Interbred/Crossbred Cyphotilapia frontosa


I dum care =]
Staff member
MFK Member
Jul 27, 2005
Interbred/Crossbred C. Frontosa

There are many types of Frontosa in the hobby but and it is a common occurrence to come across interbred and crossbred fish. The photo below is a great example of interbreeding C. Frontosa. In the photo below you notice that this frontosa shows “mooning”- a characteristic of an interbred frontosa.


Mooning is when the white comes down inside of the black stripe creating a half circle that looks like the "moon". It can also make the stripe look like its split, or as some call it a “Y” stripe. This is caused by bad breeding/interbreeding and poor genes. An example of this would be if someone was breeding a pair of frontosa that had fry and decided to grow the fry to breeding age and then breed the young back to the parents. This can result in poor genes and sometimes can be visible as “mooning”. It is always preferable to keep a fresh gene pool when you breed to avoid something like mooning. Keep in mind even though the parents may not show mooning, any resulting fry have a chance of displaying this feature.

Looking at the photo below, what do you notice? Yes that is right; this frontosa also has what looks like a 7th stripe forming, but it didn’t quite make it.


Now looking at the photo below, you can see the other side of this frontosa. This side of the frontosa has the developed 7th stripe.


This frontosa not only shows mooning but he also shows a 7 stripe pattern with an incomplete stripe on one side. This could mean that this frontosa was possibly a crossbreed between a 6 stripe and 7 stripe frontosa and has a confused genetic code for the stripe. It may also be due to a bad gene pool from interbreeding. Also keep in mind that in some cases of bad striping you can end up with a frontosa that has full 7 stripes on one side and a full set of 6 stripes on the other. I do not currently have a photo of this.

Now take a look at the photo below:


If you look at the adult male in the previous photos, not only did you see mooning but you also saw by the tail an incomplete 7th stripe.

If you look at the juvenile frontosa in the photo above you can see that he shows signs of mooning but has an even 6 stripes. This frontosa also has 6 even stripes on the other side. In the case of this frontosa he was probably not crossbred and the “mooning” is a result of a poor gene pool due to interbreeding. This is something that is unfortunately very common and end up in many local fish shops.

Now take a look at the photo below and compare these 2 juvenile frontosa.


In this photo you can see that the frontosa at the top left has 7 stripes, no signs of mooning or uneven striping. This is what you want your frontosa to look like. The frontosa in the middle by the rocks shows the “Y” stripe or mooning, something you should avoid if you plan to breed.

Now does this mean that these frontosas are bad? No not at all. While they may have some stripe issues, they are still great fish and make great pets. Each frontosa has a great personality and are wonderful in the fish tank. I have kept them myself and have now passed them on to someone else, who I hope will take good care of them. The only downfall to them is that you should not use them for breeding, so if that is your goal then you are best to stay away from them. If breeding is not your goal then please give a good frontosa a good home, there’s no reason to shy away from these guys.

Why don’t you want to breed them? Well simply put no one person who is interested in breeding and no one breeder wants to end up getting a frontosa with any type of genetic issues or defects. If you’re goal is to breed frontosa then you want a good gene pool. If you want to breed nice fish and sell them to make money then you want them to look as nice as possible. When someone has a nice colony of frontosas and wants to continue breeding, usually they will sell or trade off the males in search of males from a different colony/group unrelated to the ones they currently own. This helps give genetic variation. This is why many people will buy from breeders that are reputable, although this will not always guarantee that you will never run into a genetic issue.

If you are serious about breeding these fish then find a reputable breeder. This is your safest and best bet in getting fish from a good gene pool. When your frontosa grow to breeding size, make sure you trade out the males for other males for a variation in genes and to keep from interbreeding between brothers, sisters, mom and dad.


Note: When I am talking about interbred frontosa above, I am referring to specific variants, for example, A Burundi male (father) mating with a Burundi female (daughter) or vice versa or in any way you can think of interbreeding these fish, but between Burundi only.

When I am talking about crossbred frontosa, for example, I am talking about a Burundi (6 stripe) crossing with a Kigoma (7 stripe).

*These photos were taken by me and are of my own fish*



MFK Member
Mar 16, 2009
Austin, Texas
Hey thanks for this. I know that at least one of mine has mooning on it, but now i need to check the other five lol


Feeder Fish
MFK Member
Sep 5, 2010
Victoria, B.C. Canada
superb explanation and this really applies to all fish. If you're a serious hobbyist it's your responsibility to lead the way.

And we haven't even covered general conformation. I can't believe the number of large cichlids I see that have been kept because of their color only.


Feeder Fish
Jan 29, 2014
When spawning they moved into a small open area under some Texas Holey rock, cleared an area to the bare bottom of the tank. Laid the eggs and then the male fertilized them.