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The Kenyi Cichlid Maylandia lombardoi (previously Pseudotropheus lombardoi) is a beautiful zebra-barred African cichlid. It is a moderately large, aggressive Mbuna from Lake Malawi. In the wild it will reach up to 5 inches (12.7 cm) in length, but can get even larger in the aquarium.
This fish belongs to a group of cichlids called Mbunas. There are 13 genera full of very active and aggressive personalities of Mbuna cichlids. The name Mbuna comes from the Tonga people of Malawi and means “rockfish” or “rock-dwelling”. This name aptly describes the environment these fish live in as opposed to being open water swimmers like the Utaka cichlids and other “haps”. Other common names this fish is known by are Lombardoi Cichlid, Kennyi Cichlid, Blue Kenyi Cichlid, Golden Zebra Cichlid, Kenyii, Metriaclima lombardoi (now considered an invalid scientific name), Pseudotropheus lilancinius (an incorrect scientific name but one that has historically been used in the hobby), and of course Mbuna.
The cichlid is unique among its kind because of its colors.The male and female look like two different species with the male having a bright orange base with faded dark bars and the female having a rich sky blue base with faded dark barring. These base colors are exactly the reverse of what is typically found in other Mbuna cichlids. Most Mbuna species have blue males and females that are yellowish.
Being one of the most pugnacious and aggressive of the Mbunas, this is a fish for the intermediate and experienced cichlid keeper. It is very belligerent, even the two inch juveniles have the desire and power to devastate smaller fish, such as feeder guppies. It is not a fish for a community tank but it can easily hold its own in a larger aquarium of mixed African Mbunas. Wild caught specimens are even more aggressive than captive raised fish.
The Kenyi easily adapts to prepared foods and will eat pretty much anything. They will even eat the algae in the tank so you do not need to buy a Plecostomus for algae control. They are best kept in a species specific tank unless they are kept with large Mbunas. In a large species tank, keep a group of one male and several females and provide lots of hiding places.
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Video of Kenyi Cichlid (Maylandia lombardoi)
Infographic of Kenyi Cichlid (Maylandia lombardoi)
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