How Big Do Mbuna Cichlids Get? | Aquascape Addiction

How Big Do Mbuna Cichlids Get?

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Questions around Mbuna Cichlids size and ideal tank conditions? this post has the answers to help you look after and maximize the growth of your Cichlids the right way.

How Big Do Mbuna Cichlids Get?

When it comes to fish that originate in Africa, one of the most interesting ones is the Mbuna Cichlid. There are literally dozens, maybe even hundreds of Cichlid fish out there and that is a fact. This family of fish is very widespread and diverse no doubt. One of the most popular kinds of Cichlids out there is the Mbuna Cichlid. What is interesting here is that there are also dozens of different kinds of Mbuna Cichlids out there.

Mbuna, in the native tongue, actually translates to “rock fish”. No, this is not because they look like rocks, but because they often like to dwell and spend most of their time under and within rock formations.

So, when we are talking about the size of Mbuna Cichlids, we are talking about a rough size here. Although most of them grow to roughly the same size, there are some differences between the different types.

How Big Do They Get?

Generally speaking, in the wild, Mbuna Cichlids will grow to between 3 and 4 inches in length, or between 7.5 to 10 centimeters. Yes, there are some smaller ones that are classified as dwarf Mbuna Cichlids, which can be as small as 2 inches, and there are others which can grow to 5 inches, although this is rare.

However, in a home aquarium, due to having access to lots of food, Mbuna Cichlids can grow to 6 inches or 12 cm in length, with some variation depending on the exact type of Mbuna Cichlid in question.

Helping Your Mbuna Cichlid Reach Its Full Size Potential

In order to help your Mbuna Cichlid reach its full size, there are a few things that you can and should be doing.

The Right Tank Size

A community of Mbuna Cichlids, which is about 6 to 8 of them, require at least a 75 gallon tank, but larger is better. Fish are known to somewhat grow to the size of the tank, so having a larger tank will allow them to grow larger. For 8 Mbuna Cichlids to each reach 6 inches in length, a 120 gallon aquarium is best.

Water Conditions

To help Mbuna Cichlids reach their full size, you should also be creating ideal water conditions. For one, this means having super clean water that is free of toxins like ammonia, nitrates, and other substances.

In other words, you should have a good filtration unit that engages in all 3 major types of filtration. In terms of water parameters, you will probably need a heater as the water should be around 80 degrees Fahrenheit, with a pH level of 7.9.

Right Food Is Is Important

The other thing that you need to do in order to help your Mbuna Cichlids get big and strong is to feed them the right foods. These guys are herbivores, so an algae based diet with lots of plant life is best.


The bottom line is that if you get a big tank, feed them the right foods, and keep the water at the conditions mentioned above, you should have no problems getting your Mbuna Cichlids to a full 6 inches in length.