Acei Cichlid (Pseudotropheus Acei): Ultimate Care Guide

Common Name(s)Acei Cichlid, Yellow Tail Acei
Scientific NamePseudotropheus Acei
Temperature73 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit
Size3.5-5.9 inches
Minimum Tank Size55 gallons
Food & DietMostly spirulina flake
Lifespan8-10 years
Water pHbetween 7.7 and 8.6
Tank MatesElectric yellow cichlid. Rusty cichlid, Red Top Hongi, Pearl of Likoma, Cynotilapia zebroids, Aulonocara spp, Copadichromis spp
BreedingOvophile mouth brooder
Common DiseaseMalawi Bloat, Swimming Bladder Disease
Acei Cichlid
Acei Cichlid (Pseudotropheus Acei)

Acei cichlid (Pseudotropheus Acei), also known as Yellow Tail Acei, is found in Zambia on the Northwestern coast of Lake Malawi, from Bandawe Point to Ngara. With their striking yellowfins and slender blue body, these fish are stunning.

In addition, if you look closely, you may see purple tones on their bodies. When light strikes their body at specific angles, and directly, this is more obvious. Additionally, they have soft white fin lines and black eyes.

They prefer shallow waters but will occasionally venture to the surface.

Regan discovered them in 1922, and they were initially thought to be Pseudotropheus, then Gephyrochromis, and then back to Pseudotropheus.

They grow cuspid-like teeth in their mouths to feed on algae on submerged logs and rocks, just like the ordinary Gephyrochromid species.

When these fish are in the lake, they usually congregate in a school of 30 to 50 individuals around a large log. However, only about 3-10 would be found in the rocky areas.

Acei Cichlid Care

Acei Cichlids are a good fish for beginner cichlid enthusiasts.  They are fairly peaceful, although they can become more territorial as they mature.


The best temperature range for Acei Cichlid is 73-82 degrees Fahrenheit.

Water pH

Being a lake in the Rift Valley, Lake Malawi’s water is typically alkaline and rich in minerals. To imitate this habitat for your Acei Cichlids, keep your tank pH between 7.7 and 8.6

Acei Cichlid Size

A fully mature Acei Cichlid is typically 5 inches in length. Males can reach a length of 5.9 inches, whilst females only reach a length of about 3.5 inches. Males are often bigger than females. There have been many examples in the wild that have surpassed this range.

Acei Cichlids grow quite quickly while being rather little. They grow quickly until maturity (1.5–2 inches), after which their development rate slows. They should reach their full size in a little more than a year.

Food and Diet

Remember that Acei Cichlid is mostly an algae-eating herbivore in the wild. The main component of their diet in the aquarium should be a high-quality spirulina-based flake.

Blanched vegetables like frozen peas, romaine lettuce, broccoli, and cucumber can also be added to their diet to augment it.

Mysis shrimp, Daphnia, and bloodworms can be served as a rare treat, but don’t serve them more frequently than once per week.

For the health of these cichlids, it is advised to fast them once a week.

Acei Cichlid Lifespan

An Acei Cichlid can live for eight to ten years on average. Many tank owners have found that if these fish are properly cared for and kept, they can live for a few more years.

Acei Cichlid Tank Size

55 gallons is the suggested minimum tank size for schools of 3-5 Y Acei Cichlids. In tiny groups, just keep one male with a few females. Two men might engage in a fatal duel.

A tank of Acei cichlids can easily be overcrowded with more fish, but try to provide each fish with at least 2 gallons of water.

Acei Cichlid (Pseudotropheus Acei)
Acei Cichlid (Pseudotropheus Acei)

Tank Setup

These fish are used to residing in a setting with lots of caves and cover.

For the purpose of simulating their native environment in the home aquarium, the tank is primarily filled with rock. To create many pathways, fill the tank with submerged boulders that are stacked high up, almost to the water’s surface. African Driftwood and dragon stones can be used to make caves.

Because most Acei Cichlids are diggers, take caution. Ensure that the buildings are sturdy and unable to collapse and harm your Acei Cichlid. Instead of placing the pebbles on the substrate, using silicone sealant or epoxy resin adhesive to affix them to the aquarium glass is preferable.

It is advised to use a darker substrate to give Mbunas a sense of security and allow them to display their best colors.

Acei Cichlid Breeding

Because the Acei Cichlid is an ovophile mouth brooder, the female will guard the eggs in her mouth until they hatch and can swim on their own.

