Nanochromis parilus - Congo Dwarf Cichlid
Nanochromis parilus - Congo Dwarf Cichlid

Nanochromis parilus - Congo Dwarf Cichlid

Common name: Congo dwarf cichlid, Blue Congo dwarf cichlid
Scientific name: Nanochromis parilus
Max size:  3 inch – 8 cm
pH: 6.5 -7
Temperature: 73- 75°F / 23-25°C

The Congo dwarf cichlid is a beautiful African dwarf cichlid, but it is unfortunately only suitable for more advanced aquarists. It is somewhat sensitive and high water quality and the correct water conditions are important if you want to keep this species. Aquarium bred Congo dwarf cichlids are usually hardier than wild caught specimens. The Congo dwarf cichlid is quite tolerant when it comes to pH-level and has been kept and occasional bred outside the pH-range suggested in this article.

The Congo dwarf cichlid originates from Africa where it is found in the lower rapids of the river Congo in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Aquarium setup

A Congo dwarf cichlid aquarium should be at least 30 gallon / 120 L. The male fish can be very aggressive towards other males and you will need a larger aquarium if you want to keep several males in the same tank. The male fish seldom shows aggression towards females. The aquarium should be decorated so that suitable caves and hiding places are available. This can be accomplished by using rocks, bogwood and roots. You can also provide cut in two clay pots or coconuts as caves. The Congo dwarf cichlid leaves plants alone so you are free to use plants in your decoration but plants are not a necessity. Small plants near the entrance to caves are appreciated. It is also good to use a few floating plants to dim the light in the tank as this will bring out the color of the fish. This species likes to dig despite its small size so a fine bottom substrate is recommended. If you wish to keep several males, create natural territorial boundaries when you decorate the aquarium so several territories can be formed in the tank.

The water temperature should be kept between 73- 75°F / 23-25°C and the pH should ideally be kept between 6.5 -7.0 although this fish is know to have tolerated pH 6 – 8. Soft to medium hard water is to be preferred. Keep the water clean and well circulated.

The Congo dwarf cichlid can be kept with other small fish with a similar temperament.

Congo dwarf cichlid feeding

This species usually accept most food types including freeze dried food and flake food. They have small mouths so all food have to be small. It is important to give them a varied diet. A good diet can for instance consist of a base of flake food that is supplemented with different types of small live and frozen food once a day. Ideally feed 3 times a day.

Breeding Congo dwarf cichlid - Nanochromis parilus

This species is relatively easy to breed and have been bred in a wide variety of different conditions. If this species is given suitable conditions in the aquarium, good spawning sites and a proper diet it will spawn sooner or later. The Congo dwarf cichlid produces up to 100 eggs per spawning. The fry are free swimming in 1-1.5 week. The fry can be fed newly hatched brine shrimp from day one and will accept mashed flake food in a few days. The female protects the eggs and fry while the male protects the territory. The male can be quite aggressive during this period and other fish might have to be removed from the tank if the tank is too small for the fish to have a chance to retreat out of the males' territory.  This is especially true if there are fewer fish in the tank so the level of aggression pointed to each other fish becomes larger. The fry grows quickly and are easy to raise.