Golden Mbuna African Cichlids
Method of Reproduction: Mouth Brooder
Number and Gender Distribution of Parents: Single Pair
Origin of Parents: Tank Raised (Purchased from LFS)
Approximate number of fry: ca. 21
Date of Birth: Fry released and free swimming (11/10/2019)
Approx. Number of Fry at 30 Days: ca. 21
pH — 8.0
GH — 125 ppm
KH — 55 ppm
Temperature: 80-degrees Fahrenheit
Average Nitrate: 10-20 ppm
Aquarium Size: in inches, 36" Wide x 18" Long x 16" High — standard 40 gal. breeder
Water Source: town / city water
Water Changes: 30% 1x per week
Filtration System: Two medium sponge filters
Decor & Environment
Live Plants: Java Fern, Bolbitis heudelotii, Pothos
Caves or Similar Hiding Places: Several Large shells picked up from Outer Banks (NC)
Substrate: Eco Complete, medium black-diamond blasting sand, 4 cups crushed coral to buffer soft water
Lighting Type and Timing: one LED shop light, 5,000-K bought from
WalMart, on for 13.5 hrs / day
Food Fed to Parents and How Often: 2x / day — Mixture of Live baby brine shrimp, Omega-one Cichlid pellets (small), and Omega-one veggie mini pellets
Food Fed to Fry and How Often: 2x-3x / day — Live baby brine shrimp, Powdered Spirulina, Sera Micron, Sera-O-Nip Tabs
Comments & Additional Information
We decided to target one particular species of African Cichlid from our mixed 55 gal. community aquarium. We had raised several nice female Auratus, and started to keep our eye out for a breeding-sized male. We soon found “Ratty” lurking in a Cichlid tank at one of our LFS. He was a striking skunk-striped monster! As the video journal shows, within minutes of putting him in the tank in a holding net, the female took straight to him. They sort of “courted” through the net awhile until we finished the tank we had been prepping for them.
Within a day of adding them, they spawned. However, the female did not keep holding the eggs. We hoped it would just take one more month, and they’d try again, but that didn’t happen. Eventually, we (1) moved the pair to separate holding buckets, (2) moved the hardscape wood and shells, (3) did a large water change, and (4) added a second female in hopes that her presence would increase the bond between the original pair. The effect was not immediate, but after a few weeks, the original female was holding again.
She held for about 21 days. The free swimming fry emerged very neatly marked just like the mother, in classic golden mbuna yellow, white, and black horizontal stripes. We soon removed the female. The male, we took back to our LFS to rehome, since he would have been quite a boss in the community aquarium! The fry hid in among the hardscape for the first two weeks, making it quite a challenge to count them all. By the third week, they would all come out to be fed. While there is a fair bit of normal African cichlid aggression, they fry tend to “school” more than fight.
It is very difficult to sex golden mbuna for a long while. Males eventually reverse colors, turning black and white. However, it is reported that females will also sometimes take on the male coloration if they become dominant in a community environment. Like some other cichlid species, non-dominant males will take on the female coloration to hide from aggressors.
There are many reports on various established forums about Golden Mbunas being outrageously intense community tank bosses. We purposefully did not keep the male in our community tank to find out; however, the females we have get along very calmly with all the other cichlids.