Cobolt Blue Zebra

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Blue cobalt cichlid - Maylandia callainos

Scientific name: Maylandia callainos

Common name: Blue cobalt cichlid

Family: Cichlidae

Usual size in fish tanks: 6 - 8 cm (2.36 - 3.15 inch)


Recommended pH range for the species: 7 - 8.4

Recommended water hardness (dGH): 10 - 26°N (178.57 - 464.29ppm)

0°C 32°F30°C 86°F

Recommended temperature: 23 - 25 °C (73.4 - 77°F)

The way how these fish reproduce: Spawning

Where the species comes from: Africa

Temperament to its own species: peaceful

Temperament toward other fish species: aggressive/territorial

Usual place in the tank: Middle levels


Africa; Blue cobalt cichlids are endemic to Lake Malawi. They inhabit the rocky areas using the crevices for hiding places and potential spawning sites.


The expected life span for Maylandia callainos is 5 years.

Short description

Maylandia callainos are on of the more peaceful species of Malawi cichlids but plenty of rock work should still be added to the tank to provide hiding places. They will display signs of aggression at times, this is heightened when the males are in spawning mode so to help out with this make sure that the aquarium has a large enough colony to disperse the aggression and always house several females compared to the number of males. If plenty of hiding places are added via the rock work then this will give the chance for the females to hide away and escape the attention of the males when they need to. Use sand for the substrate and make sure that the water is well oxygenated. Careful positioning of the outlet pipes from the filtration system will aid this.

Food and feeding

Blue cobalt cichlids require a diet high in vegetable content, use quality flake and pellets for the staple diet, the addition of spirulina flake will also benefit these fish. For treats, the addition of brine shrimp and blood worms to the tank will also benefit them.


Females may be slightly duller than the males with their body colouration, this can sometimes be difficult to see. Males may also display egg spots on their anal fins but females may also at times so this cannot be a guaranteed way of sexing the fish.


It is best to house at least one male with three females to spread out the aggression. The female will lay her eggs on a flat rock and then scoop them into her mouth. She will then follow the male until he releases the sperm for fertilisation. The eggs spots are displayed by the male to fool the female into thinking that she is gathering more eggs, this is when the male releases the sperm and fertilisation will be completed. When brooding the eggs, the female may hide away a lot and she will not eat, care should be taken not to stress the female as she could spit out the eggs and consume them before they are due to be released. The mouth brooding will last for 3 weeks before the fry are released, they can then be fed on newly hatched brine shrimp. To gain a higher success rate it may be wise to move the fry into a growing on tank before adding them back to the colony when they are large enough not to be seen as food by the adult fish.