Frontosa Cichlid (Cyphotilapia Frontosa)

Frontosa cichlid - cyphotilapia frontosa 2

Last updated on September 14th, 2022 at 01:59 pm

The frontosa cichlid, also known as the humphead cichlid, is one of the most colorful and hardy of all freshwater fish species. Though these creatures may seem intimidating, their peaceful nature makes them an excellent addition to any home aquarium.

Also known as the frontosa fish or Cyphotilapia frontosa, the frontosa cichlid is one of the most beautiful fish in the cichlid family, but not only that, it’s also one of the most popular due to its relative ease of care and beauty of coloration. The frontosa cichlid’s popularity means that it’s widely available at fish stores, but if you want to buy directly from your local breeder or fishermen instead, you should be aware of the different varieties and how they compare to each other.

Caring for Frontosa cichlids can be tricky if you don’t know what you’re doing. These are semi-aggressive and territorial cichlids that need an appropriate tank to thrive in.

Origin and descriptions

Frontosa cichlid - cyphotilapia frontosa 2

The Cyphotilapia frontosa come from Lake Tanganyika and are primarily found in Burundi, Zambia, Tanzania, Angola, Congo, Rwanda and Malawi. They are a mouth brooder and one of the biggest fish in it’s environment.

Female frontosa fish will typically grow larger than males but they both have an average size range of 12–13 inches (30–33 cm). The female will lay her eggs on plants near rocks and then she gathers her young into her mouth for protection until they are old enough to fend for themselves.

If you’re planning on adding one of these cichlids to your aquarium, be aware that they can get up to almost 15 inches in length and live over 20 years if properly cared for. This means that you should make sure that your tank has plenty of room so that when it reaches adulthood, it won’t damage itself by swimming into things like metal halide, lighting, or your aquarium walls.

Species profile

Frontosa cichlid - cyphotilapia frontosa 2

Cyphotilapia frontosa is a species of freshwater fish in Cichlidae family. Found in Africa’s Lake Tanganyika and its surrounding rivers, cyphotilapia frontosa is named for its very large head and prominent jaw-like foreheads.

The frontosa cichlid has been known to live as long as 25 years! Its lifespan makes it an ideal choice for any type of cichlid lover. The color of these fishes can range from different shades of green to brown depending on their age, gender, and territory.

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Like many other types of fish in their genus, they have an albino coloring pattern that appears on some specimens when placed under specific lighting conditions; these specimens typically sell at a higher price than those without an albino coloring pattern.

Scientific name

The scientific name of the frontosa cichlid is cyphotilapia frontosa

Common names

Frontosa cichlid has many synonyms or common names, some of which are humphead cichlid, blue frontosa, blue zaire frontosa, burundi frontosa, blue frontosa cichlid, or just the frontosa fish.


Frontosa cichlids are native to Lake Tanganyika, which is one of Africa’s Great Lakes. These fish thrive in shallow waters that have sandy or rocky bottoms and structures nearby, such as rocks and reefs. However, they can also be kept successfully in aquariums that closely mimic their natural habitat.

This includes a wide variety of water conditions, with pH levels ranging from 7.0 to 8.5 and temperatures ranging from 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit being acceptable for both juveniles and adults alike; it is recommended to try and keep their environment consistent with these ranges by using water filtration systems while keeping your tank well maintained at all times.

Frontosa cichlid size

The average size of the frontosa cichlid is 30-33 cm (12-13 inches) in length.

Frontosa tank size

The minimum recommended tank size for the frontosa fish is 75 gallons (284 liters)

Tank requirements

Tanks need to be large in order to house a humphead cichlid. The largest aquariums on Earth are used by breeders to keep Frontosas, but smaller tanks can be maintained at home as long as they contain 10 gallons of water per inch of fish.

They should have a strong filtration system that produces ample circulation and current. It’s important to monitor nitrate levels because cichlids tend to produce large amounts of waste. If you plan to keep more than one Frontosa in an aquarium, give them plenty of space.

More territorial fish will constantly pick on each other, which is why it’s best to keep one or two in a tank with lots of nooks and crannies for them to hide inside. When it comes to temperature, most aquarists recommend keeping your aquarium heater set between 78-82 degrees Fahrenheit (25-28 degrees Celsius).

Cyphotilapia frontosa (Frontosa Cichlid or Humphead Cichlid)

Frontosa fish originate from Lake Tanganyika, which has a tropical climate near Bujumbura. The pH level needs to be kept between 6.0-8.0; any lower than 6.0 will kill their egg yolk sacs. To boost acidity, add crushed coral or crushed oyster shells into your substrate layer.

