Yellow Lab Cichlid (labidochromis caeruleus) is also known as Electric Yellow Cichlid, Lemon drop Cichlid, Yellow Labido, Blue Streak Hap as well as Yellow Prince. Its different names are due to its variety of color morphs. Its scientific name is Labidochromis caeruleus.
They are found in the central-western coastal region of Lake Malawi in East Africa therefore, they are also known as the African Cichlids or Malawi Cichlids.
Interestingly, they are also found in the blue morphs as well as large varieties of white along with yellow ones. Due to this, their species have different names as well such as Labidochromis Yellow, Labidochromis White, Pearl Labidochromis, and Blue-White Labido.
Table of Contents
Binomial name: Labidochromis caeruleus
Habitat: Lake Malawi, Africa
Lifespan: 6 – 10 years
Size: 3.2 – 4 inches
Diet: Omnivore but Carnivorous in the wild
Minimum Tank Capacity: 30 gallons
Care level: Easy
Temperature: 23.9 – 26.1 Celsius
Yellow Lab Cichlids are stocky with an elongated body. As they originate in different coasts of Lake Malawi, they can develop a variety of morphs respective to their area.
The dorsal fin has a vivid black strip with layers of white color above and below. The anal fin also develops a black stripe as the fish matures. The rest of the body is yellow with variant shades as discussed above. Males are a little longer than females and can develop blue color during the breeding period.
Blue color variations are the most common ones and so appear with various varieties in different areas such as:
- Kakusa- yellow body with a blue dorsal fin
- Lion’s Cove- yellow body with a whitish belly
- Lundu Island- White
- Nkhata bay- White body with blue fins (most popular morph)
- Undu Point- White body with a dark blue stripe on the dorsal fin
The average size of the Yellow Lab Cichlid is 3.2 inches. However, in the aquarium, it can grow up to 4 inches. The average lifespan of these fishes range from 6 to 10 years depending upon the level and quality of care.
As these fishes are semi-aggressive, they are suitable to be kept by beginners. However, it is important to have a proper tank setup and take proper measures to care for and make sure your Ccichlids are happy and healthy. Following is a brief description of the tank requirements:
Size of Tank
The size of the tanks should be at least 30 gallons. 50 gallons would be the ideal one.However, the tank should not be overpopulated as they won’t grow to their appropriate size in there and will become more aggressive over time.
Maintenance of Tank
The tank needs to have a proper density of water, a maintained pH and water temperature, a specific hardness of water, and regular water change.
The water level and density should be according to the natural habitat of yellow lab cichlids. As the water in Lake Malawi is rich in minerals, the water is alkaline.
Therefore, the pH of the water must range between 7.2 and 8.8. As for the temperature of the water, it should be maintained between 22 and 28 Celsius. The water is supposed to be a bit hardy so the hardness must be maintained between 10 and 20 dGH.
Yellow Lab Cichlids do fine in freshwater or a bit of brackish freshwater. The main point is the need for good water movement and efficient filtration. It is advised to change the water weekly to add 10-20% of new and freshwater.
Yellow Lab Cichlids like to have themselves surrounded with lots of rocks and caves so they can hide and swim in and out of them.
The bottom of the tank should be sand and gravel or mix of both. You can also provide plants and driftwood in there as they do not harm them.
The nitrate levels should be kept as low as possible. Ammonia and nitrite should be zero always. If not, your fish will start refusing the food and will more likely just flick it to the substrate.
Moreover, the lighting should be appropriate according to the sun rays reaching the bottom of waters in Lake Malawi, which is moderate and not too bright.
The diet of Yellow Lab Cichlid is carnivorous in the wild but, it is omnivorous when habituated in an aquarium. It can easily eat all the fresh and live foods as well as flake foods. Their diet should include an equally balanced proportion of plants and animals.
These fishes are good with prepared and frozen foods such as high-quality flake food, pellets, and dried foods; live natural protein such as shrimps, mysids, and blood worms should also be a part of their diet.
Supplements such as Carotene food and vitamins should also be a frequent part of their food. These help to keep them healthy with bright body color. It is recommended to feed them small portions of food several times a day than one large feeding. This also helps in keeping the water in quality good.
Yellow Lab Cichlids are not territorial and so, they are not a community fish. Even though they are peaceful, they are more adaptable to fellow Cichlids. In a group of Cichlids, they can live solely as well as in pairs.
As for the tank mates, you have to be quite cautious. They are good to go with peaceful and semi-aggressive fish but largely aggressive and predatory fish can be a threat for your Yellow Lab Cichlids. They themselves are a threat for shrimps, crabs, snails, and other smaller fishes.
The best companions can be other Mbuna fish and Malawi cichlid species such as Yellow Tail Acei Cichlid, Blue Dolphin Cichlids, Rusty Cichlid, Perlmutt, Zebroids, etc.
However, if you keep them with fellow Yellow Lab Cichlids, it has to be in a ratio of 1 male to at least 2 females.
Yellow Lab Cichlids breed very easily. They are ready to reproduce when they are 6 months old and about 1.5 inches in length.
A male starts digging a pit in the sand or claims a flat surface followed by some dance moves (seductively moving his fin) to attract females towards him. The interested female comes near and starts moving her body.
As they become acquainted with each other, the female fish lays a batch of 10-30 eggs and takes them in her mouth immediately. This is followed by the male flaring its anal fin showing out his egg spot patterns.
The female mistakes these egg spots as her eggs and tries to take them in her mouth. As she does so, the male gets stimulated and discharges sperm (cloud of milt) into the mouth of the female. As she inhales the milt, it fertilizes the eggs in her mouth.
While females have their eggs in their mouths, they do not eat anything else. This takes up to 25 to 40 days. When the young leave their mother’s mouth, both the male and female fishes take care of them and are very possessive about their young ones.
Fry can eat dried food and brine shrimps. Make sure that your aquarium has plenty of hiding spots so the fry can survive easily without any potential threat of being eaten by other fish in the tank.
The fishes can get affected by poor quality water, deficiency, or excess of several minerals such as copper, phosphates and nitrates, and lesser supply of oxygenation and thus,may develop different diseases.
For the fishes in Lake Malawi, Malawi Bloat is a common disease that happens due to deficiency of vegetable matter. However, Yellow Lab Cichlids are not very prone to this disease as they are more of omnivores.
They can get an itch which is a skin infection caused due to the increased number of protozoans and water molds. This can be cured by increasing the temperature of the tank to 30 Celsius up to 3 days. If no betterment is seen, move towards Copper-based medication.
Moreover, Yellow Lab Cichlid can always get parasitic infections, viral infections, or bacterial infections. This also happens due to the deteriorating water and diet conditions. Make sure you have full knowledge of all the early signs of different diseases so you can treat them as early as possible.
However, if you are taking good care of the food and water, there is no chance of these diseases in the first place.
Yellow Lab Cichlids are easy to get from fish stores. They come at moderate prices. As mentioned, it is not very difficult to take care of them and they are easiest to breed. Just that you have to be a little careful in choosing the tank mates for Yellow Lab Cichlids so that they do not get harmed or harm any other fish in the tank.
To conclude, they are great fishes to be kept in the aquarium due to their vibrant colors.
Hola! Myself William and I love aquarium fishes! I’m an Aquarium Keeper from the past 5+ years and here to let you know about your favorite fishes 😉 I hope you will enjoy my posts and share with like-minded fish keepers.