Nimbochromis livingstonii

Nimbochromis livingstonii sometimes hunts for prey by playing dead. When a smaller fish comes to check out some free food, they get a nasty surprise.

Nimbochromis livingstonii

The males of the Nimbochromis livingstonii can reach a length of about 25 centimetres in the wild, the females stay a bit smaller and reach a length of about 20 centimetres. In the aquarium, they can grow to around 25-30 centimetres.

Both the males and the females have a white ground colour with a brown spot pattern on top. However, the males may have a light blue colour around their heads. The females don’t have this. The males also become a deep blue/green during the breeding season. The spotted pattern is hardly visible anymore when in full breeding dress.

Synonyms: Haplochromis Livingstoni Kaligono, Hemichromis livingstonii, Astatotilapia livingstonii, Cyrtocara livingstonii, Haplochromis livingstonii, Paratilapia livingstonii, Haplochromis livingstoni.


Nimbochromis livingstonii are natural predators, they can also be quite aggressive towards females, so it is best to keep 1 male with several females. Also do not keep together with too small fish because they are seen as food. They are tolerant of other large Malawi cichlids.

They are also known for their special way of hunting, they lie down on their side on the bottom and play dead. They wait for small fish to pass by, and then they spring into action and grab their prey.


Nimbochromis livingstonii occurs throughout Lake Malawi.

The Aquarium

They require an aquarium of at least 2 meters. Decorate the tank with hard plants such as Vallisneria and Anubias, lots of rocks so that caves are formed, and the bottom must consist of sand. Also, provide plenty of free swimming space. It is recommended to change the water regularly.


Temperature: 22-26 degrees.
pH: 7.5 – 8.5
GH: 12-16


Both live food and frozen food can be given as food, such as white mosquito larvae, brine shrimp, krill, shrimp and mussels. They will also eat vegetable food such as spirulina, varied with cichlid sticks, granulate and dry food. Make sure there is enough protein in the diet!

Breeding Nimbochromis livingstonii

The breeding of the Nimbochromis livingstonii is quite simple, about 100 eggs are deposited, fertilized and then taken into the mouth by the female. The female then hides among the rocks. After about 3 weeks the fry are released. For the first month they are intensively cared for and guarded by the female. In case of danger, they are taken back into the mouth.

The young of Nimbochromis livingstonii can be raised with brine shrimp nauplii, rearing food or crushed dry food.



Coby – Kevin

Copyright images

John de Lange
Henk Oskam
Pete Barnes

Last Updated on 2 October 2022 by John

Additional information






Social Behaviour

Breeding behaviour




Length minimum in cm


Length maximum in cm


Temperature minimum


Temperature maximum


pH minimum


pH maximum


GH minimum


GH maximum



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