Gunther's Mouthbrooder

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Chromidotilapia guntheri - (Sauvage, 1882)
Gunther's Mouthbrooder

An attractive, mouthbrooding African cichlid for a community of larger, more aggressive fishes. Aaron Norman


Here is an attractive African cichlid with subtle beauty and fascinating mouthbrooding habits. It is relatively peaceful with other bigger, self-assured species, but is not safe with small, mild-mannered fishes. It's mouthbrooding mode of reproduction is a lesson in cichlid parental care.

Family: Cichlidae

Other common name(s):

  • "Guenther's" Mouthbrooder

Native range:

Habitat: Because these are substrate-sifting fishes, they will need a tank with a fine-grade gravel substrate and lots of hiding places among driftwood and piles of well-anchored rocks to form numerous caves for adults, and nooks and crannies for fry and juveniles to hide in.

Maximum length: 16 cm (6 in)

Minimum aquarium size: 114 L (30 gal)

Water: Freshwater 22 °C (72 °F) - 26 °C (79 °F)

General swimming level: Near substrate.


Omnivore. Gunther’s Mouthbrooder is relatively easy to feed and will accept a wide variety of meaty aquarium fare, including good-quality cichlid pellets, sticks and flakes, as well as freeze-dried and frozen foods like krill, mysid shrimp and bloodworms. Supplement with foods rich in plant matter, such as Spirulina-based foods.

Aquarium Compatibility

Gunther’s Mouthbrooder is an active species that is generally compatible with other fishes of similar size and temperament. It may be aggressive toward its own kind during spawning and have a distinct pecking order.


This species forms pairs that exercise interesting to watch parental care, with the male doing mouthbrooding duties. Later both parents take care of the young.


The best approach is to purchase a group of juveniles and let them pair up.

Reference: 101 Best Tropical Fishes
Image credit: AN
Text credit: KW