Chipokae Cichlid: All You Need to Know

Chipokae Cichlid Featured Image

Chipokae Cichlid is a species of cichlid with the scientific name Melanochromis chipokae. It’s only found in Lake Malawi at a place called Chipoka.

Its home has sand patches mixed with rocks. This fish eats other smaller fish.

The presence of Chipokae Cichlid in the aquarium trade has caused a 90% decrease in its population, making it the primary threat to this species.

Because of this, the IUCN has listed it as Critically Endangered.

Chipokae Cichlids like sandy areas around rocks and are usually seen alone, searching for larger insects or small fish to eat.

This species may have been overfished because it was popular in aquariums more than 20 years ago.

You can check out what this fish looks like over here.

Chipokae Cichlid Interesting Facts

  • Chipokae Cichlids are a unique fish species native to Lake Malawi in Africa.
  • These fish prefer sandy areas around rocks and mainly eat smaller fish and insects.
  • They have distinct color patterns, with males having blue/black bodies and females being yellow/gray.
  • This species is Critically Endangered due to overfishing for aquariums.

Chipokae Cichlid Habitat

Chipokae Cichlid is a unique fish from Lake Malawi in Africa. It lives at the bottom of freshwater lakes.

This fish prefers a pH range of 7.3 to 8.5 and water hardness between 7 to 18 dH.

Chipokae Cichlid thrives in warm, tropical waters with temperatures between 75.2°F to 78.8°F (24°C to 26°C). Its natural habitat lies within 13°S to 15°S latitude.

Water Temperature:75.2°F to 78.8°F (24°C to 26°C)
Water pH:7.3 to 8.5 pH
Water Hardness:7 to 18 dH

Chipokae Cichlid Physical Characteristics

Size: 4.7 inches (12.0 centimeters)

Chipokae Cichlid grows up to 4.7 inches (12.0 centimeters) long. It has 17 to 18 dorsal spines, 8 to 9 dorsal soft rays, 3 anal spines, and 7 to 8 anal soft rays.

Chipokee cichlids are small fish that can be recognized by their unique color patterns for both males and females.

They feature several distinctive spines and rays in their fins which help differentiate them from other related species.


  • Female and young Chipokae Cichlids have a yellow color and black bands on their dorsal and anal fins. This differentiates them from other Melanochromis species.
  • Male Chipokee cichlids in breeding colors have a blue head area, a dark-blue/black body with two light-blue stripes, and a blue dorsal fin with a white edge.
  • This fish is spindle-shaped with the deepest part of its body near the base of the fourth dorsal spine.
  • It has large scales on its flanks, smaller scales on its breast, and tiny scales covering most of its tail fin.


  • Breeding males have dark blue/black heads, and light-blue stripes between their eyes, along their sides, and on top of their bodies. Their belly is also dark blue/black. Fins are mostly blue with some white or yellow edges.
  • Females have yellow/gray heads with black markings around their eyes. Their bodies are lemon-yellow to gray-yellow, with black stripes running along the sides. Fins are mostly yellow or gray/yellow with some black bands or spots.

Chipokae Cichlid Reproduction

Chipokee Cichlids are mouthbrooders. Females carry eggs in their mouths to protect them.

Chipokae Cichlid Scientific Classification

Scientific Name:Melanochromis chipokae
Also Known As:Chipokae Cichlid
Conservation Status:Critically Endangered

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