This profile was written by Legalos an active contributor to the site.






Photo courtesy of Kevin Bauman of


Xystichromis phytophagus



    A stunningly beautiful Lake Victoria Haplochromis cichlid that is relatively rare due to the fact that it is now extinct in lake Victoria.

Quick stats:

Listed tank sizes are the minimum.
Size: Up to 4.5 inches (11.4 centimeters)
Tank: Min. Length 48 inches. (At least 55 gallons if you are wishing to keep two males.)
Strata: Will go everywhere but predominantly Lower to Middle.
PH: 7.5 to 8.2
Hardness: Alkaline and hard dH range: to 18°. (6 to 7° dh Yala Swamp), adaptable.
Temperature: 71°F to 82°F (22°-28° C)


Order: Perciformes
Family: Cichlidae
Genera: Xystichromis
Species: Xphytophagus

Common name:


Christmas Fulu cichlidDistribution

    Africa: Lake Kanyaboli, a satellite lake of Lake Victoria, in Northern Kenya. Extinct in lake Victoria.

General Body Form:

    Although labeled as a Haplochromis, it’s body shape is very much more like the mbuna of Lake Malawi.


    They are light blue with red on the face, flanks, and tail. The rear half of the fish is golden yellow, and black markings adorn the face and sides. Also as with most other cichlids the males are much more colorful than the females.


    They love to dig, so choose a gravel size appropriate for a small fish. The Christmas Fulu is actually not a very eager plant eater and can therefore be combined with most plant species in that regard, but it is a keen digger and digging can naturally also be a problem for plants. Plant species must therefore be wisely chosen; you can for instance go for floating plants and plants that can be anchored to wood. Due to this digging behavior, the use of heavy rocks or other forms of heavy aquarium decorations is a bit risky since the digging can make it fall over the fish in injure them. Also sheltered areas and hiding spots are really important if you want to keep two males or even a breeding harem. Water quality is very important so frequent partial changes are a must.


Photo courtesy of Kevin Bauman of African-cichlid.comDiet:

    Feeding is not a problem as they will accept all types of flake and frozen food. Should be heavy on plant material such as spirulina. In nature they eat decomposing plant material.


    Rocky areas with pebble substrate. Hovers above the bottom to feed on fallen leaves.


    The Christmas Fulu is a maternal mouthbrooder. It is important to have only one male to several females. This will keep aggression down and give the females a chance to rest.



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