Pseudotropheus lombardoi

Common Name: Kennyi, 'Golden Zebra'

Synonyms: Pseudotropheus kennyi, Pseudotropheus lilancinius

Family: Cichlidae

Meaning of Name: Pseudo = false, Tropheus is a genus from Lake Tanganyika. Lombardoi refers to importer John Lombardo.

Kennyis are found in Lake Malawi. They are found in only two locales; Mbenji Island and N'Khomo Reef. They are found where the rocks meet the sand at depths of 6-82 feet. But are mostly found under 33 feet.

This fish is unusual in that the males will turn yellow and the females will stay blue. Most mbuna are the other way if they have different colours for the sexes. Females are a blue fish with 6 dark vertical stripes. Males grow up to 4" in the wild and 6" (or more) in an aquarium. Females grow slightly smaller. Males are yellow. Sometimes you can see their stripes and sometimes you can't (mood dependant / dominance dependant). Generally males will start to change colours at 1½ to 2". They also have an egg spot. They are mouthbrooders. Some females can also lose their blue colouration and change to a biege-yellow colour (age related)

The pH for this fish should be 7.5-8.5 with a temperature of 75-82F. They need a large tank as they get quite large. Males fight amongst each other. These males sometimes become what is called hyperdominant or hyperactive in which the male tries to completely rule the tank to the detriment of all the others. He will try to spawn with all ripe females regardless of their species and will chase all the other fish.

In nature these fish eat the algae that grows on the rocks. In an aquarium these fish will eat everything including frozen, flake and live food. They should be fed a large amount of vegetable type food (spirulina, etc.).

I originally bought four F1 fish from a pet store in London. I bought one yellow and three blue fish in hopes of getting more females. They were put into a 20 gallon tank to grow out. When they reached 2" they were placed into a 55 gallon tank. At this time two of the fish had turned yellow. When they reached 3" they were put into my 90 gallon tank. Within days three of the fish were yellow and 1 was a muddy brown colour. The brown one went all over the tank and the 3 yellow fish made territories dividing the tank into 3 parts. By the time they were 3½" long they were doing some fighting amongst themselves. I hoped the yellow-brown fish was female because the biggest male would display to it and not chase it. They began harassing my other fish so I sold 2 of the confirmed males to a pet store. The yellow-brown fish never seemed to gain weight but it kept on growing. When it reached almost 4" I finally seen it gain some weight and a breeding tube descend. Sure enough it was a girl and held the eggs for 18 days. On the 18th day I stripped her because I had no spare tank for her to release in. She went back into the main tank. She seemed very freaked out by the process. I only got 10 fry from her. The next day I went down to feed the fish and she had been very badly beaten up (I assume by the male). I captured her and put her in a container in the main tank. By the time I got home for lunch she was dead!

The fry came out looking like their mother. You could even see the stripes right away. A few days later they got their bright blue colour. I have not lost any of the fry. They are in a 10 gallon tank right now.

I like this fish for its looks but I cannot stand its temperament. I found it to be very mean in turns. It behaved itself for awhile and then would become mean for several weeks and then behave itself again; even after the female had died so I can't blame the behaviour on a breeding cycle. It is supposed to be easy to breed but it wasn't for me.

© Copyright 1999- 2003 Lisa Boorman
All Rights Reserved

Suggested Reading:

Malawi Cichlids in their natural habitat - 2nd edition Ad Konings

Fishkeepers Guide to African Cichlids by Paul Loiselle

The Cichlid Aquarium by Dr. Paul Loiselle

Success with Cichlids from Lake Malawi & Tanganyika by Sabine Melke, U. Erich Friese

Baensch Aquarium Atlas vol. 2 by Dr. Rüdiger Riehl & Hans A. Baensch

Guide to Malawi Cichlids (Back to Nature) by Ad Konings

Enjoying Cichlids by Ad Konings (editor)

Offshore Cichlids of Lake Malawi by George F. Turner

To see more references on cichlids:

Cichlid Book List

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