Kenyi Cichlid (Maylandia lombardoi)

Kenyi cichlid

An aggressive cichlid, the kenyi cichlid, also known as Maylandia lombardoi, Kennyi Cichlid, or the Golden Zebra Cichlid, is not recommended as a first-time pet fish. It grows quickly and should be kept in large aquariums with plenty of plants, rocks, caves, and other hiding places to reduce stress and prevent fin-nipping behavior towards tank mates.

The kenyi cichlid prefers soft, slightly acidic water conditions with low nitrate levels and high oxygen content, so be sure to use an air stone in your tank and provide plenty of circulation throughout the tank by maintaining strong filtration systems.

Maylandia lombardoi, has a beautiful color and interesting behavior that makes it an appealing option. It’s safe to say that the kenyi cichlid or maylandia lombardoi (depending on which name you prefer) is one of the most striking freshwater fish in the hobby. The vivid stripes and blazing orange color are easy to spot, and it’s no wonder they’re so popular in aquariums!

Maylandia lombardoi are aggressive, freshwater fish that are native to Lake Malawi in Africa. These tropical fish are not only beautiful and unique-looking, but also have interesting personalities and fun behavioral traits.

Some of the most common questions about kenyi cichlids include what their care requirements are, how to breed them, whether or not they’re compatible with other species of fish, and more.

Origin and description

The Kenyi cichlid is endemic to Lake Malawi, Africa. This fish has a large head, but its body is small and compressed. The Kenyi cichlid is a freshwater fish that’s native to the Lake of Africa. It is also known as the Maylandia cichlid or maylandia lombardoi, and was named after Dr. Francisco J. Lombardo who first discovered it in 1971. He found them along with many other types of fish during his explorations on Mount Mbololo at around 1,650 meters altitude.

Flavescent Peacock Cichlid (Aulonocara stuartgranti)

They’re sometimes referred to as Kenny by local people, which might be why they’re often called kenyi cichlids.

Species profile

Kenyi cichlid

The Kenyi cichlid is a species of freshwater fish from Africa that live in small streams and rivers. They are usually found close to the shoreline, with juveniles living in the shallows and adults typically living further out. Their most striking physical characteristic is their mouth, they are primarily carnivorous, feeding on crustaceans, worms, snails, and other aquatic invertebrates but will also eat smaller fishes.

This species exhibits a high degree of sexual dimorphism, with females and juvenile males having pale white-blue bodies and vertical blue-black bands which extend to the dorsal fin. There is a faint brown bar across the middle of the body on the adult males; on the anal fins, there are yellow spots that indicate egg spots on the fins.

Kenyi cichlid male

Dorsal fin spots and yellowish brown color distinguish male Kennyi cichlids from females.

Female kenyi cichlid

A female Kenyi cichlid is blue with black stripes. The stripes tend to fade away over time.

Scientific name

The scientific name of the Kenyi cichlid is Maylandia lombardoi. However, it has additional scientific names such as Metriaclima lombardoi, Pseudotropheus liliancinius, or Pseudotropheus lombardoi.

Common names

There are a variety of common names for this species in the aquarium hobby, including kenyi mbuna, lombardoi mbuna, kenyi cichlid, or kennyi mbuna. Some researchers oppose Maylandia as a valid genus, so this species is sometimes placed in the Metriaclima genus.


The Kenyi cichlid is an endemic species of Lake Malawi in East Africa. Mbenji Island and the Nkhomo reef were the only two locations in which they were historically found. Namalenje Island has become its stable habitat as a result of its introduction in recent years

Kenyi cichlid size and weight

The Kenyi cichlid is a small fish and reaches about 5.1 inches (13 cm) in length. Kenyi cichlid male tend to be smaller than females and are known to be more aggressive. Their average weight is around 0.1 kg (3.5 oz).

Labidochromis freibergi (Freibergi Cichlid)

Kenyi cichlid tank size

A 50 gallon aquarium (189 liters) is a good size for this species and the minimum recommended. It’s important to provide plenty of room for the kenyi cichlid to swim and hunt.

