freshwater community4


Malawi Eye-Biter

malawi eye-biter

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Scientific Name:   Dimidiochromis compressiceps      
Min. Tank Size:   100 gallons      
Personality:   Peaceful      
Temperature:   77-82°F      
pH:   7.5-8.5/5-20°dGH    
Size:   10"      
Diet:   Carnivore      
Breeding:   Egglayer      


Should not be kept with species small enough to be considered prey; can be kept with other large Lake Malawi species.

Malawi Eye-Biter

This predatory species earned its name as a result of its habit of eating the eyes of its prey. This happens fairly infrequently in nature, howevever, though these fish are also known for consuming their prey tail-first. Malawi Eye-Biters exhibit laterally compressed bodies and a sloping snout - it often hunts with its head down to minimize its visibility. These fish are usually white or silver in coloration and most specimens have a dark stripe running along the back from its nose to its tail. As suggested by their name, Malawi Eye-Biters are endemic to Lake Malawi where they are found primarily in areas of shallow water and submerged vegetation.

Tank Set-up

Because these fish are predatory by nature, they should not be kept with fish small enough to be considered prey. When kept with larger species, however, Malawi Eye-Biters are fairly peaceful. These fish are best kept in large tanks that provide plenty of caves for cover as well as open space for swimming. Sand is the preferred substrate and patches of dense planting will help to simulate the natural environment of these fish.


Being a predatory species, Malawi Eye-Biters require a meat-based diet. Offer these fish a variety of high-protein foods like mussels, prawns and lancefish. Though some specimens can be trained to accept dead or dried foods, these foods should not make up the main part of its diet.


Breeding Malawi Eye-Biters is fairly difficult but it can be accomplished by keeping a breeding group of 3 to 6 females with one male. The breeding tank should be kept at a temperature between 77 and 81 degrees Fahrenheit and at a pH between 8.0 and 8.5. When the male is ready to mate, he will choose a spawning site and entice the females to him by displaying his coloration. After spawning, the female will pick up the eggs in her mouth and brood them for 3 weeks. The average brood size of this species is around 40 to 100 eggs.

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