Wc and farm breed


Feeder Fish
Original poster
MFK Member
Jun 4, 2019
Hey guys
Why do farm breed frontosas have deformed faces,no good lines and colors on frontosa are different on both sides and shades are different ,but in wc the color and lines are in proportion and natural


Silver Tier VIP
MFK Member
Aug 6, 2011
Hey guys
Why do farm breed frontosas have deformed faces,no good lines and colors on frontosa are different on both sides and shades are different ,but in wc the color and lines are in proportion and natural

Over breeding from the same strain causes poor genetics.
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MFK Member
Jan 22, 2013
Mid-Atlantic, US
Like most other species, it also depends a lot on the breeder and their breeding practices, quality of the parents, etc. Like most other fish, you can select good parents from a good line-- good color, dark, solid bars, etc. and quite often get nice looking offspring. But Cyphotilapia aren't always so straightforward, sometimes good looking parents produce less solid fry and you may have to switch out a male or female to improve the offspring.

You can also select for a trait you like and perpetuate it. For example, there was a guy on cyphos.com who had an unusually dark and deeply colored female Zaire blue-- don't remember whether it was moba or another collection point-- that consistently produced super nice, deeply colored fry, so much so he had a waiting list for fry and could sell them at a premium price.

There's something of a myth that after wild or F1 color and quality decreases in Zaire blues or you're doomed to get mooning, etc. Having bred kapampa to a second generation, I've disproven that. Among any generation (spawn) you can get darker and lighter individuals, etc. Select the darker, more solid ones as breeders and you tend to get more solid fry ime. Breed lighter parents and you may get less solid bars, or a mix.

But here's what happens imo-- Most other cichlids are easy to breed vs. Cyphotilapia.
1) Even fry are expensive, especially gibberosa. Frontosa (Burundi types) used to be also, but have come down over the years.

2) Generation turnover is quick in other species, less than a year for many species, not much more for many others. BUT-- a given group of Cyphotilapia raised from fry or juvies typically needs to be 3 yrs or older to produce fry-- females can produce eggs @ 18 months, it's the males that need to get older, 4 or 5 yrs as often as 3. (Imported wild sometimes breed at smaller sizes, which has led to the theory they grow slower in the wild and are older at a given size.)

3) Cyphotilapia produce fry in the tens, not hundreds or more like many other cichlids. You might get 20-30 fry per spawn, sometimes less, sometimes more. 40-60 can happen, but may get a "wow" on a forum because most don't get so many.

So here's what often happens.
1) Someone spends a lot of money on 1.5-2 inch babies. Waits 3-5 yrs for a spawn. Finally gets anywhere from a handful to something in the teens for their first successful spawn, often after stripping the eggs and spending a few weeks incubating themselves before they have free swimming babies. Gets some that might have mooning. Asks on a forum if this will go away with time-- the answer is yes it can, but not always.
--And now they're going to cull less than perfect offspring? Before they're sure what they'll look like as adults, which may or may not be perfectly fine? Almost no one does.

2) A commercial breeder has a frontosa breeding operation, maybe many generations from wild. Parent quality isn't great, not much color, imperfect bars. It's all cost vs. profit and they sell whatever they produce, including messed up bars.

3) Certain breeders take Burundi with messed up bars, selectively breed them to create blotches instead of bars, give them fanciful names like "black widow" or "panda" frontosa, market them as something special and sell them for crazy prices. :)
Last edited:


MFK Moderators
Staff member
MFK Member
Jun 7, 2007
Isla Taboga Panama via Milwaukee
Over breeding from the same strain causes poor genetics.
In nature only the best, strongest, and most likely to be chosen by a mate, survive for the continuation of the species, and in many cases this may only be 1 individual from each spawn.
In aquariums (AKA commercial breeding) a large number from a spawn survive, 50 or 100, even more.
This allows sub par individuals to be sold, bred, and pass on genes.
And in many cases breeders choose individuals by looks alone (color, nuchal hump size, short body, popular deformities of the day, the list goes on), this does not take into account, health genes, immunities passed on, or other important invisible factors, that may be lost when only looking at outward factors.
In some cases fish are sold before certain deformities appear, and should have been culled out.