Know Your Fish

'Maylandia Lombardoi' commonly known as Kenyi Cichlid are native to African Lake Malawi, these are rock dwelling fish & also called 'Mbuna' which in the local language of Tonga people translates to 'Rock fish'. Kenyi Cichlids are mainly algae eater's, they spend lot of time scrapping & consuming algae from the rocky shores of Lake Malawi. These fish can grow up to 5 inches or more in an aquarium. All juvenile Kenyi Cichlid's are blue in color with blackish stripes; males turn yellowish brown with faded stripes as they mature & the female Kennyi Cichlid remain blue like Juveniles. Kenyi Cichlids are aggressive & territorial especially the Male Kenyi Cichlids; male juveniles change color from blue to yellow in about 3 to 4 months (average) & are more aggressive than females. They require rock scape with lot of hiding places, with right tank size & male to female ratio. Kenyi Cichlids can be kept with other Mbuna in a Community Aquarium with the right tank size & Tank mates, below information will help understand their requirements in an aquarium. Common names in Fish Keeping Hobby are Kenyi, Kennyi, Zebra Malawi Cichlid, Zebra Mbuna.  

Lifespan of Kenyi Cichlid

5 years or more

Male Kenyi Cichlid

Male Kennyi is Yellowish Brown in color & have egg spots on dorsal fin.

Female Kenyi Cichlid

Female Kenyi Cichlid's are Blue with black stripes, these stripes tend to fade with age.

Kenyi Cichlid Aquarium Care

Kenyi Cichlids are aggressive & territorial, this makes it interesting for an Aquarist to keep them without harming other fish. The best way to keep 'Maylandia Lombardoi' is in a same species tank with one male & several females in a 50 Gallon tank. Its observed that aggression is suppressed in bigger tanks than smaller ones. Kenyi Cichlid's dig a sand nest & guard it, they spend lot of time at the bottom & middle area of an aquarium.

Tank Size for Kenyi Cichlid

Minimum 50 Gallon or bigger. 75 gallon works well in case of Mbuna Community Aquarium.


Temperature Range

(76–82 °F or 24.4–27.8 °C)

pH Range

7.8 to 8.6 is the pH range ( there should never be drastic change's in the pH level)  

GH & KH Range

10 to 15 dGH

Tank Decoration for Kenyi Cichlids

Tank Decor is an important aspect of Kenyi Cichlid Tank, a well decorated tank which mimics their natural habitat would suppress aggression. Firstly, sand for tank bottom helps cushion the rocks & Kenyi Cichlids like digging & building nest in the sand. Rocks are needed to create caves & hiding places. Using Ceramic Rock-Caves or clay pots are recommended for Kenyi Cichlid, this also helps pairing & spawning. 

Food for Kenyi Cichlids

Readily available food can be Fed to Kenyi Cichlids, this includes Pellets, Flakes, Algae wafers, vegetables can be fed, like lettuce, cucumber, Zucchini. Spirulina based fish food should be staple food.

Tank Mates Kenyi Cichlids

30 Gallon tank can hold a Breeding pair, for more Tank mates a bigger tank is needed with a minimum tank size of 50 Gallon or more, for community tank with other Mbuna its should be 75 gallon or bigger aquarium. Some of the Tank mates which can be included are other types of similar sized Malawi Cichlids (Yellow Lab, Snow white Cichlid, Auratus, Red Zebra Cichlid, Blue Socolofi Cichlid, Demasoni Cichlid & Zebra Obliquidens etc).

Breeding Kennyi Cichlids

To Breed Kenyi Cichlids is easy to get them to pair up in an Aquarium is the difficult part. However, once they pair up the female would  lay & collect her eggs. Kenyi Cichlid's are Mouth Brooders, in this case the female collects the eggs & holds it in its mouth, the male fertilizes the egg with its sperm. Kenyi Cichlid fry are released in about 3 weeks (average) from the females mouth.

Kenyi Cichlid Fry Care

Kenyi Cichlids are Mouth Brooders, eggs hatch in the Female's mouth. In an home Aquarium it would be a dangerous place for the Fry to grow around adult fish, hence the fry should be first stripped from the holding female & raised separately in a Grow-out Tank, until they are big enough to defend themselves from any danger in an adult Tank. Below details will help in setting up a Grow-out Tank & Kenyi Cichlid fry care


Tank Size - 20 to 30 Gallon depending on the size of the brood

Temperature - 78 to 80 degree F (25.5 to 26.6 degree C)

pH - 7.5 to 8.5

Water Hardness - 10 to 15 dGH (hard to very hard)

Filtration - for first 15 days use a sponge filter & then use a HOB or submersible filter with good flow rate

Water change - 10% daily or 25% weekly 

Food- Feed Crushed Flakes, Mini Pellets, Infusoria, Baby brine Shrimp. The fry should be fed at least thrice a day

Kenyi Cichlid Fry grow very fast, with proper care they would reach around 1 inch within few weeks. Once the fry have reached between 1.5 to 2 inches in size they can be introduce into the adult tank. 

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Kenyi Cichlid Gallery

Kenyi Cichlid
Male Kenyi Cichlid
Female Kenyi Cichlid
Kenyi Cichlid Aquarium
Kenyi Cichlid Tank
Kenyi Cichlid
Kenyi Cichlid
Kenyi Cichlid
Maylandia Lombardoi
Kenyi Cichlid