Ctenopharynx pictus

Ctenopharynx pictus. Photo by Ad Konings​

Ctenopharynx pictus isn't a cichlid you will often see in the hobby. Originally found at various locations throughout Lake Malawi, this species prefers soft, sandy bottoms anywhere between 20 to 60 feet in depth. C. pictus feeds on small invertebrates by sifting through the sand. Males reach over 5" in length while females are about an inch shorter. Males will display the blue coloration with yellow on the chest. Females and sub-adult males are silver with 3 characteristic spots on their sides. Ctenopharynx is a small genus currently only made up of 3 names species.

In the aquarium Ctenopharynx pictus should be fed a diet high in protein. Soft sand should be provided so they can display their natural behavior. Although not generally aggressive toward other species, C. pictus can be toward its own kind. This species occasionally appears on stock lists and auctions, sometimes by the name Haplochromis pictus. To discuss this species visit the Lake Malawi Species forum.