Venustus cichlid Care Guide: Diet, Tank Mates, Diseases, Breeding & More

Updated: December 17, 2022

The Venustus cichlid (Nimbochromis venustus) is a beautiful freshwater fish that is perfect for the intermediate fish keeper. They are not too difficult to care for, but they are also not beginner-friendly.

This guide will teach you everything you need to know about Venustus cichlid care. You’ll learn about their diet, size, lifespan, and more!

Species overview

The Venustus cichlid (scientific name: Nimbochromis venustus) is a freshwater fish that’s native to the waters of East Africa. They are most commonly found in Lake Malawi, although they have also been spotted in Lake Tanganyika and Lake Victoria.

The Venustus cichlid is a large fish, growing up to 18 inches in length in the wild. They are a predatory fish and their diet consists mostly of smaller fish. In the aquarium, they can be fed a diet of pellets, frozen food, and live food.

The Venustus cichlid is a beautiful fish with a blue body and yellow fins. They are a popular choice for many freshwater aquariums.


Venustus cichlid

The Venustus cichlid is a freshwater fish that is native to Lake Malawi in Africa.

The most notable feature of this fish is the beautiful blue and yellow stripes that run vertically down their bodies. These colors are very vibrant and really stand out against the darker background of their fins and tail.

The body of the Venustus cichlid is long and thin with a somewhat torpedo-like shape. They have a dorsal fin that starts about halfway back on their body and extends all the way to the end of their tail.

Their anal fin and caudal fin are both forked and symmetrical. The pectoral fins are relatively small in comparison to the rest of their fins.

One thing to note about the Venustus cichlid is that the male and female fish can look quite different from one another. Males tend to be more colorful and have longer fins. Females are usually a bit smaller and have shorter fins.


The average lifespan of a Venustus cichlid is around 10 years. This is a pretty long time for a fish, especially one that is known to be on the aggressive side.

Of course, there are a number of factors that can impact the lifespan of these fish. Poor water quality, stress from bad tank mates, or a suboptimal diet can all lead to a shorter lifespan.


The average Venustus cichlid size is about 12 inches, but they can grow up to 18 inches in length. These fish are one of the larger cichlid species, so you need to be prepared for that when setting up their tank.


Tank Size

The recommended minimum tank size for one Venustus cichlid is 125 gallons. If you’re looking for a freshwater fish that can fit in an average-sized tank, this is not the fish for you.

If you want to keep two Venustus fish in the same tank you’ll want to add at least another 125 gallons to that minimum number if you want them to thrive.

Another reason why you need to provide enough space is for the sake of enrichment and comfort. These fish like to roam and will often run gentle but steady laps around your tank. Giving them a little bit of extra space can go a long way in making sure they can comfortably turn around in the tank.

Water Parameters

The water parameters you need to maintain for Venustus cichlids are very generous. This makes them a great freshwater fish for a beginner since there’s a lot of room for error.

The most important thing to remember when it comes to their water parameters is consistency. Even though these are very hardy fish, they can be sensitive to sudden changes just like any other freshwater species.

Even though they’re still a bit more durable in this regard, you should use this as practice. Challenge yourself to see how consistent you can keep the water parameters and how easily you can make an adjustment if needed. These skills will come in handy with other species you keep in the future!

  • Water Temperature: 76 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit
  • pH Levels: 7.5 to 8.5
  • Water hardness: 10 to 20 dGH
  • Alkalinity Levels: 5-15 dKH

What To Put In Their Tank

Venustus cichlids are one of the more peaceful species of cichlid, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be aggressive at times.

To create a tank that provides the right environment for these fish, it’s important to do two things:

Provide them with plenty of hiding spots

Use a substrate that won’t hurt their delicate fins

When it comes to hiding spots, we recommend using a combination of driftwood, rocks, and plants. This will give them plenty of places to go when they feel threatened or want to avoid conflict.

As for the substrate, we recommend using something soft like sand. This will help protect their fins from any sharp edges that could cause injury.

Common Diseases

The Venustus cichlid is a fairly hearty fish, but that doesn’t mean they can’t get sick. In fact, there are a few diseases that seem to target this species specifically.

The first one is known as “Hole in the Head” disease. This is a condition that is caused by poor water quality and the presence of activated carbon in the tank.

Symptoms include one or two pits/holes in the skin on the head of your fish. While this disease is almost always curable, it will usually leave some scarring on your fish.

The second disease that commonly affects Venustus cichlids is known as “Black Spot Disease”. This is a parasitic infection that will show itself as black spots on the body and fins of your fish.

If left untreated, this disease can be fatal. However, it is fairly easy to treat if you catch it early.

The best way to prevent your Venustus from getting sick is to maintain a clean and stable tank. These fish are rather hardy, but they are still susceptible to disease if the water quality is poor.

Behavior & Temperament

The Venustus cichlid is a beautiful fish that is known for being peaceful and relatively easy to care for. They are a good choice for beginner aquarists who are looking for a cichlid that won’t be too aggressive.

While they are not the most active fish, they will often swim around the tank and explore their surroundings. They are not shy and will even come up to the glass to investigate anything that catches their attention.

Venustus cichlids are not aggressive and get along well with other fish. They are not known to be territorial and will not harm other fish unless they feel threatened.

One thing to keep in mind is that Venustus cichlids are known to be jumpers. They have been known to jump out of tanks, so it is important to make sure your tank is covered.

Tank Mates

When it comes to finding the right tank mates for a Venustus cichlid, there are a few things to consider.

First, these fish are semi-aggressive. They will defend their territory and can be nippy with other fish.

Because of this, it’s best to avoid fish that are small or slow-moving.

Second, Venustus cichlids come from Africa. This means that they prefer warm water with a high pH.

As a result, you’ll need to find fish that can tolerate these conditions.

Here are some compatible tank mates for Venustus cichlids:


The process of breeding Venustus cichlids is a bit more complicated than other species. These fish are mouthbrooders, which means that the female will carry the eggs and fry in her mouth until they’re ready to be released.

The first step is to set up a breeding tank. It should hold at least 50 gallons of water and have plenty of hiding places. These fish are known to be quite aggressive, so you’ll need to provide them with plenty of places to hide.

Once the tank is set up, you’ll need to sex the fish. Males are typically larger and have more colorful fins.

Once you’ve identified the males and females, it’s time to add them to the tank. It’s recommended to add two females for every male.

Once the fish are in the tank, you’ll need to feed them a high-quality diet. Live foods are best, but frozen will work in a pinch.

After a week or so of feeding, the females should be ready to spawn. You’ll know they’re ready when you see them chasing each other around the tank.

When the females are ready, the males will start to build nests. They’ll use rocks, plants, and other materials to build their nests. Once the nests are built, the males will start to court the females.

If everything goes according to plan, the female will lay her eggs in the male’s nest. Once she’s laid them, the male will fertilize them and the female will pick them up in her mouth.

The female will carry the eggs and fry in her mouth for about three weeks. During that time, she won’t eat. After three weeks, the fry will be released and you can start feeding them baby brine shrimp.


The Venustus cichlid is a stunning freshwater fish that is perfect for the intermediate to experienced fish keeper.

While they are not the easiest fish to care for, they are definitely worth the effort.

These fish are incredibly beautiful and will add a lot of personality to your tank. If you’re up for the challenge, we say go for it!