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Blue Ahli

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Blue Ahli (Sciaenochromis ahli)

Photo of: Blue Ahli (Sciaenochromis ahli)

Scientific Name(s): Sciaenochromis ahli, Cyrtocara ahli, Haplochromis ahli, Haplochromis jacksoni


Common Name(s): Blue Ahli, Blue Hap, Electric Blue Ahli


Family: Cichlidae


Species Type: African Cichlids, Lake Malawi


Maximum Size: 7 inches


Life Span: 11 years


Natural Habitat: East African Lake Malawi


Minimum Tank Size: 120 gallons


Tank Region: Bottom, middle


Possible Tank Mates: Other Haplochromis cichlids or peacock cichlids.


Physical Description: Blue Ahli (Sometimes called Blue Haps or Electric Blue Ahli) are a popular aquarium fish. They originate from the African Lake Malawi and are one of the varieties of Haplochromis cichlids. This species starts life as a no-so-colorful gray fish. The females retain this gray color throughout their lives, but the male develop a striking blue coloration. They are a large, fast swimming fish, so a 6 foot long tank is ideal for them.


Advice for Keeping this Species: Like most cichlids from Lake Malawi, the Blue Ahli is quite territorial and aggressive. They should be kept in groups with one male to 3-5 females. Blue Ahli do not tend to get along well with the mbuna type African Cichlids that share Lake Malawi with them so it is best to put them with other Haplochromis type cichlids. Peacocks also make great tank mates for this species.


Temperature Range: 74°F - 80°F



pH Range: 7.6 - 8.5

pH 5.0
pH 6.0
pH 7.0
pH 8.0
pH 9.0


Hardness Range: 10° - 20°



Breeding Information: The Blue Ahli is a mouth brooder. The female will lay the eggs to be fertilized by the male. Once fertilization has occurred, the female will take the eggs into her mouth for a period of about 2 weeks. Females should be seperated once they are mouth brooding to prevent them from being picked on by other fish during this somewhat defensless time. The mothers are good parents and can be left with the fry after the eggs hatch.


Sexing Information: Males are easy to sex past juvenile stage because males are bright blue and females remain grey.


Diet: Live; crustaceans, small fish, aquatic insects, insect larvae; tablets; pellets.


Temperament: Very aggressive and territorial


Common Diseases: Very sensitive to water pollutants


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African Cichlids, Lake Malawi


Keith Pardee

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