Tim's Tropical Fish






Lemon Yellow Lab

Malawi Cichlids

Lemon Yellow Lab Labidochromis caeruleus

The Electric Yellow Lab originates from rocky areas of Lake Malawi in Africa.  It is an “mbuna” or rockfish.  It is also called a Lab, Yellow Lab, Electric Yellow Labido, Electric Yellow Labidochromis, Yellow Labidochromis, Lemon Yellow and a Blue Streak Hap.  The scientific name “caeruleus” means blue and refers to the fact that the black streak along the top of the dorsal fin turns blue on males during breeding.  Most Labidochromis caeruleus are yellow, however some specimens are white or light blue.  The dorsal fins are black and there is black coloring in the dorsal and ventral fins.

Electric Yellows are not as aggressive as other African Cichlids, which makes them a good starter cichlid.  Males will fight though, so a grouping with more females than males is recommended.  They will sometimes school in tight groups.  They will do well in an mbuna tank with lots of rocks, caves and hiding places.  They are not as aggressive as Auratus and Johannis, though.  They need very clear water, so extra filtration is recommended.  Although some recommend using underground filters, external filters and bio-wheels simultaneously to maintain quality, my experience is that underground filters are not suitable for mbunas.

Electric Yellow Lab Labidochromis caeruleus

Labs built nests  by picking up rocks in their mouth and moving them, so underground filters are quickly exposed in an mbuna tank.  These fish are fast swimmers and are a challenge to catch in a net.  Algae and spirulina flakes are an important staple for mbunas, but less so for the Electric Yellow.  They will also eat flake foods, cichlid pellets, freeze-dried bloodworms and small fish. They should not be fed live worms or live brine shrimp, as these can bloat and kill the fish, although the Electric Yellow is less susceptible to this than other mbunas.

Electric Yellows are not difficult to breed.  Water should be changed and the level dropped.  Males are larger, brighter colored and have more black on the fins.  Males exhibit more aggressive behavior when ready to breed.  They do not show egg spots, unlike most mbunas.  It is best to breed one male with several females.  Electric Yellows are mouth brooders.  The female cares for 10 – 25 eggs in her mouth.  She also keeps the fry in her mouth for up to 3 weeks.  The female should be isolated after breeding.  The fry can be fed brine shrimp.

Scientific Name: Labidochromis caeruleus
Family: Cichlid
Temperature: 22 - 28 C; 72 - 83 F
pH: 7.5 - 8.5
Size: 10 cm; 4 inches
Life Span: 10 years
Breeding: Normal, Egg Layer, Mouthbrooder


Mbuna Cichlids such as the AuratusCobalt Blue, Johanni, Pindani, Red Zebra, Tropheops, and Kenyi.  Also synodontis catfish.  Too aggressive for Haplochromis and Peacock Cichlids.

Other fairly aggressive unrelated species such as New World cichlids and barbs, may be ignored.