Petrotilapia Genalutea (Gelbbrauner Petrotilapia)

petrotilapia genalutea

Last updated on August 26th, 2022 at 10:15 pm

The petrotilapia genalutea (also known as okralevänraastaja in Finnish and Gelbbrauner Petrotilapia in German) has its common name translates to carpet eater in English. They are a popular freshwater aquarium fish that is commonly sold in many stores around the world that specializes in fish and aquarium supplies for pets and aquariums.

The Petrotilapia Genalutea will be one of the best choices if you want to start with cichlids in your fish tank and you want to start right now! You need to know that this fish has specific requirements and needs good care so that it will be happy and healthy.

The Gelbbrauner Petrotilapia is a native fish of Lake Tanganyika in Africa. It belongs to the Cichlidae family, which includes both freshwater and marine fish like tuna, koi, bluegill, and goldfish, among others. If you plan on keeping these fish in your aquarium, it’s important to choose a tank that’s at least 70 liters with lots of rocks and other structures for the fish to hide in and have fun exploring.

Are you thinking about adding Petrotilapia Genalutea to your aquarium? Here’s what you need to know to make an informed decision.

Origin and descriptions

petrotilapia genalutea

Petrotilapia Genalutea is an omnivorous species of freshwater fish from West Africa and are found in rivers, streams, and lakes. They can be solitary or gregarious as well as aggressive predators of small fish. They grow to about 13 centimeters and may be yellowish brown or bluish grey on their backs with light spots that blend in well with rocks.

They eat a variety of foods, invertebrates, other fish, plants, and algae. Its diet is highly dependent on where it lives.

Species profile

The petrotilapia genalutea, also called okralevanraastaja or Gelbbrauner Petrotilapia is an East African fish species. It was first described by Hildebrand in 1936. This cichlid fish species is a mouthbrooder and uses pelagic spawning for reproduction.

Oncorhynchus Mykiss "Rainbow Trout"


Its habitat is known as Lake Tanganyika and lives near rocks on sandy substrate at about 2-5 m depth. They love clear water with a gravel to sand substrate and sparse aquatic vegetation; adult males are known to be territorial toward each other when in small groups. Aquarium conditions should simulate natural habitat as closely as possible. pH: 7-8 Temperature: 22–25°C / 72–77°F, Water Hardness: 5-19 dGH, high oxygen content, and soft water.

Petrotilapia genalutea size

Averagely, they can grow to a maximum size of 5.2 inches (13.1 cm) in total length.

Petrotilapia genalutea tank size

petrotilapia genalutea

The minimum recommended size is 70-90 Liters for one specimen or several individuals in a shared space. The tank should be decorated with hiding places and open areas. Aquatic plants are not suitable for keeping petrotilapia genaluteas in a community tank.

Petrotilapia genalutea tank mates

Okralevänraastajas should be kept with other non-aggressive species that are roughly equal in size. It should also be kept with species of similar coloration so as to prevent possible antagonism over territory or food.

Mixing a large school of these smaller cichlids with medium to large-sized Tanganyikan cichlids such as Cyprichromis leptosoma, Cyprichromis frontosa, Ctenochromis horei, and Copadichromis atripinnis would make for an interesting community tank; keep one male and three or four females per male in order to reduce aggression.

Petrotilapia genalutea breeding

petrotilapia genalutea

Okralevänraastajat are fairly easy to breed; they don’t need much special care and it is not difficult to feed them. The fry can be fed with newly hatched artemia and finely chopped tubifex. For adults you can use spirulina flake or small mosquito larvae. Don’t give them much food though as they seem to get fatter and more sluggish if you do that.

I always keep a big jar of algae-infested water on hand so I can provide a change of diet from time to time. You also want to keep their environment clean so they feel safe.

Hemigrammus Bleheri (Firehead Tetra Or Rummy Nose Tetra)

Sometimes my females like a few caves around where they lay their eggs. As long as your okralevänraastajat are healthy, then breeding shouldn’t pose any problems at all! I have had two spawnings both in small community tanks and both were quite successful!

Are Petrotilapia genalutea aggressive or peaceful?

The South African Cichlid Society lists petrotilapia genalutea as a peaceful species that works well in community tanks. They should be kept with mild-mannered species of similar size and water requirements. These include gyrinocheilus aymonieri, eureka peacock cichlids, olivaceous peacock cichlids, reticulated angels, and Synodontis multipunctatus.

Petrotilapia genalutea care

petrotilapia genalutea

The care for petrotilapia genaluteas is similar to other tropical African cichlids which means they require plenty of food and clean water with low nitrates, high hardness, pH of 7-8. They are intolerant to large swings in water conditions so it’s best not to do large water changes on them but regular partial changes instead.

They do not mix well with large fish that may attack smaller ones; small tetras like rasboras and gambusias work well as tank mates.

Keep their aquarium decorated with rocks and some floating plants. It can be a good idea to add crushed coral into their diet as well since many petrotilapia species in their natural environment get most of their nutrients from consuming coral sand as well as plant matter that falls into and decays at the bottom of shallow river areas where these fish occur naturally.

What do Petrotilapia genalutea eat?

The petrotilapia genalutea is a benthopelagic freshwater fish that consumes small zooplankton, macroinvertebrates, plants, and detritus. Its omnivorous diet allows it to survive without any additional food sources over long periods of time.

Water parameters

They require a temperature of 22°C – 26°C (72°F – 79°F). Keep water quality high by performing regular water changes and checking to make sure pH stays within the 6.0 – 7.5 range, hardness is 0 – 12 dGH and ammonia levels stay at 0 ppm. A varied diet is vital to keep your fish healthy; feed them vitamin enriched flake food three times daily in addition to live foods.

Plakat Betta Fish Care And Species Guide

Frozen daphnia, brine shrimp, glass worms, and grindal worms all make great treats.

If you choose to feed freeze-dried bloodworms, it is important they are gut loaded on fresh vegetables or algae before feeding. A weekly portion of frozen shrimp makes an excellent treat. Shrimp can be gut loaded using green peas; defrost them and add enough to reach 1/3 cup per 5 L (1 US gallon) for 24 hours prior to feeding these frozen treats.

Petrotilapia genalutea lifespan

They can live up to 9–12 years in captivity.

Parasites and diseases

Okralevänraastajat are particularly susceptible to parasites and diseases. The most common include:

  • Giardiasis
  • Digenean worms
  • Aquatic intestinal protozoa (Microsporidium, Amoebidium)
  • Fish Lice

At one point or another in its life cycle, it will suffer from some of these diseases. If you see signs of flicking at or near your tank or notice small white specks on your petrotilapia, go ahead and treat.


The main predators of gelbbrauner petrotilapia are angelfish and pike cichlids. As young fish, they stay hidden in areas protected by rocks or plants to protect them from these predators. Once they have grown larger, they change their hideaways into places where only their head sticks out of so that when pike cichlids and angelfish attack from above it is more difficult for them to catch them.

Do Petrotilapia genalutea make good pets?

Yes. This sturdy little swimmer thrives in almost any aquarium environment and makes for a wonderful display.