A tight tank will make the kenyi feel threatened, so a spacious environment is necessary. Provide plenty of hiding places with rocks and plants as well as some open spaces to swim.

Kenyi Cichlid tank mates

A kennyi african cichlid is a territorial fish and will not typically do well with other fish in its tank. Some good Kenyi Cichlid tank mates, which can be included in its tank, are other types of similar-sized Malawi Cichlids such as Cichlid Auratus, Yellow Lab, Red Zebra Cichlid, Snow white, Demasoni Cichlid, Zebra Obliquidens, and Blue Socolofi Cichlid.

Kenyi Cichlid breeding

Kenyi cichlid

You don’t have to be a professional to breed Kenyi Cichlids. When they’re in an aquarium, it can be tricky to get them to pair up. The female kenyi cichlid, however, will lay and collect her eggs once they get paired up. A Kenyi cichlid is a mouth brooder, which means the female collects her eggs and fertilizes them with sperm in her mouth with sperm from the kenyi cichlid male.

Juvenile kenyi african cichlid appears in the mouths of female Kenyi Cichlids after approximately three weeks.

The fry would be in danger in a home aquarium if they were around adult fish, so they should be removed from the holding female first & raised separately in a grow-out tank until they are kenyi cichlid full grown and big enough to handle an adult tank.

Are they aggressive or peaceful?

A large aquarium is necessary for the Kenyi cichlid to establish a territory because they are notoriously aggressive fish. Their tank should have numerous caves and overhangs, as well as flat areas for them to graze on algae.

Kenyi cichlid care information

Kenyi cichlid

Like most cichlids, the Kenyi cichlid is a freshwater fish that prefers a pH level of 7.5 to 8.5 but can survive with a pH as low as 6.0. These fish need at least 50 gallons per kenyi and should not be kept with other cichlids or other large aggressive fish. They need plenty of hiding places, live plants, driftwood, caves etc.

Elongate Mbuna (Pseudotropheus elongatus)

What they eat

The Kenyi cichlid is omnivorous, meaning that it eats both plants and animals. The Kenyi cichlid will eat fish, insects, and plant matter. They are opportunistic feeders and will often pick at whatever food source is easiest for them to get at the time.

Kennyi Cichlids can also be fed readily available foods, such as pellets, flakes, algae wafers, and vegetables like lettuce, cucumber, and zucchini. In order to feed fish properly, spirulina should be the main ingredient in their diets.

Tank requirements

To keep a kennyi cichlid happy and healthy, the tank should be at least 50 gallons. The water should be soft and acidic, with a pH of 6.5 to 7.5. The water temperature should be kept around 25 degrees Celsius. They prefer plants that grow in the water column, as well as caves or rocks for shelter near the bottom of the tank. Lastly, they need live food such as red worms or crickets to eat.


The lifespan of the kennyi cichlid is typically 8 to 10 years. Females generally live longer than males.

Parasites and diseases

Common diseases are fin rot, ich, and velvet. Fin rot can be caused by a bacterial infection or poor water quality. Velvet has been known to kill large numbers of Kenyi cichlids within a short time period, with some cases reaching as high as 50%.

Symptoms include clamped fins, pale skin coloration, inability to move, and loss of appetite. Treatment for this disease is unavailable but it is recommended that the infected tank mates be removed and then treated before adding them back in with the others.

The best way to prevent the spread of this disease is good tank maintenance with frequent water changes, a good diet, and quarantine procedures when adding new fish into your tank.

Predators (What animals prey on them)

This species is preyed upon by larger cichlids, piranha, and predatory catfish. They are also preyed upon by terrapins, turtles, and birds.

20 Popular Mbuna Cichlids Types You Should Know

Do they make good pets?

Yes. The Kennyi cichlid is a beautiful fish that makes for a great addition to any hobbyist’s tank. It is important to remember that the Kenyi cichlid, like many other fish, can’t live in water that does not match its pH level.

When purchasing this fish, it is important to make sure you know the hardness and pH of your tap water before adding it to your tank. These are some of the main things you should know about the Kenyi cichlid!