A really gorgeous fish which doesn't show its real characteristics even in the top photo (a close up which was shot months ago was even worse - see note on previous page). Quite shy for an mbuna it needs many hiding places if kept with aggressive species. Ideally, it shouldn't be kept with mbuna whose male or female coloration resemble his (like Pseudotropheus lombardoi, zebra etc.). If such aggressive species are present the C.mbamba will lose its coloration and become a gray-blue fish without stripes. It will only show its magnificent coloration during spawning and then turn back to the dull "camouflage" coloration.
The normal coloration of the male is a light blue body with dark blue vertical stripes, a bright yellow dorsal fin and an anal fin with very bright egg spots. The female usually has a gray - beige coloration. The fish will grow to 11 cm (male) the female being somewhat smaller. It is a herbivore and its dietary needs should be taken into account otherwise Malawi bloat may kill it. It will spawn often but do not expect large fry (less than 20). The fish closely resembles Cynotilapia afra. Minimum tank size : 100 liters for a pair, 200 liters or more for a harem (1 male - 3 females).
See next page for more photos (including a carrying female)