Electric Blue Cichlid (Sciaenochromis Fryeri) Complete Care Guide

The Electric Blue Cichlid is a stunning looking fish, but how easy are they to look after and are they suitable for beginners?

They are generally suitable for beginners to look after although semi-aggressive, so you would need to research the most appropriate tank mates. You are going to want a tank size of at least 50 gallons and be prepared to do frequent water changes. Electric Blue Cichlids are carnivorous so they may eat any fish small enough, they do also eat flake food and pellets.

I wanted to go a little further into my research on this amazing looking fish, below you will find my complete guide on caring for the Blue Cichlid.

Electric Blue Cichlid – Quick Stats

Experience Level: Beginner
Minimum Tank Size: 50 Gallon
Family: Cichlid
Diet: Omnivore
Size: 6-6.5 Inches
Temperament: Semi-Aggressive
Water Temperature: 73 – 82° F (22.8 – 27.8° C)
PH Level: 7.6 – 8.6
Lifespan: 7+ Years

Introducing the Electric Blue Cichlid

Image of the Electric Blue Hap fish

You might come across this fish under a couple of different names, its scientific name is Sciaenochromis Fryeri but is also known as the Electric Blue Hap. It is from the Cichlid species and is a very common hobby fish, this is because of the striking blue coloration.

The Electric Blue African Cichlid is a Hap Cichlid and originated from Lake Malawi, often found in the open waters. The late is the ninth largest in the world and is the home to 800 different species of cichlid, 300 of which are only found in the lake.

They will usually live with other Malawi Cichlids, although should be kept away from Peacock Cichlids.

The coloration on these fish is incredible, however, it is only the males that have this striking blue. The females are more of a silver color, which tends to go a pale blue as they mature.

Basic Care Introduction

The Blue Cichlid is actually a fairly easy fish to care for, which is why it is often found in many beginners aquariums. Even experienced fish keepers may opt for a couple of these, as their beautiful coloring can really make your fish tank stand out.

There are mixed views on whether you should keep the Electric Blue in a group of one male and a few females or whether you should have 1 male and 1 female. I would personally say that it does depend on the space available and what other fish you are potentially wanting. One thing is clear though, you should only have one male, as males do tend to kill other males.

In order to get the most out of this fish, you want to try and make your aquarium as close to Lake Malawi, adding some large rocks and some hardy plants. Provide them with a good environment, the right temperature, and the right food and you will be fine.

Is The Blue Cichlid Ideal For Beginners?

If you are fairly new to having your own fish tank, you don’t want to get a fish that is too complicated and difficult to care for. Luckily there are some Cichlids that are ideal for beginners and the Electric Blue is one of them. As long as your tank has decent filtration, they are fairly straight forward to look after.

Setting Up Your Aquarium For Your Electric Blue Cichlid

To get the most out of your Sciaenochromis Fryeri, you want their home to be as natural to them as possible. You want to try and add some rocks and wood to give your Blue Cichlid somewhere to hide but at the same time, you want to provide them with plenty of open space. Below are some suggestions to help you get your Aquarium set up right.

Tank Size

It’s important that the tank is a minimum of 50 Gallons and is a rectangle in shape, to give them plenty of open water space. They will generally survive in a tank that is 4 feet in length but I’d recommend at least 6 feet.

Rocks

Lake Malawi is surrounded by large mountains, therefore over the years, boulders have been falling into the lake. It would, therefore, be a good idea to add large rocks that resemble these boulders, ideally a gray or beige color.

Even though the Electric Blue Cichlid does not tend to hide in rocks, they do enjoy dashing around them. Just keep an eye on your PH level as coral type rocks can increase this a lot.

Don’t forget to make sure your tank would be able to take the additional weight of rocks, so it should be placed on a solid floor. There have been cases of rocks directly on the base of the tank has caused cracks, you can prevent this by using a fine substrate and a medium grade substrate.

Substrate

I try to make the tanks look as close to the fishes environment as possible. In this case with the Sciaenochromis Fryeri, I would add a layer of sand and then top this up with some natural gravel. To go that one step further, I would then have a mix of gravel and sand near the rocks as this is what you would typically see in real life due to the tide.

