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Gephyrochromis lawsi Male

Above Gephyrochromis lawsi, Male. Photo by Sam Borstein.


Gephyrochromis lawsi FemaleGephyrochromis lawsi is Lake Malawi mouthbrooder that was described by Fryer in 1957. Alough this fish looks and acts like any member of the Pseudotropheus genus, scientists moved it into a new genus because its thinner tooth structure.

Males Gephyrochromis lawsi are a vibrant purple with an orange blaze across their back. Females are relatively drab brown-gray, sometimes with a slight purple sheen.

Male Gephyrochromis lawsi get up to about four inches. Females top out at a bit over three inches.

Good looks and a mild disposition make Gephyrochromis lawsi is an ideal fish for beginners in the cichlid hobby.


Gephyrochromis lawsi is found in the northern part of Lake Malawi. According to Fishbase

Occurs usually at deep levels where the steep, rocky coast ends on the sand. Found over sandy patches in the intermediate habitat. The average depth is about 20 m.


Gephyrochromis lawsi is easy to care for. Rocks should be added to the tank as hiding places and to give the fish a breeding surface. This fish is a peaceful mbuna. I never saw any form of aggression in these fish. You can keep this fish with some non-aggressive haps, or very peaceful mbuna.

Water conditions acceptable for this fish are pH of 7.0 to 8.5 and temperatures from 76F to 82F.


This fish is an carnivorous in wild, but will eat anything in the aquarium.


Gephyrochromis lawsi breed like rats. This fish will spawn at anytime, anywhere, in any condition. I couldn't stop mine from spawning.

Breeding behavior is about the same as Pseudotropheus, and not anything special. The females hold to term well— about 3 weeks. The fish can be difficult to strip the fry from since they are determined holders. I recommend that you separate fry from the female at about 18 days. At this point the fry should close to free swimming, and can start eating baby brine shrimp.

Retail Price

Expect to pay $15 to $20 for adults. Gephyrochromis lawsi are occasionally available at pet shops but are often available from cichlid hobbyists lists on the web.

Report February 2008 by Sam Borstein.