Common Name: Black Widow Frontosa
Scientific Name: Cyphotilapia frontosa sp.
Other Names: Humphead Cichlid
Habitat and Distribution
Country of Origin: Lake Tanganyika, East Africa (Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, and Zambia)
Black Widow Frontosa is endemic to the rocky shoreline and sandy bottom of Lake Tanganyika. They prefer to live in deeper waters where they can find rocks and crevices to hide in. In the wild, they are often found in large groups, forming loose social hierarchies to forage for food and avoid predation.
Size and Lifespan
In the wild, Black Widow Frontosas can grow up to 16 inches in length, with males usually being larger than females. In captivity, they can grow up to 12 inches. They have a lifespan of up to 20 years.
Diet and Behavior
Black Widow Frontosas are carnivorous and in the wild, they feed on small fish, invertebrates, and crustaceans. In captivity, they can be fed a diet of high-quality protein-rich food such as krill, shrimp, and other frozen foods.
Black Widow Frontosas are generally peaceful and can be kept in a community aquarium with other non-aggressive species that prefer similar water conditions. They are social fish and prefer to live in groups, but they can become territorial when breeding.
Breeding and Reproduction
Black Widow Frontosas are mouthbrooders, with females holding the fertilized eggs in their mouths for around 30 days until the fry hatch. Breeding can be difficult in captivity, as males can become territorial and aggressive towards other males. It is recommended to keep a single male with multiple females in the breeding tank.
Aquarium Care and Tank Requirements
Black Widow Frontosas require a large aquarium, with a minimum tank size of 125 gallons being recommended for a small group. A sandy substrate and plenty of rocks or other hiding places should be provided, mimicking their natural habitat. The water temperature should be kept between 75-80°F, with a pH range of 8.0-9.0 and hardness between 10-20 dGH. The aquarium should also have a strong filtration system to maintain good water quality.
Ideal Tank Mates
Black Widow Frontosas can be kept with other peaceful Tanganyikan cichlids, such as Neolamprologus brichardi or Julidochromis species. They should not be kept with aggressive or territorial species, as they can become stressed and aggressive themselves.
Black Widow Frontosas are a moderately difficult species to keep in an aquarium. They require specific water parameters and can be territorial when breeding, but are generally peaceful when kept in a suitable environment with appropriate tank mates.
- Temperature: 75-80°F
- pH: 8.0-9.0
- General Hardness (GH): 10-20 dGH
- Carbonate Hardness (KH): 10-15 dKH
- Ammonia: 0 ppm
- Nitrite: 0 ppm
- Nitrate: <20 ppm
Black Widow Frontosas are a popular species in the aquarium trade due to their striking coloration and unique appearance. They are known for their prominent forehead hump and black markings on their dorsal and anal fins, which resemble the markings of a black widow spider.
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