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African Lionhead Cichlid Care
A Peaceful Fish for the Freshwater Aquarium

The most notable feature of the Lionhead Cichlid is its overly enlarged head, which resembles the head of a lion.

The natural habitat of the Lionhead Cichlid is in Pool Malebo and the Zaire River (also known as the Congo River) in Africa. The scientific name for this fish is Steatocranus casuarius. Other common names are AfricanBlockhead, Buffalohead, Humphead or Lumphead.
Traits of the Lionhead Cichlid

The huge humped forehead of the Lionhead Cichlid is its most distinctive feature. It is not a large fish and reaches no more than five inches at adulthood so a large aquarium is not required. Due to its size, the Lionhead can be kept in an aquarium with dwarf cichlids but not with fish that are bottom dwellers. This is providing all fish can tolerate the same water conditions. Suggested fish for tank mates are the Peacock Cichlid, Frontosa Cichlid, and Blue Dolphin Cichlid.

The Lionhead may become aggressive when spawning and may have problems getting along with members of its own species. Once this fish finds a spawning partner, it chooses one mate for life.

Because the Lionhead does not have a well-developed bladder, it doesn’t swim the same as other fish. It sits on the bottom of the tank, using its lower fins for support. Then it uses a hopping movement to get from one place to another. In its natural habitat, the Lionhead lives in fast-moving waters so it never had the need to do very much swimming.
Aquarium Conditions for the Lionhead Cichlid

The aquarium should be well-filtered and bi-weekly water changes of 30% to 40% are required in order to remove waste material.

* Water temperature should be between 75 to 83 degrees Fahrenheit.
* The pH value is high and should be kept 7.4 to 8.5.
* The water should be hard, so the DH reading should range from 18 to 20.

The Lionhead Cichlid is a cave dweller so the aquarium should be equipped with rockery stacked with gaps in order to make caves. The caves provide hiding places and areas to spawn. Driftwood also creates shelter and adds interest to the aquarium.

Plants can be added as long as they are sturdy and potted. The Lionhead will not disturb plants, though other cichlids are not always kind to aquarium greenery.

The Lionhead is not a fussy eater and will eat flake, pellets or freeze-dried foods. As a treat, it can be fed brine shrimp, tubifex worms and pieces of lettuce.

Due to its unusual swimming style of hopping-like motions and its large cranial hump, the Lionhead is a popular cichlid in the aquarium trade.

The copyright of the article African Lionhead Cichlid Care in Freshwater Fish is owned by Douglas DuHamel. Permission to republish African Lionhead Cichlid Care in print or online must be granted by the author in writing.
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