**Maximum Size:** Chilotilapia rhoadesii can grow up to approximately 7 inches (18 cm) in length.
**Tank Size:** Provide a tank of at least 55 gallons (208 liters) for a small group of 4-6 individuals.
– Use fine sand as substrate to mimic their natural habitat.
– Include rocky formations to create caves and territories for hiding and spawning.
– Temperature: 74°F to 80°F (23°C to 27°C).
– pH Level: Slightly alkaline to neutral, ideally between 7.6 to 8.6.
– Water Hardness: Moderately hard to hard water, between 10 to 20 dH.
**Filtration:** Utilize a good quality filter to maintain water quality and prevent waste buildup.
– C. rhoadesii is primarily herbivorous, feeding on algae and plant matter in the wild.
– Provide a balanced diet of high-quality cichlid pellets or flakes with vegetable matter as a significant component.
– Supplement their diet with occasional live or frozen foods like brine shrimp, spirulina, or other algae-based foods.
– C. rhoadesii can be territorial and aggressive, especially during breeding.
– Suitable tankmates include other peaceful Malawi herbivores or Mbuna species with similar temperaments.
– Avoid keeping them with overly aggressive or fin-nipping fish.
**Behavior and Social Structure:**
– Maintain a small group of 4 or more individuals to disperse aggression and reduce stress on single fish.
– Males may display vibrant colors during courtship and breeding.
**Health and Disease:**
– Regularly observe their behavior and appetite to spot any signs of illness.
– Quarantine new fish before adding them to the main tank to prevent disease transmission.
– Provide a varied diet with plant matter to support their digestive health.
– Breeding can occur under the right conditions.
– Provide rocky caves or flat surfaces for egg-laying and protection.
– Maintain stable water conditions to encourage breeding behavior.
By creating a suitable environment with enough hiding spaces and offering a balanced diet, Chilotilapia rhoadesii will thrive and showcase their vibrant colors and interesting behaviors, making them a delightful addition to your Malawi cichlid community aquarium. As they can reach up to approximately 7 inches (18 cm) in length, it’s crucial to provide ample space to accommodate their growth and ensure their well-being.