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Electric Blue Hap (Sciaenochromis ahli)

Welcome to the fascinating world of the Electric Blue Hap, a stunning freshwater fish that is a jewel in the aquarium hobby. This article provides an in-depth look at everything you need to know about the Electric Blue Hap Cichlid, from its distinct profile to its breeding habits and dietary needs.

Electric Blue Hap Facts

Scientific Name Sciaenochromis ahli
Common Names Electric Blue Hap, Blue Ahli, Electric Blue Ahli, Ahli Cichlid, Blue Ahli Cichlid, Electric Blue Hap Cichlid
Origin Lake Malawi, Africa
Adult Size 6-8 inches (15-20 cm)
Life Expectancy 6-10 years
Coloration Vibrant blue, more intense in males
Temperament Aggressive, particularly during breeding
Diet Carnivorous, prefers protein-rich foods
Aquarium Size Minimum 55 gallons
Water Conditions Temperature 76°F – 82°F (24°C – 28°C), pH 7.8 – 8.6
Breeding Maternal mouthbrooder
Compatibility Best with similar-sized African cichlids; avoid smaller, more docile species

Electric Blue Hap Profile

The Blue Ahli, scientifically known as Sciaenochromis ahli, is a popular African cichlid native to Lake Malawi. Renowned for its vibrant blue coloring, this species grows to an average size of 6-8 inches in length. Known for their active and aggressive nature, these fish are a favorite among cichlid enthusiasts. Their life expectancy ranges from 6 to 10 years, depending on the quality of care provided.

Electric Blue Hap Coloring

The Electric Blue Hap’s most striking feature is its intense blue coloration, which can range from a light sky blue to a deep royal blue. This coloration is more prominent in males, while females and juveniles tend to have a more subdued hue. The male’s color becomes even more vibrant during breeding season, making them a spectacular sight in any aquarium.

Blue Ahli Habitat

The Ahli Electric Blue, native to Africa’s Lake Malawi, thrives in the rocky, deep waters of the lake. This environment, characterized by clear, alkaline water with temperatures ranging from 76°F to 82°F, provides ample space and structure for these cichlids to exhibit their natural behaviors, such as territory establishment and breeding.

Electric Blue Hap Aquarium Setup

Setting up the right environment is crucial for the health of Electric Blue Hap Cichlids.  The aquarium should have plenty of open swimming spaces along with rock formations and caves to provide hiding spots.

  • Tank Size and Water Conditions

An appropriately sized tank is crucial for the well-being of Electric Blue Haps. A minimum of 55 gallons is recommended for a single fish, with larger tanks needed for groups. These fish thrive in water temperatures between 76°F and 82°F and prefer a pH range of 7.8 to 8.6. Consistent water quality is vital, necessitating the use of a high-quality filter and regular water changes.

  • Landscape and Decoration

The aquarium should simulate the natural rocky environment of Lake Malawi. Use rocks and caves to create hiding spots and territories for the fish. This not only provides security but also helps in reducing aggression among tank mates. Substrate choice can vary, but sand or fine gravel closely mimics their natural habitat. Plants are not essential but can be included; however, sturdy species are recommended as Ahli Cichlid may uproot delicate plants.

  • Filtration and Maintenance

Efficient filtration is key to maintaining water quality. Canister or external filters are ideal for managing the waste produced by these fish. Regular maintenance, including weekly water testing and changes, is necessary to keep nitrate and ammonia levels in check. A consistent maintenance routine ensures a healthy environment for the Electric Blue Hap and its tank mates.

Electric Blue Ahli Breeding

Breeding Electric Blue Ahli Cichlids can be a rewarding experience. They are maternal mouthbrooders, meaning the female carries the fertilized eggs in her mouth until they hatch. Breeding usually occurs in a separate breeding tank.

Breeding Environment

The breeding environment for the Blue Ahli should mimic their natural habitat in Lake Malawi to encourage spawning. This involves creating a water environment with a pH of 7.8 to 8.6 and a temperature between 76°F to 82°F. The aquarium should be spacious, with a minimum of 55 gallons, to provide ample room for the breeding pair and eventual fry. Decorations like rocks and caves are essential, as they offer hiding places and breeding spots for the fish.

Spawning Process

During the spawning process, the male Electric Blue Ahli displays a vibrant blue coloration and performs a mating dance to attract the female. After the female lays her eggs, the male fertilizes them. Immediately after fertilization, the female scoops the eggs into her mouth for incubation, a process known as mouthbrooding. The female carries the eggs for about three weeks until the fry are ready to be released. Throughout this period, she does not eat, dedicating herself entirely to the protection of her offspring. The mouthbrooding technique is a remarkable adaptation that increases the survival rate of the fry in the wild.

Electric Blue Hap Diet & Feeding

The Ahli Electric Blue is a carnivorous species that thrives on a diet rich in protein. In the wild, they primarily feed on smaller fish. In the aquarium, they can be fed a variety of foods like frozen or live brine shrimp, bloodworms, and high-quality cichlid pellets. It’s important to feed them in small amounts multiple times a day to prevent overfeeding and ensure a balanced diet.

Electric Blue Ahli Cichlid Compatibility

Electric Blue Haps can be aggressive, particularly towards other male cichlids. They are best kept with other African cichlids of similar size and temperament. Ideal tankmates include Peacock Cichlids, Cuckoo Catfish, Malawi Eyebiter and Blue Dolphin Cichlid. Avoid housing them with smaller, more docile fish, as they may become targets for aggression. Creating a well-structured tank environment with plenty of hiding spots can help minimize territorial disputes.

Electric Blue Hap Cichlid Diseases

Electric Blue Haps are susceptible to common freshwater fish diseases like Ichthyophthirius (Ich), a parasitic infection, and Malawi Bloat, a digestive disorder specific to African cichlids. Good tank management, including maintaining water quality and proper diet, is crucial for prevention. Prompt treatment with appropriate medications is necessary at the first sign of illness to ensure fish health.


In conclusion, the Electric Blue Hap Cichlid is a captivating and vibrant addition to any freshwater aquarium. With proper care, the right aquarium setup, and compatible tank mates, they can thrive and provide endless fascination. Remember, understanding their natural habitat and behavior is key to successfully keeping these stunning fish.