Sam Borstein's Cichlid Page

Stomatepia mariae
(Holly, 1930)


Stomatepia mariae spawning
Above: A spawning pair of Stomatepia mariae. Photo by Sam Borstein.


Stoma=mouth (Greek), tepere= warm (Latin).


Stomatepia mariae is the type species for the genus Stomatepia and was first typed in 1930 by Holly. Stomatepia marie is one of the three Stomatepia species known to science, all of which are endemic to Lake Barombi Mbo in Cameroon. Like all the cichlids from Lake Barombi Mbo, it is critically endangered.

Stomatepia mariae is not the most exciting looking fish, it is mostly greenish-brown, but when happy turns a jet black.


This fish is endemic to Lake Barombi Mbo in Cameroon.

Size, Maturity, and Sexual Dimorphism:

Size: Males- 7 inches, Females- 6 inches
Maturity: 3 inches
Sexual Dimorphism: Males are larger than females.


Stomatepia mariae is not a very aggressive fish and is relatively shy. I recommend keeping them in a rather quiet tank, with some dither fish, or mild cichlids. The fish generally keep to themselves and are not aggressive towards other species.

A breeding group of five could easily be kept in a 40 breeder. The tank should be decorated with rocks and some flat slate for the fish to spawn on.


In the wild this fish is an insectivore and fry eater, but in aquaria is not picky and will eat anything.


Stomatepia mariae is not problematic to breed. The hardest thing is getting the fish settled in to the tank and feeling comfortable enough to spawn. Stomatepia mariae breeds in a fashion similar to many Haplochromines.

I found Stomatepia mariae to be a very poor holder, not holding longer than a week. I've heard this from other people also regarding Stomatepia mariae and Stomatepia pindu. I also found Stomatepia mariae often has many infertile eggs. I don't know why this is. It is important to note that females will often spit the eggs out when you put a net in the tank and try to catch them. This can result in damaged larvae and bad yields.

Stomatepia mariae holds full term for about 20 days. The eggs are small and plentiful; between 25 and 80 eggs. The fry are easy to raise and grow relatively quickly.


Stomatepia mariae is really a hobbyist fish. It is not the best looking fish, but is critically endangered and needs our help.