The picture below shows the male Benitochromis nigrodorsalis guarding the fry. With fry

The three pictures below shows a 3 inch (7 cm) female Benitochromis nigrodorsalis.  


The below picture shows a male.  The male and female are nearly identical looking.  The female has more pink on the belly, and more black on the dorsal fins, and an irredescent coloration in the dorsal and caudal fins.  Also, the male has faint spots in the caudal fin and the female has none.  The interspecies aggression was really quite high until these two paired up. Then I removed the others.  They do not bother with the other species in the tank.

The picture below shows a 3 inch (7 cm) female Benitochromis nigrodorsalis in it's stressed coloration.  In my tanks with the black sand, they take on the darker color.  In my tanks with the light color gravel, they look like the picture below.

I purchased seven cichlids labeled Cromidotilapia finleyi moliwe at the local aquarium store in February of 2006. They weren't really mis-identified since this is the fishes former name.  Thanks to the people at, I was able to confirm my suspicions that I have Benitochromis nigrodorsalis.  According to Anton Lomboj ("The Cichlid Fishes of Western Africa"), this is a dwarf riverine cichlid from Cameroon in western Africa that reaches around 4.5 inches (12 cm) in length.  This cichlid is a bit unusual for two reasons; First, unlike most cichlids, the female is more colorful than the male.  And second, this cichlid is a biparental mouthbrooder.  This means that the male and female share the mouthbrooding duties and actually transfer the eggs back and forth between eachother.  As you might expect, they are pair bonders and not poligamous as many other riverine species are.  Mine bred in August 2006.

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