Care Level: Easy
Live Plant Safe: With Caution
General Description: Compressiceps are endemic to rocky rubble areas of Lake Tanganyika in Africa, but there are as many as 12 type-localities common in the aquarium trade that possess differences in appearance and patterning. This listing is for what we consider a standard Compressiceps cichlid, that is overall brown-yellow in color with many dark bands. Compressiceps are recognized for their very unique body shape among other cichlid fishes. They are best kept as a male-female pair, though most specimens are sold at a young age where distinguishing sex is near impossible. This species is a substrate spawner, which can be difficult to achieve in the home aquarium. An adult Compressiceps will grow to approximately 5″, with females averaging slightly smaller than males. This is an extremely slow growing species.
Diet Requirements: Compressiceps are a specialized carnivore. Their mouthparts elongate in order to fit between rock crevices and cracks to extract small invertebrate and fish prey. A diet made up of various high quality protein based foods are ideal. Such options include frozen brine shrimp, blood worms, and chopped prawns. Tubifex worms and earthworms are also a favorite. Compressiceps may accept sinking pellet foods and flake foods as a staple, but these should not make up the majority of their diet. Variety is the spice of life in order to maintain color, immune function and longevity of your fish. We discourage feeding any live fish because they are often of little nutritional value and increase the risk of introducing disease.
Care Requirements: An established minimum 55 gallon aquarium is ideal for a Compressiceps. This cichlid cannot be put into a biologically immature aquarium. Weekly water changes are encouraged to keep water parameters pristine (Nitrates < 15 ppm) as Compressiceps do not like high nitrates and deteriorating water parameters. The aquarium should have a finer substrate, driftwood and rocks for this cichlid to feel at home. Stacked rocks to create many hiding spaces and caves can encourage spawning and more outgoing behavior. African cichlid specific substrates, or even marine Aragonite substrate, are great choices because they will buffer the pH and alkalinity to levels characteristic of Lake Tanganyika that is needed for this species to thrive and spawn, if desired. Common tank mates for Compressiceps include Altolamprologus, Julidochromis, Neolamprologus, and other dwarf African cichlids from Malawi [note potential different water chemistry preferences, however; namely pH]. Compressiceps are not particularly territorial or aggressive, making them somewhat diverse in compatability for a cichlid. Avoid small fish that could be eaten. Recommended water conditions, 72-82° F, KH 10-20, pH 7.5-9.0.
Purchase Size: Small: 1”
Note: Your item may not look identical to the image provided due to variation within species. Purchase sizes are approximate.