Sam Borstein's Cichlid Page

Labidochromis chisumulae
Lewis, 1982

Chisumulu Clown

Labidochromis chisumulae
Above: A male Labidochromis chisumulae. Photo by Rick Borstein.


Genus- labis= tongs (Greek), chromis= a fish, perhaps a perch (Greek).
Species- chisumulae= named for Chizumul Island, from which the fish is from.


Labidochromis chisumulae is a Lake Malawi mouth brooder very similar to the Yellow Labidochromis, Labidochromis caeruleus. The males of this gorgeous fish are pearl white with blue fins and a blue head, while the females are just that sparkly pearl white. This fish was first typed by Lewis in 1982, so it has been in the hobby for a little bit.


Like its name implies, Labidochromis chisumulae is found around Chisumulae in Lake Malawi. They are usually found in the rocky habitat.

Size, Maturity, and Sexual Dimorphism:

Size: Males- 3.5 inches, Females- 3 inches
Maturity: 1.5 inches
Sexual Dimorphism: Males are larger than females and develop blue in the anal and pectoral fins. Females generally have white in these fins.

Labidochromis chisumulae female
Above: A female Labidochromis chisumulae. Photo by Sam Borstein.


Labidochromis chisumulae is easy to care for. Rocks should be put in the tank for hiding and to give the fish a breeding surface. This fish is not aggressive. A trio or quad will do fine in a 40 breeder. This species also mixes very well with other mild mannered rift lake cichlids.


This fish is a carnivore and in the wild feeds on mollusks and insects. Feeding a little bit of everything is good. A solid vegetable flake as well as a pellet or flake with some protein should do these fish well.


This fish was not very hard to spawn. When spawning, the male looks amazing. All of his colors brighten, and the blue on the fish really comes out. Like all mbuna the male displays and the fish spawn. The females are great holders, but you need to make sure that the male is not harassing them, because this is the only time they become aggressive. Females hold up to 25 days. The fry are large and grow fast. Be careful raising the fry, as they seem to get bloated easily. When they are around .5 inches long, start feeding some spirulina flake for some extra fiber.


This is an excellent mbuna to keep. This fish is spectacular and would be a great add-on to an mbuna show tank. I recommend you try this fish if you are into Malawi cichlids.