YELLOW LAB CICHLID - (Labidochromis caeruleus)
Know Your Fish
African Cichlid's are colorful freshwater fish who display bright color; among this is the most vibrant & colorful Yellow Lab Cichlid; this fish is a must have in an African cichlid community tank.They go by many names, which includes: Electric yellow Cichlid,Yellow Mbuna, Banana Cichlid, Yellow Morph etc. Scientific name of this fish is Labidochromis caeruleus. These fish are native to Lake Malawi in Africa, they are referred as Mbuna which translates to Rock fish or Rock dwelling fish in the local language of Tonga people. Mbuna refers to number of rock dwelling fish from this area.
Natural habitat includes rocky shores & vegetated area's; they are found only on the western side in Nkhata Bay between the Islands of Charo and Lion’s Cove. These fish are insectivores & feed on insects, snails, mollusks & invertebrates, they can grow over 4 inches in length maximum size being 6 inches.
They naturally occur with other color morphs from greenish yellow to blue streaks. Electric Yellow Cichlid may or may not develop grayish bands around their body & black tip to their fins. A good captive bred Yellow Lab would have a thick black line on their dorsal, pelvic & cloacol fins.
Lifespan of Electric Yellow Lab Cichlid can easily live past 5 years, in some case they have lived up to 10 years.
Visual Difference between Male & Female Electric Lab Cichlids
Male & Female Labidochromis caeruleus difference are visually few; looking at pelvic fins is more accurate to distinguish between male from female. Male Yellow Lab Cichlid have longer & always black pelvic fins, its usually male that has egg spot in their cloacal fin & the male Yellow lab is always larger in size than the female Yellow lab.
Electric Yellow Lab Cichlid Aquarium Care
Since, yellow labs are a bit less aggressive than other Mbuna's or African cichlids, they can be housed in a 50 gallon tank like you see in the video. However, if its a African cichlid community tank 75 gallon or bigger is highly recommended.
Filtration system in the aquarium plays a vital role in a cichlid tank due to high bio-load; canister filter would do the job or multiple filters would also work, like a main power head filter or over head filter backed up with 2 or more sponge filters.
For every male, keep 2 or 3 females this would make a good ratio & there is less aggression in the tank.
Labidochromis caeruleus can be housed in a 50 gallon tank like you see in the video with 2 to 3 or more females for every male yellow lab. However, if its a Mixed African cichlid community tank 75 gallon or bigger is highly recommended.
Tank decoration for Electric Yellow Lab, all one would need is sand and lot of rocks; just create lot of hiding places; good alternate would be clay pots or ceramic pots and artificial plants. This would help the less dominant fish escape from the dominant fish. Live plants wont work because these fish dig nest, so plants would be uprooted. Nest is guarded & only females are allowed during spawning.
Temperature Range: 78 to 80° F (25.5 to 26.6°C )
pH Range: 7.5 to 8.5
What to Feed Electric Yellow Lab Cichlid?
Yellow lab cichlids are Omnivores, in their natural habitat these fish are insectivores & feed on insects, snails, mollusks & invertebrates mainly. Food should be balanced well between spirulina based fish food and meaty food; spirulina based fish food, protein based pellets & flakes which are readily available as African cichlid fish food can be fed, they also eat freeze dried worms, live food like blood worms as well.
Tank Mates for Yellow Lab Cichlids
Yellow Lab Cichlids can be aggressive like any other Mbuna; aggression is more in a smaller tank & poorly decorated aquariums. Some overstock their aquarium to create confusion in the fish & this way no single individual is targeted. For this kind of set up you would require a really good filtration system. Another way is always get African cichlids as juveniles & raise them, chances are more they would tolerate other fish in the aquarium.
I have kept these fish with other African Mbuna cichlids like Auratus cichlid, Socolofic cichlids, Red Zebra cichlids, Demasoni cichlid, Kenyi cichlid, Zebra Obliquidens, Feather fin catfish etc.
There would always be aggression issues in Mbuna tank, that's how these African cichlids are, the best way to tackle it, is with the right tank size, hiding places like caves, pots, artificial plants, changing the decoration and removing a really bad & aggressive fish from the tank. I usually give size advantage to yellow labs over other fish. Among all of these they seemed well behaved with zebra obliquidens and peacock cichlids. All the fish you see in the video were raised from fry by me, so it was easier for me to put them in community tanks.
Remember Tank Size & Tank Decoration is the Key to Peaceful Mbuna Aquarium.
Breeding Electric Yellow Lab Cichlids
Yellow lab Cichlids are ready to breed in about 6 to 8 months, breeding Yellow Lab Cichlids is relatively an easy task; providing them with the right conditions is all it takes. Mating ritual usually starts with the male digging a nest in the sand & guarding it from other fish in the tank. Any fish too close to the nest is chased away, only females are allowed during breeding, male starts circling the female & then female lays the eggs, depending on the size & age of the female she may lay anywhere between 10 to 40 eggs. Female collects the eggs in her mouth like other African mouth brooders. Males flare displaying the egg spot on their cloacal fin, this egg spot is thought by the female as eggs which she missed to collect & then tries to collect them, the stimulated male releases sperm which fertilize eggs in females mouth. Eggs are held in females mouth for up to 3 weeks before they are hatched, during this time the female does not eat, to avoid female getting weaker, within a weeks time that female is holding the eggs, most breeders stripe her off the eggs & hatch it in a fish breeding tumbler/incubator. However, if the eggs are held in the females mouth in 3 weeks time you would have a free swimming fry. Female would care for the fry for 7 to 10 days. It's highly recommended to raise the fry in a grow-out tank.