African Butterfly Cichlid (Anomalochromis Thomasi)
The African Butterfly Cichlid, also known as Dwarf Jewel, Dwarf African Butterfly Cichlid, or Butterfly Cichlid, is a peaceful and sociable species native to the small, wooded streams of West Africa, specifically in Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone. They are characterized by their oval-shaped bodies with a pale bronze color, adorned with iridescent blueish-silver highlights under their eyes and on their scales. The fish's head is silvery-grey, with a silver "flash" under the eyes. There are eight rows of pearl-like dots running horizontally from the gill plates to the caudal peduncle on the body, and there are two false eyespots on the fish, one located in the middle of the body and the other at the back of the caudal peduncle. The tips of their fins may also be reddish-brown, and their ventral and pectoral fins are generally transparent. Males can grow up to 3.5 inches in length, while females can reach up to 2.8 inches.
African Butterfly Cichlids are best kept in groups of 8 or more, preferably with equal numbers of males and females. They are peaceful, relatively undemanding, easily bred, and quite attractive once accustomed to your aquarium. They form strong monogamous bonds and later nuclear families. However, they can become territorial during spawning.
Ideal tank mates include Dwarf Gouramis, small Rainbowfish, small Barbs, Corydoras Catfish, small Loricariids, Tetras, Rasboras, and other Dwarf Cichlids. However, ensure that their tanks are large enough to avoid cramped and aggressive conditions for breeding pairs. Avoid fast-swimming species that can outcompete them at feeding time, such as Congo Tetras, Giant Danios, or larger Barbs.
In terms of diet, African Butterfly Cichlids are omnivorous. They enjoy frozen or live foods such as daphnia, brine shrimp, bloodworms, mosquito larvae, good-quality flakes, cichlid pellets, and tablets.
Creating an ideal habitat for African Butterfly Cichlids involves mimicking their natural environment. The tank should be arranged in dark colors with a pebbly substrate. It should be heavily planted with roots, rocks, wood, and overturned flowerpots to serve as hiding places. Use flat stones as resting places and potential spawning sites. Leave open swimming areas.
As for water parameters and tank size, African Butterfly Cichlids require a minimum of 40 gallons. However, 60 gallon or larger aquarium is ideal for a community setup. They prefer slightly acidic to slightly alkaline water, with a pH range of 5.5-7.5. The hardness should be within the range of 3-12 dGH. They thrive in warmer waters, with an ideal temperature range of 73-81°F (23-27°C).
To learn more about this fish, be sure to check out the Additional Information tab.