Protomelas Red Empress

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Protomelas Red Empress

Scientific name: Protomelas Red Empress

Common name: Red Epmpress

Family: Cichlidae

Usual size in fish tanks: 12 - 14 cm (4.72 - 5.51 inch)


Recommended pH range for the species: 7.5 - 8.5

Recommended water hardness (dGH): 10 - 18°N (178.57 - 321.43ppm)

0°C 32°F30°C 86°F

Recommended temperature: 22 - 26 °C (71.6 - 78.8°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: peaceful

Usual place in the tank: Middle levels

Food and feeding

Although Protomelas  is classed as a carnivore, it will accept cichlid pellets and the addition of some spirulina will be beneficial. Its main diet should consist of live or frozen foods, chopped earthworms and blood worms.


African Protomelas  is endemic to Lake Malawi.


Males will display more colouration than the females. The females tend to have a grayish silver colour to their bodies.


These fish are mouth brooders. The female will spawn and the eggs will be fertilized quickly by the male. The female will then scoop up the eggs for incubation. Normally the hatched fry will be released after 3 weeks but during the brooding period, the female may hide and not eat. When the fry have been released, they can be fed on newly hatched brine shrimp.


The expected life span for Protomelas is 15 years.

Short description

In the wild, these fish will blow at the substrate in their search for food. As with all Malawi species, plenty of rock work should be added to the tank.