The mouthbrooder is one of the most straightforward African cichlid species to breed in captivity.

The female will lay her eggs on smooth objects like pebbles. Additionally, the female will hold the eggs for around 25 days while they are incubating and hatching in her buccal pouch.

It is advised to have a single male with at least three females in an aquarium to facilitate reproduction. On a flat rock, females lay their eggs, which they then take into their mouths and follow the male until he releases the sperm to fertilize them. According to one idea, females follow the male because they believe the egg marks on his anal fin indicate there are additional eggs to gather.

Make sure to feed Acei Cichlids well and keep them in a suitable setting if you intend to breed them.

Acei Cichlid Male or Female

Males are bigger and more aggressive than females and have egg patches on their anal fins.

Acei Cichlid Disease

Some diseases that Acei Cichlids are susceptible to are swimming bladder disease and Malawi bloat.

Swimming Bladder Disease

Swim bladder disease affects the portion of Acei Cichlids known as the swim bladder, as the name would imply. The fish’s swim bladder, an abdominal sac covered in epithelium, keeps it afloat. Swim bladder disease makes it harder for cichlids to stay underwater.

There are many different possible explanations for this condition. External damage from physical injury and some secondary diseases like cancer and tuberculosis may impact the swim bladder. Dietary factors are another frequent factor in developing this disorder; fish with inadequate nutrition or constipation are more likely to experience swim bladder disease.

It’s crucial to address the root cause of the issue to treat this disease. Feed the fish a varied diet and high-fiber items, such as peas and spinach, to ease constipation in cases of inadequate diet.

Malawi Bloat

Acei Cichlids are most frequently affected by the aquarium fish sickness known as “Malawi bloat.” This illness shows symptoms including abdominal swelling, fast breathing, appetite loss, colored feces, and lounging near the bottom of the tank. Malawi bloat can result in liver and renal damage in addition to these symptoms if left untreated. Once the condition reaches this stage, death usually occurs three days later.

Unfortunately, there is substantial disagreement on the disease’s origin; some claim that a protozoan that resides in cichlids’ intestines is to blame. The protozoans multiply and start to cause issues when the fish become agitated, and the tank’s water quality deteriorates.

The tank must undergo a significant water change and be dosed with Metronidazole to treat this illness. You must take the activated carbon out of the tank filter before administering any medication to the tank.

Acei Cichlids Tank Mates

When fully mature, Acei Cichlids can be quite aggressive and possessive, whether toward members of their own species or other fish in the tank. However, as baby fish, they are typically calm and won’t cause any trouble in your tank.

The following fish could be Acei Cichlid’s tank mates: Electric yellow cichlid. Rusty cichlid, Red Top Hongi, Pearl of Likoma, Cynotilapia zebroids, Aulonocara spp, Copadichromis spp.

Where can I find Acei Cichlid for sale?

Acei Cichlids can be purchased in aquarium stores and online. The price range for Acei Cichlid is 11 USD to 15 USD.

Acei Cichlid Types

There are various types of Acei Cichlids which include Yellow Tail Acei Cichlids, White Tail Acei Cichlids, Black Acei Cichlids, and Purple Acei Cichlids.

Yellow Tail Acei Cichlid

The Yellow Tail Acei is native to Zambia’s northwesterly Lake Malawi coast, which extends from Bandawe Point to Ngara. These fish have brilliant yellow fins and slim blue bodies, making them quite attractive.

White Tail Acei Cichlids

The White Tail Acei is a shoaling Mbuna cichlid closely related to the Orange Top Moori that is found in the Ngara and Karonga regions of Lake Malawi in Africa. Flat-toothed and light blue in color, White Tail Acei Cichlid features white patches, or “dummy eggs,” on its ventral fins. Males typically have spots that are brighter than those on females. Males and females have similar colors, but males can grow up to 6 inches longer than females.

Black Acei Cichlid

As their name suggests, Black Acei Cichlid is the color of midnight.  Sometimes their tails are white. Only the west shore of Lake Malawi is home to the White-tail Black Acei cichlid. Its specialized cuspid teeth can harvest algae from submerged wood thanks to its habitat on the sandy/rocky shoreline where tree limbs hang down into the water or have fallen in.

Purple Acei Cichlids

The Purple Acei Cichlid is similar to Yellow Tail Acei Cichlid, the differences being that the body is a deeper purple color and there are defined vertical stripes on their body.

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