Three-Lined Cichlid (Benthochromis tricoti)

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Three-Lined Cichlid

Three-Lined Cichlid

Benthochromis tricoti

379 Litres (100 US G.)

17.8-20.3cm (7-8 ")




7.5 - 8.0

25 -27 °C (77-80.6°F)

6-16 °d

1:1 M:F

Pellet Foods
Flake Foods
Other (See article)

5-8 years



Additional names

Three-Lined Cichlid, Giant Featherfin

Additional scientific names

Haplotaxodon tricoti


Endemic to Lake Tanganyika.


Adult males have three electric lines running from just behind the gill plate to the rear of the fish just before the tail, mostly blue colouring on the body and yellow on the throat area, they also have longer fin filaments. Females are the norm for Cichlids, not much colour, usually silver/grey with sometimes brownish blotches on upper half of body.

Tank compatibility[edit]

This is a generally peaceful shoaling Cichlid that should be kept in groups of at least 5-6 or more. It should not be kept with more boisterous Cichlids and may pose a threat to very small fish. It should not be kept with fin-nippers.

Environment specifics[edit]

They shoal in deep open water at 60 meters or more, and come up to depths of 20-40 meters to breed. In the Zambian part of the lake the males will spawn and defend territories on rock ledges, in the Tanzania part of the lake they have been seen defending large spawning sand cones. This could explain why in captivity we see both ways.
An unusual behaviour in captivity is the gulping of air from the surface and holding it from a few seconds to a few minutes. This gives the impression that the female is holding eggs. I have heard of other keepers of these fish with the same experience. I find this strange, because these are deep water fish, I can't imagine them doing this in the wild. (Any explanation would be welcome.)


There are two locations where the Benthochromis tricoti have slightly different colouring. These are Benthochromis tricoti "Msalaba", found in the middle lower half of the lake in Tanzania, and Benthochromis tricoti "Kambwimba", found in the lower part of the lake in Zambia.

Species Note[edit]

The name Benthochromis tricoti has been used for a few near identically looking fish in the past which is now being looked at in more detail. (Benthochromis horii & Benthochromis melanoides)



External links[edit]