Mary’s cichlids

Lady cichlids are native to the flowing waters of West Africa and are counted among the genus of the cichlids. The following text explains their external characteristics, their habitats and preferred food. In addition, it contains advice on how to design a suitable aquarium.

What are the characteristics of the cichlids?

A Marienbuntbarsch can grow to more than 30 centimetres. However, such a size rarely occurs. On average, they grow between 15 and 17.5 centimetres long.

Although their origin is in Africa, there are isolated occurrences in Australia and on the coast of Florida.

The appearance of Marienbuntbarschen:

Marienbuntbarsch
© regani, Tilapia mariae, marked as in the public domain, details on Wikimedia Commons

Primarily the greenish-yellow colour is striking in Marienbuntarschen. Towards the sides they take on a flatter body shape. The dorsal fin forms the highest point. Moreover, the round head is a characteristic feature of these perches. At a younger age they have red bellies, in adult fish the belly turns white.

The colour change also affects the head: a not yet mature Marian cichlid has a yellow head. Later it assumes a green colouring. Black stripes can be seen on the sides of non-sexually mature animals. In older perches they are replaced by dots in the same colour.

  • Yellow-green colour
  • High dorsal fin, towards the caudal fin the body becomes flatter
  • Round head, yellow in younger fish, with increasing age the colour changes to greenish
  • Reddish colored belly in the not yet full-grown age, afterwards white belly part
  • Initially lateral stripes, which in time take on a dot shape

Housing conditions:

Ladyfish need space. Therefore the aquarium should be able to contain 100 litres of water or more if the animals are to be kept in groups. If only two perches are kept, smaller aquariums will be sufficient. Pumps are used to imitate a natural flow of water. The fish need islands of activity. Small tree roots, pebbles and sand are suitable for building caves. If these conditions are taken into account when keeping the perch, they can sometimes live up to 20 years.

  • Capacity of the aquarium when kept in shoals – at least 100 litres, otherwise between 54 and 100 litres with a steady current
  • Creating opportunities to hide
  • Correct keeping has a positive effect on the life span of the breed. The maximum age is 20 years

Gender differences:

Female cichlids do not reach the size of males. With an average height of 20 centimetres they have a shorter body. In comparison, adult male perches can grow to more than 30 centimetres.

Water values for Marienbuntbarsche:

A pH value of 6 to 7.5 is appropriate for cichlids. The water temperature should be between 24 and 28 degrees. A water hardness of 25 dGH is well tolerated by the perch breed.

Food and nutrition for Marienbuntbarsche:

Basically, cichlids have a pronounced need for food. This accelerates their maturity. They accept both live and dry food. Algae are also eaten by the perches.

The ideal aquarium for Marienbuntbarsche:

As Marienbarsch can be defensive towards conspecifics or other breeds, the aquarium must be equipped with niches for retreat. In addition, flowing water should be predominant. Planting is also desirable, as the fish can also find safety there. Gravel sand is recommended for the bottom.

Special features of Marienbuntbarsche:

In addition to the round head shape, the jaws of Marienbuntbarschen have sharp teeth, which can be spread over a maximum of six rows. One part of their teeth has two edges, the other part is somewhat flatter.

The Marien Cichlid is not only popular as an ornamental fish. Because of its length it is sometimes used as a food fish. When mature, Marienbuntbarsche can weigh over 1000 grams.

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