Metriaclima sp. Msobo

Metriaclima sp. msobo looks more like Pseudotropheus saulosi in shape and colouration and not like a Metriaclima. The males are blue, the females yellow.


Metriaclima sp. Msobo

Metriaclima sp. Msobo has not yet been officially described. They are known under a number of synonyms: Pseudotropheus sp. msobo, Pseudotropheus sp. Deep Tanzania, Pseudotropheus sp. Maguna Red, Pseudotropheus sp. Deep Manda.

This species was first classified in the Pseudotropheus complex but later moved to the Metriaclima family, strange because the shape and colour change is more like the Chindongo saulosi than the Metriaclimas.


Metriaclima sp. Msobo inhabits the rocky coast of Tanzania between Cape Kaiser and Lundu.

Metriaclima sp. Msobo in the wild:


Metriaclima sp. Msobo changing into male coloration
Metriaclima sp. Msobo changing into male colouration

All Metriaclima sp. Msobo start their lives as yellow fish just like the females. As males approach adulthood they will change from yellow to blue. You can clearly see the colouring of a male in this series of photos. Most likely, all photos of Metriaclima sp. Msobo Magunga because the other variants are hardly ever offered.

This species can grow to a maximum length of around 10 to 12 centimetres.

The Aquarium

All Mbuna aquariums have a similar decoration. Use (filter) sand as a substrate. At the edges of the aquarium, you stack rocks where between the Metriaclima sp. Msobo male makes a territory. Make sure that the rocks are well secured. Malawi cichlids sometimes dig in the sand. If you put the rocks on the sand instead of on the bottom, the piles can become unstable. We don’t need to explain what a heavy rock can do with your glass aquarium.

Keeping plants in a Malawi aquarium is often problematic. Mbunas sometimes like to nibble on plants, causing soft plants to fall apart. Plants such as Vallisneria and Anubias are often used. The strong thick leaves of these plants are fairly resistant to the Malawi cichlids and do not need much light.

Water Parameters

Due to the size of the lake, the water in Lake Malawi is fairly stable and reasonably hard. Especially in areas where the water from the tap is already quite hard, you do not have to do much about the water. The temperature may be between 22 and 26 degrees Celsius. The pH in Lake Malawi is somewhere between 7.5 and 8.5. If your pH is a little too low and you have a biological filter, you might consider filling a compartment with crushed shells, this slowly dissolves in the water and thus increases your KH and therefore your pH. KH Plus from a bottle is also possible, to save money you could also look at the pond packaging, these contain the same ingredients but are much cheaper than their aquarium variant.


Metriaclima sp. Msobo is a true herbivore. With their small teeth, they comb the algae strands. The main food for this species should, therefore, be spirulina flakes or pellets. Between the algae, in the lake, there are small aquatic animals and crustaceans. Occasionally you can alternate the spirulina with some live or frozen food such as brine shrimp, Mysis, finely chopped shrimps or white mosquito larvae. Don’t give them red mosquito larvae because this food is too fat for this fish. Bloodworm is completely out of the question, this is not only fat but is also grown in polluted water. The intestinal system of the Metriaclima sp. Msobo is not resistant to this and feeding this food can cause Malawi Bloat.


Males create a territory and are intolerant towards each other. Other species that do not resemble him are usually ignored. It is better to keep one male with two or three females. Provide adequate hiding places so that the females can shelter from the advances of the male.

Breeding Metriaclima sp. Msobo

Breeding Metriaclima sp. Msobo is fairly straightforward. The male courts spawning females by showing off his fins. He shows his flank to the female in a trembling manner. As soon as she responds to his advances, they circle each other, with the male’s anal fin touching the sand. The egg spots on his anal fin, tempt the female to lay her eggs. The male circles her, fertilizes the eggs that are picked up by the female. The female incubates the eggs in her mouth. After about 21 days, the female spits out the fry that hatched in her mouth.

For the first few hours after spitting them out, the female will not eat the fry. The fry will hide in small cracks and crevices. When the fry are released in the aquarium, most will be eaten. The more small gaps and crevices there are, the more fry will survive. The fry can be fed with finely ground spirulina flakes.

Breeding in numbers

If you want to keep more fry you will have to use a separate breeding tank. Remove the female after around 15 to 18 days. Place her in a breeding tank with some rocks where she can hide. After releasing the fry, she can be returned to the main aquarium. You can feed the fry with crushed flakes and spirulina.



John de Lange

Copyright images

Kevin Bauman –
Mark Thomas – Marks Fiskenarie

Additional information





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Breeding behaviour


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