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Azureus Cichlid

azureus cichlid

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Scientific Name:   Copadichromis azureus     
Min. Tank Size:   70 gallons      
Personality:   Mildly aggressive      
Temperature:   75-82°F      
pH:   7.5-8.5/10-25°dGH     
Size:   6.5"      
Diet:   Carnivore      
Breeding:   Egglayer      


Should not be combined with Mbuna or other aggressive Cichlids; best kept with non-conspecifics in groups containing 3 or 4 females per one male.

Azureus Cichlid

These Cichlids, along with other members of the genera Copadichromis and Mchenga, belong to a group of Cichlids nicknamed Utaka Cichlids. All of the species belonging to this group are endemic to Lake Malawi and unlike Mbuna Cichlids which inhabit rocky habitats, Utaka Cichlids dwell in the open waters of the lake. Azureus Cichlids are typically found in large groups, living in areas that are between 20 and 30 meters deep. These fish are named for the deep blue, or azure, coloration exhibited by males of the species. This blue coloration extends to the fins in most specimens and the dorsal fin is often edged in light blue. Juveniles and females of the species are usually grey in color with several black spots - males tend to develop dark vertical bands that run along the body from head to tail.

Tank Set-up

The bright coloration of these fish makes them a popular species in the aquarium hobby and they are best kept in a Lake Malawi biotype tank. The tank itself should provide plenty of open space for swimming with a sandy substrate. You may decorate the tank sparsely with rocks to provide hiding places and hard water-tolerant species of plants such as Anubias and Java Fern can also be used.


In the wild, Azureus Cichlids are planktivores - their diet consists mainly of plankton. In captivity, however, these fish are likely to accept a variety of foods. Offer Azureus Cichlids small live and frozen foods in addition to a high quality Cichlid flake or pellet food. Blanched spinach and Spirulina flakes are valuable additions to the diet of these aquarium fish.


Breeding the Azureus Cichlid is not particularly difficult and it has been accomplished with some regularity in the aquarium hobby since 1990. These fish are best spawned in harems consisting of one male and at least 3 females. The breeding tank should be furnished with several flat rocks for spawning sites as well as sandy substrate. Keep the water in the breeding tank at a pH between 8.0 and 8.5 and at a temperature between 77 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. When he is ready for breeding, the male will create a nesting site and entice the female to it by displaying his coloration. After spawning, the female will take the eggs into her mouth and brood them for 3 to 4 weeks before releasing the free swimming fry.

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