Frontosa tank mates

Frontosa cichlids are best kept in a species tank because they are intolerant of other fish. They will eat anything smaller than them, and will be aggressive toward their own kind as well. Be careful when introducing new fish, as they may attack others if they feel threatened.

In addition to being aggressive with others of its own kind, it is also territorial and can stress out other fish with its movements and coloration. Some good companions for it are pufferfish, mollies (the smallest males), silver dollars (the largest female), rainbow sharks (if you have a bigger tank that can house all three).

It is important to note that cyphotilapia frontosa males can turn on each other, so ensure you’re keeping one male per tank!

Frontosa cichlid breeding

Frontosa cichlid - cyphotilapia frontosa 2

In order to successfully breed your Cyphotilapia frontosa, you will need to do a few things. First, make sure you have an adequate aquarium that is at least 50 gallons in size; these fish get big, fast! You will also need a female of your desired sex as they are very aggressive towards other females.

The male on the other hand can be kept with other males as long as there is no spawning going on. The next thing you’ll want to have set up for them before adding them into their new home is plenty of hiding places such as rock work and plants. If given enough caves and dens, cichlids will spend much more time resting than darting around all over your tank searching for food, which allows their coloration to become more vibrant and less stressed.

Next, ensure you have three large pieces of driftwood ready so that when it comes to time to spawn, they will already have nice areas for digging out their nests. Finally, feed them a high-quality diet consisting of whole or crushed shellfish or frozen carnivore pellets along with small amounts of vegetable matter such as romaine lettuce and peas.

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Once those requirements are met, then it’s just about choosing a good mate! When picking out your mate, choose one that has very similar features to yours (i.e. same shape, size, color). This way they will both feel like they are fitting in within their community.

Are frontosa cichlid aggressive or peaceful?

The frontosa fish is known for being a peaceful cichlid. They may grow into territorial adults, but as juveniles, they are usually very passive and welcoming to other fish and tank mates. If you have other friendly species in your tank already, you can expect your new addition to coexist peacefully with them as well!

Frontosa cichlid care

Frontosa cichlid - cyphotilapia frontosa 2

It is possible to keep an adult frontosa cichlid in a 70-gallon tank. The water temperature should be between 23–28°C (73.4–82.4°F). During times of high temperature, they will appreciate an algae-covered rock or piece of driftwood to hide under. They need well-oxygenated water so a powerhead or air stone will help achieve this.

Keep their habitat clean and clear by doing partial water changes every two weeks. Do not change all of the water at once because it may cause stress to your fish as he will think he is being relocated again. These fish are more difficult than most aquarium fish to maintain in captivity because they require slightly brackish conditions with salt added to their tanks.

You can also use a chemical approach to stabilize your fish’s environment by adding aquarium salt. Start with a dosage of 0.5 teaspoons per 5 gallons of water and monitor your fish closely for any adverse effects. If there are no problems, gradually increase their salinity until it reaches 1 teaspoon per 5 gallons of water over a 3-week period. This will bring them into full brackish conditions and they will not have to be fed live foods while in captivity, as they would in full marine conditions.

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Frontosa cichlid diet

They are omnivores and will eat both live and prepared food. In nature, they typically feed on aquatic insects, worms, crustaceans, and plant matter. In an aquarium environment, they will readily accept a wide variety of foods including pellets, flake food, and frozen or freeze-dried bloodworms.

You should try to make their diet as varied as possible to ensure they receive all of their nutritional requirements. Variety is also beneficial because if one type of food runs out, your fish won’t go hungry for long. These cichlids will eagerly accept insect larvae (brine shrimp), vegetable-based flakes such as spirulina, and algae wafers too.

Frontosa cichlid lifespan

These cichlids are some of the most long-lived fish, usually living to about 25 years.

Parasites and diseases

Frontosa cichlid - cyphotilapia frontosa 2

The frontosa fish is susceptible to parasites like marine ich, a protozoan parasite that causes fish to develop white spots or patches on their skin. This can be treated with salt baths, but if your fish still has spots upon returning from treatment, it’s likely that you’re dealing with marine ich. It is recommended that you quarantine all new fish for at least 30 days before introducing them into your main tank in order to prevent and treat any diseases they may have contracted from another aquarium.

There are many treatments available for marine ich, but there are also preventive measures you can take to keep your fish healthy. Aquarists who maintain clean water conditions usually do not experience problems with the disease, always remember that uneaten food and waste material should be removed regularly from your tank as these can contribute to bacterial buildup in both fresh- and saltwater tanks.

Do Frontosa cichlid make good pets?

Yes. Due to their peaceful nature, beautiful body coloration, and ease of care, they are one of the best fish to keep in your aquarium.