
tract. In order to avoid the latter, vegetable matters (with fibers)
should be included in its diet. Animal food should be avoided (as
with the whole genus). This particular species can be very easily
overfed which results in shorter life spans. It is an aggressive
fish and should be kept with fish with the same temperament while a
spacious tank is a must (minimum 150 cm / 350 liters recommended).
Because of the feeding habits of this fish (too much food / frequent
feedings) a very capable filtration system should be in place while
20% water changes every week are highly recommended. The fish is a
mouthbrooder and the female will release (after 17-21 days depending
on the water temperature) 20-60 fry which will grow rapidly if fed
frequently. Spawning takes place in the usual Pseudotropheus way. In
nature the fish is known to eat the scales of other fish (it is
definitely known to remove external parasites from catfishes in Lake
Malawi) which can be a real problem in a community tank. Some
suggest that this fish should be kept in a species tank.
Bottom photo by Aili Pauline McKeen.