Filtration

Cichlids tend to be messy fish, it’s therefore important to make sure that you do have a decent filter set up. I would personally recommend an external filter, which you will find you will need to clean out and change the water in the tank once a week.

NOTE: As filters generally don’t offer much water flow, you might want to consider a Wavemaker to try and emulate the natural tides. This is however optional and wouldn’t dramatically impact the growth of your Blue Cichlids.

Heater

The temperature of the water should remain between 73 – 82° F (22.8 – 27.8° C), since the Electric Blue Hap is a little destructive I would recommend making sure it has a heater guard, this would also be recommended since there are large rocks in the tank. Some of the best aquarium heaters will come with this guard as standard with an LCD display that will alert you if the temperature is too hot or too cold.

What Does The Blue Cichlid Eat?

Electric Blues are carnivorous, so there is a chance they could eat smaller fish as well as pry on other cichlids fry. You want to feed them high quality and well-branded cichlid food, these will often come in pellet form. They can eat flakes but unlike pellets, these tend to be a little messier. It is uncommon but bloodworm can cause bloating along with overeating, this would be something to keep an eye on. You can also supplement their diet with frozen krill, mysis or brine shrimp.

You want to feed them small amounts a couple of times a day, any more than this and as mentioned they could suffer from Malawi Bloat.

Summary

  • Omnivore so could prey on small fish
  • Feed pellet or flake food
  • Supplement diet with live foods such as krill or shrimp
  • Can at times nibble on vegetation
  • Feed small amounts several times per day
  • Consider not feeding Bloodworm

How To Determine Your Fish’s Gender?

The Electric Blue Cichlid is very easy to tell the different sexes. The males are bigger than the females and do vary greatly in color. It is the males that have the blue color with a red/orange anal fin, whereas the females are gray but can also be light blue.

The Electric Blue Cichlid Breeding Guide

The Blue Hap is an easy fish to breed, ideal if you are a beginner. In order to encourage them to breed the water must be of high quality, more often than not you will find they breed just after you changed the water (as this is when it’s at its best). Usually, they will spawn every 2 months, starting from May all the way to September.

You will know when they are looking to mate as the males blue color will become even more intense along with the coloring of the anal fin. Often they will mate near a large rock, where the male has built up some of the substrates. The female will release the eggs and the current of the water will allow it to be pushed towards the male, they will then fertilize the egg by catching it in their anal fin.

Once fertilized they release the eggs and the female will pick them up and carry for 2-3 weeks. Unlike other cichlids, the Electric Blue do not care for their fry and leave them to defend for themselves.

Compatibility Guide – The Ideal Electric Blue Cichlid Tank Mates

They are not considered a community fish because they are fairly aggressive, as long as you have a big enough tank you can have other fish but remember they do tend to eat those that are smaller than them.

Do not house them with other male Electric Blues as they will kill them, along with male Peacock Cichlids. You may, however, find that as they do get older they tend to mellow out a little more.

I would recommend the following as Tank Mates for your Electric Blue Cichlid;

  • Other African Cichlids, although you need to make sure they are a similar size
  • Clown Loaches
  • Featherfin Catfish
  • Cuckoo Catfish
  • Plecos
  • Ghost Knives
  • Bristlenose Catfish

They do have their own personalities which means your Blue Hap might be happy being tank mates with other fish such as;

  • Barbs
  • American Cichlids
  • Larger Gouramis
  • Silver & Golden Perch
  • Eels
  • Larger Sharks
  • Silver Dollar
  • Yabbies

NOTE: Again this does depend on your own Electric Blue, as their temperament and aggression can vary.

Potential Diseases

The Electric Blue Hap can suffer from all of the usual fish diseases, its recommend to read up on the common ones. This will help teach you how you can spot them early and therefore treat your fish as quickly as possible.

The most common reason why the Cichlids get diseases is due to the water condition, which is why I would recommend changing the water weekly. As mentioned already Malawi bloat is very common and cause by either overfeeding or not eating quality food.

I hope you have enjoyed this care guide on the Electric Blue Cichlid, if you have any comments or questions please post them below.

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