Sam Borstein's Cichlid Page

Labidochromis sp. "pearlmutt"

Labidochromis sp. "pearlmutt" Male
Above: A male Labidochromis sp. "pearlmutt". Photo by Sam Borstein.


Genus- labis= tongs (Greek), chromis= a fish, perhaps a perch (Greek).
Species- pearlmutt= mother of pearl (German).


Labidochromis sp. "pearlmutt" is an undescribed Lake Malawi mouth brooder. This pretty and peaceful fish is a pleasure to have in your aquarium. This fish closely resembles the Yellow Labidochromis, Labidochromis caeruleus. It is possible that this fish is actually a location variant of this fish (Konings, 2007).


Labidochromis sp. "pearlmutt" is found at Mabamba Bay and Higga Reef in Lake Malawi. They are found among rocks.

Size, Maturity, and Sexual Dimorphism:

Size: Males- 4 inches, Females- 3 inches
Maturity: 2 inches
Sexual Dimorphism: Males are larger than females and are a lot more colorful than the females and generally have less prominent striping.

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


Labidochromis sp. "pearlmutt" 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. This fish mixes well with other docile mbuna and haplochromines.


In the wild Labidochromis sp. "pearlmutt" is an insectivore. In aquaria, they are not picky and will accept almost any food. A pellet or flake with some vegetable matter in it is recommended.


Labidochromis sp. "pearlmutt" is easy to breed. They breed in a typical mbuna fashion. Before spawning the male's color intensifies dramatically.

Females are good holders and hold for 18-20 days. Spawns can be between 8-30 fry depending on the size of the female. Fry are small, but grow quickly, especially on baby brine shrimp. They are not hard to raise and start to show the characteristic barring of this species at a relatively young age.


Labidochromis sp. "pearlmutt" is a great fish. It is colorful and peaceful. They are an easy fish to breed and keep in general. This fish is available from time to time at some pet shops and from hobbyists. They are usually inexpensive. This makes a good beginner mbuna.