freshwater community4


Sardine Cichlid

sardine cichlid

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Scientific Name:   Cyprichromis leptosoma      
Min. Tank Size:   65 gallons      
Personality:   Peaceful      
Temperature:   75-82°F      
pH:   7.5-9.0/10-25°dGH      
Size:   4.5"      
Diet:   Carnivore      
Breeding:   Egglayer     


Best kept in a biotype tank with other peaceful Lake Tanganyika species; should be kept in shoals with at least 8 - 10 of its own kind.

Sardine Cichlid

The Sardine Cichlid is also known as Leptosoma, Utinta or Blue Flash Cypricichlid. These fish are endemic to Lake Tanganyika, one of the African rift lakes. This species tends to inhabit open water in intermediate zones where the substrate is rocky or sandy. Leptosomas come in five different color variants which can be further divided into both blue- and yellow-tailed forms. This species earned the nickname Sardine Cichlid from their elongated, sardine-like body shape. Males of the species typically exhibit uniform body color ranging from blue to gold while females are usually closer to beige.

Tank Set-up

In the wild, Sardine Cichlids live in large shoals (with numbers in the thousands!) so they are best kept with at least 8 - 10 of their own species - the more your budget can accomodate the better. The ideal tank for Sardine Cichlids will provide plenty of open swimming space but may be decorated with low rock formations. Because males of the species tend to jump during mating periods, it is wise to cover a Leptosoma tank with a tight fitting lid!


The natural diet of Sardine Cichlids consists largely of plankton and small crustaceans. In the home aquarium, however, these fish may accept live, frozen and flake foods. The preferred live foods of this species include Artemia, brine shrimp and Daphnia.


Sardine Cichlids often spawn readily in the community tank but this is not the best environment for raising fry. A breeding tank for Sardine Cichlids should be fairly deep and the water should be kept at a pH between 8.0 and 8.5 and a temperature around 75 degrees Fahrenheit. For the best chances of a successful spawning, stock the breeding tank with several females for each male. The males will select a breeding territory and if a female passes through that territory, the defending male will display at her and the breeding process will begin. The average brood size for this species is 5 to 20 eggs and the female may carry the eggs for up to four weeks before releasing the fry.

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