Sam Borstein's Cichlid Page

Xystichromis sp. "kyoga flameback"

Kyoga Flameback
Synonyms: Haplochromis sp. "all red nawampsa", Haplochromis sp. "kyoga flameback"

Kyoga Flameback
Above: A male Xystichromis "kyoga flameback". Photo by Sam Borstein.


Genus- Xyster= scraper (Greek), chromis= a fish, perhaps a perch (Greek).


Xystichromis sp. "kyoga flameback" (kyoga is pronounced choga) is one of the better known Victorian cichlids. There has been some confusion around this fish as there are two different species with similar names. In Lake Victoria there is Xystichromis sp. "flameback", which looks fairly different from the above fish in coloration. Xystichromis sp. "kyoga flameback" is sometimes known as Haplochromis sp. "all red" "Lake Nawampsa". This is sometimes confused with a much different fish from a different lake, Haplochromis sp. "all red" which hails from Lake Edward. It is best to use the name Xystichromis sp. "kyoga flameback" to avoid confusion between these species.


Xystichromis sp. "kyoga flameback" are found in Lake Nawampsa, a finger-lake of Lake Kyoga.

Size, Maturity, and Sexual Dimorphism:

Size: Males- 5 inches, Females- 3.5 inches
Maturity: 1 inch
Sexual Dimorphism: Males are larger than females and are a lot more colorful than the females which are silver.


This fish is easy to care for. They can be aggressive, but this usually only occurs in smaller tanks. Make sure you have rocks in the tank, as the fish really feel more comfortable around them. These fish are hardy and not picky about water values.

You could easily keep a trio in a 40 gallon and a group of 5 in with some Malawi cichlids in a larger tank of 55-75 gallons.


Xystichromis sp. "kyoga flameback" is a herbivore feeding on algae and plants. A diet with a good amount of fiber should be fed.


Xystichromis sp. "kyoga flameback" is very easy to breed. Their breeding behavior is like all other Haplochromis from Lake Victoria. Males will dig a pit in the sand in front of a rock. They then display to the females and spawn around their territory. The females are excellent holders and will hold for about 3 weeks. The fry are small, but easy to raise, especially with baby brine shrimp. The fry grow rapidly if given a large tank to grow up in.


Xystichromis sp. "kyoga flameback" is a very nice fish to keep. It is fairly easy to obtain and the males get some great color. They are also usually cheap. This is a nice Victorian to keep if you are just getting into Vics.