Cyrtocara moorii from Lake Malawi

Cyrtocara moorii

Cyrtocara moorii. Photo by Brian Gratwicke, CC-BY-2.0.

Another species of cichlid that grow a hump on their head is Cyrtocara moorii from Lake Malawi. The nuchal hump is similar to that of the Cyphotilapia frontosa from the previous blog, but these fish have no relation and are an example of convergent evolution.

In the wild Cyrtocara moorii is widely distributed throughout Lake Malawi. They spend their time sifting the sandy bottom for food at about 10 to 50 feet in depth. Despite being found in many locations, C. moorii are rarely spotted. It was first imported in the late 1960′s and has been in the hobby ever since.

In the aquarium Cyrtocara moorii is a gentle giant. Rarely aggressive unless provoked or spawning. Care should be taken to ensure tankmates aren’t aggressive, especially if you are hoping for them to spawn. C. moorii is very slow growing but males will eventually reach 10+ inches. Females will be a few inches smaller. A large tank is a must for these fish and a sandy substrate is recommended to encourage natural feeding behaviors and spawning. For more information of this species check out the Species Article by Marc Elieson or visit the Lake Malawi Species forum.

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