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HELP! Mbuna cichlids eating other Mbuna

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When I came to feed my fish this morning my second largest Demasoni male went into one of the caves and came out with a yellow tail hanging out of his mouth! :o

He did indeed corner and consume my smallest Labidochromis(yellow lab) I bought a group of 15 from @punman a few weeks ago in the 3/4"-1" size. He threw in 1 extra very small fry incase 1 died. I kept them in a breeder net for a few weeks to feed them without competition from my other fish. They were added to my main tank 4dys ago.

So my questions are why are my herbivorous Mbuna hunting small fish? am I under feeding? Could my Demasoni become sick from eating small fish? Now that he has a taste for fish will he kill again?

Any comments or help with this are appreciated

Thank You

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P. demasoni are not obligate herbivores. And I think that is the first issue here, the popular fallacy that they are. The gods of African Cichlids like Ad Konings have made the observation that they do seem to primary eat algae on the rocks, but they also happily consume the incidental invertebrates that are in the green stuff. Knowing that they do consume and tolerate animal protein then leads to the key factor of proportionality. With the correlation of animal protein and “Malawi bloat” its been posited that feeding a low animal protein and high vegetable (proportionality) diet will keep their digestive motility high and reduce the change of opportunistic pathogens (like anaerobic bacteria) from causing problems. All that to say, they have evolved to eat animal protein (to some extent), and probably will if given the opportunity. I have hundreds of demasoni in my tanks, and I have seen the smaller fry pick each other off, and use predatory-like behavior when one is weak or slow. And who knows, the beautiful bright yellow labs from Dwayne may be extra enticing?





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Great response Andrew! I have heard lots of stories about fish of the same species fighting to the death as a survival of the fittest mentality but to see one that is not even that big hunt and consume a baby of different species was very alarming. Big blue & black tail on one end and a small yellow one on the other!

I will remove any caves I have with only 1 entry as I think he cornered and killed the little lab who was fast as a bullet. And yes the fancy yellow labs from Dwayne look very tasty (at least my cat thinks so)

My juvie Demasoni came from you btw, They are growing up quite nicely.


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