Lethrinops turneri

Lethrinops turneri can reach a maximum length of about 12 centimeters. Although they are common in the wild, they are rarely kept in the aquarium hobby.

Lethrinops turneri

Lethrinops turneri was officially described in 2003 for Ngatunga and Pike. Before then they were called Lethrinops sp. “Pink Head”. The genus name Lethrinops can be broken down into two parts. ‘Ops’ means ‘appearance’ and Lethrinus is a reference to the marine fish genus Lethrinus (Lethrinidae) which they somewhat resemble. The species name turneri is in honor of the ichthyologist George F. Turner of Bangor University in Wales. He was the first to discover this species in Lake Malawi when he worked there.


This species can reach a total length of about 12 centimeters. Their nose is relatively short in relation to the body. The base color is a ginger grey. They differ from other Lethrinops species because the males turn orange-brown on their neck and on top of the head.

Lethrinops coloring in the wild

Lethrinops are inhabitants of the sandy plains in the wild. Here they live in the safety of groups. The predatory fish always try to focus on one prey. Selecting prey in a group that all looks the same is very difficult. Therefore, in the wild, Lethrinops often look dull and similar silver in color. The males only get their brilliant colors during the spawning season.

Lethrinops colouring in the aquarium

In the aquarium, Lethrinops are very gentle fish. They are soon suppressed and then lose their color. If you keep them in an aquarium with other Malawi cichlids, it will quickly become too crowded. To bring out the color of the Lethrinops, it is best to keep them in a species aquarium. One or more males and several females.

They are still Malawi cichlids. The males impress each other to determine their ranking. They normally do not chase each other. They spread their fins wide and with open mouths, they argue a little. They swim in front of or next to each other to determine who is the dominant male.

The colors of the males show best without other fish species around. If you still want to keep other fish species with Lethrinops, try calm Aulonocara or Copadichromis. Even then there is a chance that the Lethrinops will not come to colour.


The Type specimen was caught in Lake Malombe. They are also found in the southern part of Lake Malawi. They occur in shallow waters from about 2 to 15 meters deep.

Breeding Lethrinops turneri

Despite the fact that the species occurs frequently, the nests are not very large. A female lays about 30 eggs.


John de Lange
Freddy van der Wal

Additional information







First described by

Benjamin Peter Ngatunga, Jos Snoeks


Breeding behaviour





Minimum length


Length maximum


Temperature minimum
Temperature maximum



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