Cyphotilapia frontosa - Fast Fact Sheet
by Francesco Zezza
Biotope: Endemic to Lake Tanganyika. Likely, one of the biggest cichlids living in the Rift Valley Lakes. Lot of intalacustrine endemism is known.
Tank: BIG, period. And probably big isn’t enough! 100 US gal (about 400 lt) should be considered the bare minimum for a trio of C.frontosa (1M/2F). At least double that size if you plan to have breeding colony. Think even bigger if you plan to have two (or more?) adult male in the same tank. Got the idea? Despite the fact that those fishes are lazy swimmer they DO need a lot of space to thrive.
Water chemistry: Lake Tanganyika is the lake in Rift Valley with the highest alkalinity. Its pH level can be measured above 9.0 in some places. Keep this well in mind when setting up the tank where you plan to keep your Fronts and choosing tankmates
Spawning: Female mouthbrooder as most of the East African Cichlids are. I have no direct experience on their spawning and won’t go any longer on the matter but I’ll refer to the experience of a friend of mine. An excellent group of juveniles: 7 specimens – with two males – is kept in an 800 liter tank without any other tankmates except two small “plecos”. Till now those fishes stubbornly refuse to spawn despite the fact that they are fully matured (they are aged well over two years). After a check with the “supplier” (another fellow hobbyist) it came out those fishes were stripped … Despite this fact you can’t make a rule from ONE such report but this make me think of an old, sometimes, forgotten rule: NEVER STRIP YOUR FISHES!!!
Food: Pellets (either floating or sinking), tablets, animal matter (i.e.: raw shrimps) is OK! Avoid keeping Fronts with fast swimmers otherwise feeding them could become a “tricky” game.
Tank Mates: No special requirement to report, except the fact that those fish grow big and, despite You feed them tons of food, chances are they will decide to get a snack on their own! I know a fellow complaining about heavy losses in the shelldweller colony. Asked where those tiny beauties were kept in he calmly, answered: “ ... in the Front’s tank!”
About Pic(s): I took those pics with my digital camera. The fish shown are kept by my dear friend Simona Santini.
See next page for more photos.