Bright-Finned Slender Cichlid (Cyprichromis leptosoma)

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Bright-Finned Slender Cichlid

Cyprichromis Leptosoma Kitumba-4506.jpg
Bright-Finned Slender Cichlid

Cyprichromis leptosoma

208 Litres (55 US G.)

10-11 cm (3.9-4.3")




8.0 - 9.0

23 -25 °C (73.4-77°F)

10-20 °d

1:2-3 M:F

Pellet Foods
Flake Foods
Live Foods

5-10 years



This animal is available captive bred

Additional names

Bright-Finned Slender Cichlid, Slender Cichlid, Sardine Cichlid

Additional scientific names

Paratilapia leptosoma, Limnochromis leptosoma


Hails from 300 miles of lake Tanganyika's eastern coastline, from Kigoma in Tanzania and mpulungu in Zambia. They are found in areas with deep, clean water and rocky shores, where they congregate in schools with thousands of members and feed on plankton.


These fish can take months to color up, but when they do males are instantly recognizable by their bright blue and yellow colors. The females are a drab silver color.

Tank compatibility[edit]

An excellent resident for Tanganyikan communities as long as their tank mates are not overly aggressive, and an ideal dither fish to lure shyer Tanganyikan cichlids out of hiding. These are the primary diet of wild Frontosa, and thus should not be mixed with them or any other large predatory cichlids.


A planktonic carnivore with a surprisingly small mouth and throat. Feed small flakes, pellets, live and frozen food; adults will take foods as small as baby brine shrimp.

Feeding regime[edit]

These fish eat constantly in the wild and do best with several very small feedings a day. They are ravenous eaters, and if fry are in the tank they will most likely need to be target fed to prevent the Cyprichromis from eating most of their food. It is recommended not to feed these fish at the surface, as like several other Tanganyikan cichlids they have no way of expelling any air bubbles they may swallow at the surface; if they take in air, the hobbyist will have to manually force the air out of the fish, which is obviously not enjoyable for either the fish or its owner.

Environment specifics[edit]

Some tall rocks are needed on one side of the aquarium to simulate a ledge, but otherwise cyps need open tanks to give them the necessary swimming room. Like all Tanganyikan cichlids, they are sensitive to poor water quality and two 25 percent water changes a week should be considered mandatory.


A schooling, maternal mouthbrooding cichlid which is found in groups with thousands of individuals in the wild, with 3 types of schools: female and juvenile schools, breeding male schools, and schools consisting of holding females. Sadly this behavior, referred to as 'lekking', cannot be fully emulated in most aquariums, but cyps will otherwise behave as they would in the wild.
Breeding males hold three dimensional territories which they try to lure females into with a head-down flaring display: if he succeeds, they mate and up to twenty exceptionally large eggs are produced, which are fertilized immediately by the male. The female quickly grabs the eggs - potentially including those of other spawning females - before they sink, and holds them for almost four weeks before releasing disproportionately large fry, each about a half inch inlength. The fry will take fry powder, baby brine shrimp, and microworms from birth and will join the main school when they reach an inch in size.


This species can be distinguished from other Cyprichromis species by their narrower build. This species also has a 'jumbo' variant - likely a separate species, although it is not classified as such - that hits 7 inches in size: it needs a larger tank and should not be mixed with the normal leptosoma for fear of hybridizing.


External links[edit]