Sam Borstein's Cichlid Page

Labidochromis sp. "mbamba"

Labidochromis sp. "Mbamba"
Above: A male Labidochromis sp. "mbamba". Photo by Sam Borstein.


Genus- labis= tongs (Greek), chromis= a fish, perhaps a perch (Greek).
Species- mbamba= Named after Mbamba Bay in Lake Malawi.


Labidochromis sp. "mbamba" is an undescribed Lake Malawi mouth brooder. This fish is often confused by hobbyists as Labidochromis sp. “hongi”. Although a relative newcomer to the hobby, Labidochromis sp. "mbamba" is not an infrequent find and is gaining popularity as it is a colorful and rather unaggressive species.


Labidochromis sp. "mbamba" is found in Mabamba Bay. They are most frequently found in the sandy and rocky zones.

Size, Maturity, and Sexual Dimorphism:

Size: Males- 4 inches, Females- 3.5 inches
Maturity: 2 inches
Sexual Dimorphism: Males are larger than females and are a lot more colorful than the females which are brown.

Female Labidochromis sp. "Mbamba"
Above: A female Labidochromis sp. "mbamba". Photo by Sam Borstein.


Labidochromis sp. "mbamba" 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 real aggressive. This fish should probably be put in at least a 40 gallon breeder. You can successfully mix this species with other mbuna and and haps with a similar demeanor.


This fish is believed to be an insectivore in the wild. A mixed diet is recommended. I fed spectrum and HBH graze and they did well.


This fish was not very hard to spawn. The male will display to the female and the fish will spawn. The females are good holders; you just need to make sure that the male is not harassing them. Females hold up to 23-25 days. The fry are medium sized and don’t grow that fast but are none the less easy to raise.


This is a nice mbuna to keep if you like mbuna. This fish doesn’t shock and awe, but it is an easy BAP. You may even be able to find this fish at your local pet store as it is popular right now.