Lake Malawi Cichlids

Fish | Africa

Lake Malawi Cichlids

Animal Info

Seneca Park Zoo is home to multiple species of Lake Malawi cichlids. The cichlid aquarium can be found inside the Animals of the Savanna building. Many of the species have very similar behaviors, and almost all of them eat algae and plankton.  However, they do live at varying depths.

Status in the Wild

International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List status: not listed. Their threats include pollution, invasive species, and overfishing for the pet trade.


These cichlids are endemic to Lake Malawi, which runs through areas of Tanzania, Mozambique, and Malawi. They are found in varying depths and micro-habitats within the freshwater lake.


Hundreds of cichlid species reside in Lake Malawi, and each species has a very specific diet as either algae scrapers, fish eaters, or insectivores.

Did you know?

Lake Malawi Cichlids are the most colorful of all freshwater fish.

Since each species is specialized to use the environment in different ways, they do not compete for food or habitat within Lake Malawi.

Studying the diversity of these cichlids is important to understanding the science of speciation: the evolution of new species.

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