freshwater community4


Zimbawe Rock

zimbawe rock

Click image to enlarge

Scientific Name:   Otopharynx lithobates      
Min. Tank Size:   65 gallons      
Personality:   Peaceful      
Temperature:   75-82°F      
pH:   7.5-8.5/5-20°dGH      
Size:   6.5"      
Diet:   Carnivore      
Breeding:   Egglayer      


Best kept in a Lake Malawi biotype tank with other peaceful Lake Malawi species; should be kept in groups with several females for every male.

Zimbawe Rock

Also called the Aristochromis Red Top and the Sulphur-Headed Hap, the Zimbawe Rock is endemic to Lake Malawi. These fish tend to inhabit caves and rocky crevices - they are rarely spotted in open water. This species changes its morphology as it develops. Juveniles of the species are often tan in color, but males of the species eventually develop an intense blue coloration ornamented by an orange or yellow stripe on the dorsal fin. Some specimens also exhibit yellow or orange coloration on the forehead as well as on the tips of the anal and caudal fins. Females of the species are typically less colorful and do not grow as large as males.

Tank Set-up

In the home aquarium, provide the Zimbawe Rock with sandy substrate and plenty of rockwork to create caves and crevices for hiding places. These fish also enjoy areas of open space for swimming, however, so do not decorate the tank too heavily. Though live plants do not play a major role in the native environment of these fish, they can be added to the tank for decoration. Unlike many Cichlids, this species will not disturb live plants.


The Zimbawe Rock is a predatory species, feeding primarily on crustaceans and insects in the wild. In captivity, however, these fish are likely to accept a variety of foods. Offer your Zimbawe Rock live and frozen foods like brine shrimp, bloodworms and mussels as the bulk of their diet.


This species is best spawned in harems with at least 3 females for every male in the breeding tank. The breeding tank itself should be fairly large and decorated with plenty of flat stones to serve as spawning sites. These fish are maternal mouthbrooders so, after the eggs have been deposited and fertilized, the female will take them into her mouth to brood. The average brood size of this species is 25 to 50 eggs and the female will brood them for up to four weeks before releasing the fully developed fry.

blog comments powered by Disqus