Pseudotrophaeus Lombardo - a typical African cichlid

Pseudotrophheus Lombardo (lat.Pseudotropheus lombardoi) is a cichlid that lives in Lake Malawi, which is an aggressive species of mbuna. In nature, they grow up to 13 cm, and in the aquarium they can be even larger.

What makes Lombardo quite unique is that the color of the male and the female is so different, it seems to you two different types of fish. The male is orange in color with pale dark stripes in the upper back, and the female is bright blue, with more pronounced stripes.

Moreover, this color is the opposite of the usual color of other mbuna; in nature, most species have blue males and orange females.

Since these are some of the most aggressive African cichlids, it is recommended that aquarists with experience keep them.

They are very belligerent, even a couple of centimeters long can and wants to destroy small fish, such as guppies. They are definitely not suitable for general aquariums, but suitable for cichlids.

Living in nature

The Lombardo pseudotrophyus was described in 1977. It lives in Lake Malawi, in Africa, originally on the island of Mbenji and on the Nktomo reef, but now also on the island of Namalenji.

They prefer to dwell at a depth (from 10 meters or more), in places with a rocky or mixed bottom, for example, in sandy or silty places between stones.

Males guard the hole in the sand, which is used as a nest, and females, males without a nest and juveniles often live in migratory schools.

Fish feed on zoo and phytoplankton, but basically their diet consists of algae growing on stones.


In nature, Lombardo grows up to 12 cm in size, in the aquarium they can be slightly larger. Under good conditions, life expectancy of up to 10 years.

Difficulty in content

Recommended for maintenance in the aquarium only by experienced aquarists. This is an aggressive fish, not suitable for general aquariums, it is undesirable to keep it with other species, with the exception of cichlids.

It is also sensitive to water parameters, purity and the content of ammonia and nitrates in it.


Omnivores, but in nature, the pseudotrophyus Lombardo mainly feeds on algae, which tears off stones.

In the aquarium, it feeds on both artificial and live food, but the basis of the diet should be vegetable, such as feed with spirulina or vegetables.

Aquarium Maintenance

The minimum recommended aquarium volume for a male and several females is 200 liters. In a larger aquarium, you can already keep them with other cichlids.

Since water is alkaline and hard in nature in Lake Malawi, this imposes restrictions on the content of Lombardo.

Such water is suitable for a small number of fish and plants. The parameters for the content: temperature 24-28C, ph: 7.8-8.6, 10-15 dGH.

In regions with soft and acidic water, such parameters will become a problem, and aquarists have to resort to tricks, for example, add coral chips or eggshells to the ground.

As for the soil, sand is the best solution for Malawians.

They like to dig in it and regularly dig up plants, at the same time depriving them of leaves. So plants in an aquarium with pseudotrophaeus can be abandoned altogether.

An exception may be hard-leaved species such as Anubias. Another plus of sand is that it is simply siphoned, and you need to do this often so that ammonia and nitrates, to which fish are sensitive, do not accumulate.

Naturally, the water in the aquarium needs to be changed weekly and it is very advisable to use a powerful external filter.

The aquarium fish pseudotrophyus Lombardo needs a lot of shelters: rocks, caves, pots and snags. Be careful, as fish can dig up the ground under them and this will lead to the collapse of the decor.


It is best to keep in a group of one male and several females in a spacious aquarium.

The male does not tolerate and will attack any other male, or fish similar in appearance to him. It is best to keep them along with other mbuna, and avoid peaceful cichlids such as labidochromeis yellow.

Gender differences

The male is orange in color, and the female is bluish-blue, both fish have dark vertical stripes, which are more pronounced in the female.


Spawning, the female lays eggs, and then immediately takes her into her mouth, where the male fertilizes her.

Nature has cleverly disposed of, so that the yellow spots on the male's anal fin resemble female eggs, which she tries to peck and pick up in her mouth for another egg.

However, in this way it only stimulates the male to release milk, which, together with the flow of water, enters the female’s mouth and thus fertilize the eggs.

As a rule, pseudotrophies of Lombardo spawn in the same aquarium in which they live. The male digs a hole in the ground, where the masonry will be, before the female takes it.

A female with caviar in her mouth hides in a shelter and refuses food. Has about 50 eggs for 3 weeks.

The appeared fry is completely ready for life and nauplii of brine shrimp, brine shrimp, daphnia serve as the starting food for it.

It is possible to increase survival in the general aquarium, it is necessary that for fry there would be secluded places inaccessible to other fish.

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