freshwater community4


Hongi Lab

hongi lab

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Scientific Name:   Labidochromis sp. "Hongi"      
Min. Tank Size:   60 gallons      
Personality:   Mildly aggresssive      
Temperature:   75-82°F      
pH:   7.6-8.6/5-20°dGH     
Size:   6"      
Diet:   Omnivore      
Breeding:   Egglayer      


Best kept in a Lake Malawi biotype tank with other moderately aggressive species.

Hongi Lab

The Hongi Lab is endemic to Lake Malawi, one of the Great Rift Lakes of East Africa. This species inhabits the area near Hongi Island in Lake Malawi, which is where these fish got their nickname. These fish have not yet been officially classified so their species name is as yet undetermined. The coloration of Hongi Labs may vary according to the mood of the fish, but the most common colors in male specimens are orange or lilac purple on the body with yellow or orange fins. Many specimens also exhibit dark vertical bars running along the head all the way to the base of the caudal fin. Females of the species are typically less colorful, having a brownish purple color.

Tank Set-up

Because these fish tend to be found along the rocky shores of several islands in Lake Malawi, they prefer their tanks to be decorated with plenty of rocks and rock caves. These fish also like to dig, so a substrate of sand or fine gravel will be appreciated. Tanks for Hongi Labs should be fairly large and the water in the tank should be warm and slightly alkaline. High-quality, well oxygenated water is necessary for this species to thrive. In addition, excellent filtration as well as weekly partial water changes are a must.


Hongi Labs are believed to be an herbivorous species in the wild, and thus should be fed a primarily vegetable-based diet. Feed these fish a staple diet of herbivorous Cichlid flakes or pellets supplemented with Spirulina flakes and blanched vegetables such as spinach or romaine lettuce. These fish may also accept live or frozen foods from time to time. For optimum health and coloration feed a regular varied diet.


These fish are maternal mouthbrooders and are fairly easy to breed in the home aquarium. To increase the likelihood of spawning, separate the breeding pair into a designated breeding tank decorated with plenty of rocks and rock caves. During spawning, the male will display at the female, enticing her into the cave or crevice he has selected as a spawning site. The two fish will then circle each other, the male fertilizing the eggs as the female lays them. After spawning, the female will take the eggs into her mouth, brooding them for 3 to 4 weeks. During this time the female is likely to become territorial and aggressive, nipping at other fish that come too close.

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