Ruby Green Cichlid (Haplochromis sp. Ruby Green)

Ruby Green Cichlid (Haplochromis sp. Ruby Green)

Ruby Green Cichlid (Haplochromis sp. Ruby Green)

The Ruby Green Cichlid (Haplochromis sp. Ruby Green) is a herbivore known to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts as the Ruby Green Hap or Ruby Green, and is found around the heavily vegetated shorelines of Lakes Kyoga and Nawampasa in Uganda.

The Ruby Green Cichlid is often mistaken for the Flameback Cichlid (Haplichromis sp. “Flameback”)

Ruby Green Cichlid (Haplochromis sp. Ruby Green)

Ruby Green Cichlid (Haplochromis sp. Ruby Green)

Male Ruby Green Cichlids, like the Flameback Cichlid, are colored a vivid red and vibrant green combination.

The Ruby Green Cichlid has more green on the body and the red does not extend as far back on the fish as it does with the Flameback.

During breeding, males are colored a vivid red on the upper portion of the fish, that extends from the tip of the mouth to the middle of the back.   The sides of the fish are colored yellow down to the lateral line and a vibrant green below.   They have black pectoral fins and an orange to red anal fin with up to five black outlined egg spots.

An albino strain is also known to hobbyists that is quite beautiful.

Female Ruby Green Cichlids are colored a drab battleship gray, with a few dark lines and a yellow anal fin.

The Ruby Green Cichlid is undoubtedly one of the most peaceful Victorian cichlids you can keep.   Fully grown males are not nearly as aggressive as other Victorian cichlids, even to their own kind.

When keeping Ruby Green Cichlids in a single species rocky rift valley lake setup, a single male with a harem of 5 or 6 females is a good proportion.   Adding an additional male will cause the dominant male to stay in full breeding color all the time.   When a single male is kept in a tank without any females or males present, they will usually NOT color up.

Haplochromis sp. Ruby Green are mouthbrooding herbivores that do well with other peaceful, mild mannered species, and despite their similar dietary requirements; should never be housed with Tropheus or mbunas.    If bullied, you will not experience the vivid colors that the males can exhibit.

The Ruby Green Cichlid is best housed in an aquarium of at least 40 gallon capacity, with a sand or fine gravel substrate, plenty of rockwork piles formed into caves for them to hide, and some bogwood planted with Anubias barteri or other hardy plants for aesthetics. With two males in the same tank, make sure there are plenty of hiding places available.    Rocks, PVC pipe, or ceramic “caves” are all good options.

Keep in mind that in their natural habitat, Haplochromis sp. Ruby Green spend a lot of time scraping algae off of aquatic plants and will exhibit the same behavior in an aquarium environment.

Ruby Green Cichlids need good water quality and a little water movement in their tank.   A canister, bio wheel, or wet/dry trickle filtration system with regular water changes is highly recommended to keep them healthy and happy.

The Ruby Green Cichlid is a polygamous mouthbrooder that is very easy to breed.   Although strict water conditions is not critical, the water should not be to acidic.   A pH of 7.6 or more and a general hardness of 9 degrees or more is usually enough to motivate them.

Average broods consist of up to three dozen fry that are held by the female for two to three weeks. During this period, the female does not eat and the males will warn off any interlopers.   When the fry are spit out, the parents do not protect the young and in many cases will eat them.

To raise as many fry as possible, many tropical fish keeping enthusiasts will remove the brooding female into a “brooding” tank until she spits out her young, and then place her back with the “harem” in the breeding tank.   The young grow quickly and will eagerly eat brine shrimp or crushed cichlid flakes.

When the fry are a little over an inch in length, males will begin to color up and may even begin to spawn.   For the first couple of times, it’s not unusual for females to have difficulty holding her brood full term.

In their natural environment, Ruby Green Cichlids are algae grazers that feed by scraping algae off of aquatic plants, rocks, driftwood, etc. In an aquarium environment, they do well on a vegetarian diet of omnivore or Spirulina flakes, blanched spinach, boiled zucchini, etc. Although they will eat just about anything you put in their tank, make sure they get their vegetables.

With their natural habitat dwindling, the beautiful Lake Victorian Ruby Green Cichlid (Haplochromis sp. “Ruby Green”) is not kept by many tropical fish keeping enthusiasts.   They are not common but are occasionally available from importers, specialty fish keeping shops, breeders, cichlid forums, and auction sites at premium prices.


Ruby Green Cichlid (Haplochromis sp. Ruby Green)

Ruby Green Cichlid (Haplochromis sp. Ruby Green)







Minimum Tank Size: 40 gallons
Care Level: Mildly Difficult
Temperament: Relatively Peaceful
Aquarium Hardiness: Hardy
Water Conditions: 74-79°F, dH 6-10°d, pH 7.2-7.5
Max. Size: Males 4″ Females 3″
Color Form: Red, Yellow, Green
Diet: Herbivore
Compatibility: Single species or peaceful Victoria tank
Origin: Lake Kyoga and Nawampasa, Uganda
Family: Cichlidae
Lifespan: 4-10 years
Aquarist Experience Level: Advanced

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