Species group: Cichlids
Other common names: Malawi Eye-Biter; Malawi Eyebiter; Malawi Eye-Eater
Scientific name: Dimidiochromis compressiceps
The Malawi Eye Biter is a large member (10 inches / 25 cm) of the Cichlid family, and is native to Lake Malawi in East Africa. It is carnivorous and will prefer live or frozen invertebrates, larvae, and tiny crustaceans.
The large and predatory Malawi Eye-biter has a narrow, compressed body (hence the scientific name). Its body color ranges from whitish silver to predominantly electric blue all over in the adult male. A single dark brown to bluish black horizontal stripe runs along the fish’s midline. The Malawi Eye-Biter has a narrow head with a large jaw (almost a third of its body length) to accommodate a large mouth most useful for the female when mouth-brooding hundreds of fry. The red-tipped dorsal fins are long, increasing in length and becoming lighter in color from the front to the back. Males have oval-shaped white spots on the anal fin.
The Malawi Eye-Biter is quite predatory and will eat smaller and less aggressive tankmates. For this reason it is not considered a good fish for a community tank.
Because adults are about a foot long, one Malawi Eye-Biter requires at least a 90-gallon tank. Lots of plants, rock formations and décor are recommended to serve as hiding places for this predatory fish. Open space is also required for swimming.