Malawi Eye-biter

Dimidiochromis compressiceps / Malawi Eyebiter

Difficulty: Intermediate

The Malawi Eyebiter is not a Peacock, Mbuna or Hap and it is in a family of it’s own. This predatory fish is somewhat similar to Haps in aspects regarding appearance, size and behaviour however they are not to be confused. They grow large up to 25cm/10inches in length and have a elongated head and body like some of the Hap species and display beautiful electric colours with blue being the most prominent, this fish also has bright red fin tips making it an amazing specimen to a suitable tank because of it’s colour and unique body shape. They require clean water and a tank large enough to provide hideouts as well open swimming areas for a large fish such as this.

The species’ name comes from them reportedly biting out the eyes of their tank mates and prey but such behaviour will probably not be observed in aquaria because they will be well fed and kept with tank mates that are not usually on the menu. Ideal tank mates are other large African cichlids like peacocks with different colours than the Eyebiter and Haps that are also different in colour. Avoid keeping Mbuna with this fish. The Eyebiter is suitable for intermediate and advanced aquarists who have previous experience with African Cichlids as they require a large space, carefully selected tank mates and a strict maintenance schedule. Unlike other African cichlids whereby it’s not necessary to have plants, this fish will appreciate a planted set up with rocks and open swimming spaces so as to replicate their habitat in the wild.

If keeping this fish in a species only tank the only way to be successful is to keep a ratio of 1 male to multiple females which will mean the male will not be able to constantly harass a single female. Keeping males of this species together is out of the question as they will attack and kill any rival males of the same species. To keep with other larger African cichlids consider a tank size of at least 500Liters.

Size: 25cm/10inches // Temperature: 22C’-30C’ // Water Hardness: 6-10dGH

PH: 7.7-8.5 // Aquarium Size: 100Gallons (455L) for a group of Eyebiters, (500L) if keeping with other African cichlids.

Difficulty: Intermediate