Pseudotropheus socolofi (Powder Blue Cichlid)

Pseudotropheus socolofi

Pseudotropheus socolofi, also known as the powder blue cichlid, blue socolofi cichlid, blue pindani cichlid, or just blue cichlid, is one of many species of cichlids that you can choose to keep as a pet.

This particular species of fish originates from coastal waters of Lake Malawi, in Africa, where it tends to reside in rocky crevices and caves as well as sandy bottoms. However, it may also be found in smaller numbers in Lake Tanganyika and Lake Victoria.

The powder blue cichlid or just blue cichlid. It’s commonly found in Lake Tanganyika and Lake Malawi, but only lives within these bodies of water in these two countries, so it is considered endemic to both regions. They are species of freshwater fish in the Cichlidae family (Cichlids).

It was first described by Seehausen in 1962. It inhabits the southern region of Lake Malawi, and its natural habitat is rocky areas with lakeshore vegetation.

Pseudotropheus socolofi is one of the most beautiful fish found in Lake Tanganyika, with both its body and fins covered by a powder blue hue. However, its beauty isn’t the only thing that it has going for it; the fish is also extremely popular among hobbyists due to its relatively small size and strong coloration.

Origin and description

The Pseudotropheus socolofi is a small, colorful fish that originates from the Lake Malawi region. They are generally found in turbid water regions of the lake and primarily live in a community setting with other males, females, and juveniles. Pseudotropheus socolofi are characteristically known for their powder-blue coloration on their body and red fins.

The fish spends most of its time swimming around looking for food and avoiding predators. They mainly eat zooplankton, which it obtains by sucking them out of the water or by catching them with its mouth. They can also feed on insect larvae when they are young and plankton when they get older.

Cobalt Blue Zebra Cichlid (Maylandia callainos)

Species profile

Pseudotropheus socolofi

The powder blue cichlid, or Pseudotropheus socolofi, is one of the most popular African Cichlids among aquarists. This attractive species is native to Lake Malawi and its surroundings in East Africa.

It is generally a peaceful fish that has been known to eat snails and other invertebrates in their natural habitat. However, they are not always so peaceful in the confines of an aquarium and may become aggressive with other tank mates.

Common names

Pseudotropheus socolofi are sold under many names in the aquarium trade, some of which are blue pindani cichlid, powder blue cichlid, blue cichlid, blue socolofi cichlid, or just pindani cichlid.

Pseudotropheus socolofi habitat

The powder blue cichlid is native to Lake Malawi in Africa. This species has a wide range of habitats. They can live in habitats with an alkaline pH, or an acidic pH, but they prefer to live in water that is slightly acidic.

They can also live in habitats with both hard and soft substrates, but they prefer sand or mud as the substrate. The temperature at which the fish can thrive varies, but they are happiest when it ranges between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pseudotropheus socolofi size and weight

This fish can grow up to 4.6 inches (11.5 cm) in length. They are usually around 0.1 kg (3.5 oz) in weight.

Pseudotropheus socolofi tank size

A 50 gallon tank (189 liters) is a great size for a pseudotropheus socolofi, if you plan to keep it with other mbunas, bigger tanks, like 125 gallons (473 liters), will be needed.

Pseudotropheus socolofi tank mates

Tankmates for these are typically cichlids like Copadichromis, Aulonocara, and other quieter mbunas, such as Labidochromis caeruleus.

Keeping more than one male fish requires a large aquarium because they are territorial. There should be several females for each male.

Breeding Pseudotropheus socolofi

Pseudotropheus socolofi

Due to their maternal mouthbrooding nature, Pseudotropheus socolofi is not difficult to breed. In a harem of at least three females and one male, it should be spawned in a species tank, although it will sometimes spawn in a community aquarium. I recommend furnishing a 50 gallon aquarium as suggested above.

Labidochromis chisumulae (Clown Lab Cichlid)

For potential spawning sites, the powder blue cichlid male female substrate should also be equipped with flat stones and open areas. Ideally, the pH should be between 8.2 and 8.5 and the temperature should be between 77 and 80 degrees F. Provide a high-quality vegetable diet to the fish.

It is the male fish’s behavior to clean his spawning site and then display his intense colors, hoping to attract females to mate with him.

Powder blue cichlid males can be quite aggressive, which is why we spawn this species in harems to dissipate such aggression. Females will approach the spawning site willingly and lay their eggs there, taking the eggs with them immediately into their mouths as they move.

A socolofi cichlid female is attracted to the egg-shaped spots on the male’s anal. It is actually the male’s sperm that she collects in her mouth when she tries to add the egg-like shape to her brood. Therefore, the eggs are fertilized.

In most cases, females carry eggs for around 3 to 4 weeks before they are released as free swimming fry. Her distended mouth makes her easy to spot during this period of not eating.

When females are stressed, they may spit out or eat their brood prematurely. In order to prevent predation and harassment by male fish, you should take care when moving the fish. A female will also lose her position in the pecking order of the colony if she stays away from the colony too long.

A group of fish that have bred must be removed if you wish to raise their fry. When the fries are two weeks old, some breeders artificially separate them from their mothers’ mouths and raise them artificially from that point forward. As a result, fry are usually produced in greater numbers.

As soon as they are born, brine shrimp larvae, microworms, and powdered dried food are available for the fry to eat.

African Bumblebee Cichlid (Metriaclima crabro)

Are they aggressive or peaceful?

Although Pseudotropheus socolofi is a peaceful fish, it will not do best in a community tank with other large or aggressive species.

Pseudotropheus socolofi care information

Pseudotropheus socolofi

The pseudotropheus socolofi, also known as the powder blue cichlid, is a freshwater fish from Africa. They are usually found in lakes and streams and prefer some plants to swim among. Their care requirements are moderate, but they can be sensitive to water quality issues.

What they eat

Powder blue cichlids are omnivorous, meaning they eat both plants and animals. They will eat some types of algae, as well as small invertebrates like worms, snails, and shrimp. In captivity, they can also be fed dry foods like flake food or pellets.

Tank requirements

The water for these fish should be at a temperature between 74 and 79 degrees Fahrenheit. They prefer a pH of 8.0 to 8.4, with a specific gravity of 1.020 to 1.024. It is important that they have plenty of caves in the tank so they can hide when they feel threatened.

The substrate should also have some rocks in it to provide them with hiding spots. In addition, they will do well if you put live plants in the tank because this provides more oxygen to their habitat.

This type of fish will thrive at a salt level of 0.3% to 0.5%. They need good filtration system that helps maintain their water quality by removing waste from their environment and removing heavy metals from the water as well as providing lots of aeration.


The average lifespan for a pseudotropheus socolofi is 5 to 7 years. In captivity, they can live up to 8 years.

Parasites and diseases

The powder blue cichlid is susceptible to a number of diseases and parasites, including Cryptocaryon irritans and Oodinium. Other conditions that have been observed in this species are anchor worms, head and lateral line erosion, bacterial fin rot, mouth fungus, and various skin diseases.

Auratus Cichlid Care (Melanochromis auratus)

Predators (What animals prey on them)

Predators of Pseudotropheus socolofi include other larger predatory fish such as Pirahnas, tigerfish, Perch, and birds such as kingfisher. These predators attack adults, juveniles, and eggs of the powder blue cichlids.

Do they make good pets?

Yes. Pseudotropheus socolofi, also known as the powder blue cichlid, are easy to care for and make a great addition to the right fish tank. Their personality traits vary depending on their surroundings, but they generally get along well with others of their species.

They can be aggressive at times and will eat other fish if they feel threatened. If they are given enough room and not too much competition, they will breed fairly easily.