1. Home
  2. Fun Animal Facts
  3. Emperor Cichlid: 15 Facts You Won't Believe!


Kidadl Team

AUGUST 13, 2021

Emperor Cichlid: 15 Facts You Won't Believe!

Read these interesting emperor cichlid facts to learn more about this species of giant cichlid from Lake Tanganyika.

The emperor cichlid is also known by its binomial name, Boulengerochromis microlepis. Known as the giant cichlid, this fish species endemic to Lake Tanganyika comes from the family Cichlidae. Apart from this fish species, there is no other fish member of the tribe and genus Boulengerochromini and Boulengerochromis, respectively.

The Boulengerochromis microlepis is one of the biggest cichlid species to be found globally, particularly in Lake Tanganyika. This genus of fish is easy to found and is one of the species of Cichlidae that are to be kept in a tank as a pet despite the emperor cichlid size and length.

If you like this article, why not check out these pumpkinseed sunfish facts and milkfish facts pages.

Emperor Cichlid Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an emperor cichlid?

The emperor cichlid (Boulengerochromis microlepis) is a fish species that belong to the group and family of Cichlidae. These species are the largest fish among all the African Cichlidae of Tanganyika. Some other types of cichlids are Texas cichlid, Midas cichlid, and firemouth cichlid.

What class of animal does an emperor cichlid belong to?

The Boulengerochromis microlepis belongs to the class Actinopterygii and the genus of Boulengerochromis.

How many emperor cichlids are there in the world?

There is no exact population of emperor cichlids known to us at the moment. The reason for that is these species of African giant cichlid fish are vast in number, and it is difficult to estimate their exact number.

Where does emperor cichlid live?

Blue emperor cichlids are found in the African regions of Lake Tanganyika. This specific lake crosses into different countries like the Republic of Congo, Burundi, Zambia, and Tanzania.

What is an emperor cichlid's habitat?

The emperor cichlid range of habitat includes mainly freshwater open lakes and oceans. This giant cichlid prefers to live in the depth of the water where sandy areas and rocks are found. Apart from the wild, they are also kept in a tank as pets as they are easy to breed and do not need very much maintenance.

Who do emperor cichlids live with?

The Boulengerochromis microlepis are large in length African fish that can stay in a pair or in groups. Although this genus is not aggressive, it can show territorial behavior in your tank and can kill other small fishes as they are piscivorous (they feed on fishes).

How long does an emperor cichlid live?

The lifespan of a Red emperor African cichlid is not too long but they can live up to four years if kept well. They are a large-in-size family of fishes that are easy to care for if they fulfill their requirements like large space and compatible tank mates.

How do they reproduce?

The giant cichlid (Boulengerochromis microlepis) can mate when they are above two years of age. The females choose the males for the breeding process, and once finished, the females lay eggs on an open rocky surface by the lake. It is the duty of males to fertilize the eggs after the breeding process, and eggs are laid successfully. After the incubation was done by the pair, the fry emerges from the eggs, and the parents take care of them. Unfortunately, among so many eggs, there is only a tiny percentage of the young with a survival rate.

What is their conservation status?

The emperor cichlid (Boulengerochromis microlepis) is listed as a Least Concern species by the IUCN Red List. This giant cichlid is constantly breeding. This is why there are no conservation efforts focused on them.

Emperor Cichlid Fun Facts

What do emperor cichlids look like?

The emperor cichlid has horizontal and irregular oval shape lines under the scales on their body which are visible in the light.

The giant cichlid (Boulengerochromis microlepis) is a large fish that has an elegant and broad body shape with a strong caudal-fin that helps them in speed and power. The adult Malawi emperor cichlid is found in different colors like yellow, green, brown, gray, blue, red. But the only difference between males and females is that male is more colorful with vibrant hues and large in size than female.

How cute are they?

Although Boulengerochromis microlepis are not at all cute-looking fish, they are very famous fish and are always in demand to be kept in the community and large tanks. Their different color pattern under the scales are unique in these giant-size fishes.

How do they communicate?

To communicate with each other, emperor cichlid can rely on five different types of sensors. These senses are taste, hearing, vision, olfaction, and mechanosensation. By the use of these sensors, they respond to the information accordingly.

How big is an emperor cichlid?

The emperor cichlid (Boulengerochromis microlepis) is the largest size cichlid species found in the lake of Tanganyika. The length of the adult fish is around 30-36 in (75-90 cm) long. These species are about four times larger than the adult green terror fish, which is 8 in (20 cm) in length.

How fast can an emperor cichlid swim?

The average speed range of the Boulengerochromis microlepis is not known yet. But they are known to swim faster as their caudal fin is very strong, which helps them to swim at a fast speed.

How much does an emperor cichlid weigh?

As the size of the adult red emperor cichlid is known to be the largest among Cichlidae, so is their weight. The average weight of these fishes goes up to 6.6 lb (3 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no specific names for male or female emperor cichlids.

What would you call a baby emperor cichlid?

Baby emperor cichlids are known as fry.

What do they eat?

The adult wild emperor cichlid can eat any small fish in the water. While they are kept in the tanks, they can be fed with frozen fishes as well as live fishes like artemia, bloodworms, tubifex, and earthworms.

Are they aggressive?

The emperor cichlid is not exactly an aggressive type of fish. However, they can show territorial behavior towards other fishes when kept together in a tank.

Would they make a good pet?

The emperor cichlid is a very common fish to keep in aquariums. Although they can be a handful at times, they are quite good pets if their requirements are fulfilled.

Did you know...

The rarest cichlid to be found in this world is Cichlasoma beani, which was once found in large numbers.

How big is the biggest emperor cichlid?

The size of the biggest and largest emperor cichlid that was found was around 36 in (90cm) in males and 30 in (75cm) in females.

Having your own emperor cichlid

To take care of emperor cichlid, you need to keep them in fresh water with a temperature between 75-82 F (24-28 C). The water tank should be large in size with at least five-meter square. The compatible fishes that can live them apart from their own species are Mouthbrooder and Aristochromis. About the diet, they are not picky and can also feed on frozen fish.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover!  Learn more about some other fish from our amberjack facts and guppy facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Emperor cichlid coloring pages.

Get The Kidadl Newsletter
1,000's of inspirational ideas direct to your inbox for things to do with your kids.

By joining Kidadl you agree to Kidadl’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy and consent to receiving marketing communications from Kidadl.

In need of more inspiration?