Consider us your new best friend in the aquarium hobby


A  live stream on YouTube each Wednesday (audio and visual) week, and the release audio only on Spotify on the Sunday.

Is light-hearted fun, information, and different views on all things aquarium and tropical fish tank-related

Tips and tricks that we have learned over the years of keeping tropical fish.


Sold out

African Butterfly Cichlid


African Butterfly Cichlid

Anomalochromis thomasi

Native Location: Sierra Leone, Liberia & Guinea

Climate: Tropical

Current Size:

Maximum Size: 8cm

Temperament: Peaceful but territorial when breeding.

Diet: Omnivore

Breeding: Easy

Temperature Range: 23-27C (73-80F)

Preferred pH Range: 5.5-7.5

Minimum Aquarium Size: 80cm x 30cm x 40cm, 90l+

Potential Tankmates: Tetras, Barbs, Plecos

Care Level: Easy

Anomalochromis thomasi, often called the "dwarf African cichlid," is a small, vibrant freshwater tropical fish native to West Africa. Endowed with a striking appearance and engaging behaviour, this species brings a unique charm to any home aquarium.

The dwarf African cichlid usually grows to an average length of about 3 inches (7.6 cm). It boasts a slender, elongated body, primarily a beautiful brownish colour, adorned with three prominent black vertical stripes. The eyes of Anomalochromis thomasi are a captivating red, providing a striking contrast against its body. This species is known for its active and engaging behaviour, often seen exploring all corners of the tank with curiosity and zest.

Ideal Aquarium Setup

The African butterfly cichlid thrives in a well-maintained aquarium closely mimicking its natural habitat. To create the perfect environment for this species, it is important to provide a good filtration system to keep the water clean and clear and ample hiding spots and swimming rooms. This can be achieved by incorporating carefully chosen rocks, driftwood, and dense vegetation into the tank decor. By recreating their natural habitat in detail, you can ensure these beautiful cichlids feel right at home and flourish in your aquarium.

Tank Mate Compatibility

Anomalochromis thomasi, also known as the African butterfly cichlid, is generally peaceful but can exhibit territorial behavior, particularly during breeding periods. To ensure a harmonious aquarium environment, it is recommended to house them with other species of similar size and temperament. Tank mates such as tetras, barbs, and other non-aggressive cichlids usually coexist well with these beautiful dwarf cichlids. However, it is important to avoid pairing them with larger, more aggressive species, as they may become victims of bullying or potential harm. By carefully selecting compatible tank mates, you can create a thriving aquatic community for these fascinating fish.


Anomalochromis thomasi is an omnivore and has a varied diet. They enjoy a mix of high-quality flake or pellet food such as Sera Insect Nature. Occasional treats of live or frozen foods such as brine shrimp, daphnia, or bloodworms. Regular feeding with a balanced diet helps to maintain their health and vibrant colouration.


Anomalochromis thomasi can be an intriguing endeavour for the aquarium hobbyist. Being a monogamous species, these cichlids form pairs and exhibit bi-parental care, meaning both parents participate in nurturing the offspring.

When ready to breed, the female will lay her eggs on a flat surface, like a rock or driftwood. The male then fertilizes the eggs. Both parents guard the eggs zealously, showcasing their strong parental instincts.

The eggs usually hatch within 2-3 days, and the fry becomes free swimming in about a week. During this period, it's essential to provide them with suitable nutrition, such as finely crushed flake food or newly hatched brine shrimp.

Hobbyists can also undertake selective breeding to enhance certain traits. However, this requires a deeper understanding of fish genetics and a controlled environment.

Remember, breeding should always be conducted responsibly, keeping the well-being of the fish in mind. Overbreeding or irresponsible breeding can lead to health issues and overcrowded tanks.

In conclusion, the dwarf African cichlid, with its attractive appearance and lively personality, makes a delightful addition to any freshwater aquarium. With proper care and attention to their environment, diet, and tank mates, Anomalochromis thomasi can thrive and bring much joy to their keepers.

All our fish are quarantined on arrival for two weeks. During this time, they are treated for any possible diseases and given a complete health check  to make sure they are health, happy and eating well before being placed in our display aquariums, ready for sale.

Dead on Arrival (DOA) Policy: In the unfortunate event that your fish arrives dead, please follow these steps: Within 12 hours of the delivery, take clear, unopened bag pictures showing the deceased fish. Send these photographs and your order number to our customer service email at or to our Facebook page and we will then offer a refund or store credit for the cost of the fish. 

Two-Week Guarantee Policy: We stand behind the health and quality of our fish, which is why we offer a two-week guarantee starting from the day of delivery. If your fish dies within this time frame, adhere to the following procedure: Take clear photos of the deceased fish. Using a reliable test kit, document via a dated photo, water parameters (pH, ammonia, nitrate, nitrite levels). Please email us the photographs, water parameters, and order number to or our Facebook page. After reviewing your claim, if approved, we will issue a store credit for the cost of the fish. Our two-week guarantee does not cover fish deaths due to unsuitable water conditions, incompatible tank mates or “disasters” i.e. a heater overheating. We recommend thoroughly researching each fish species' needs before introducing them to your aquarium to prevent such situations. 

 Freight Charges: Please note that shipping or freight charges are non-refundable under all circumstances. We hope this guide makes our refund and guarantee process more understandable. If you have any questions or need further clarification, please get in touch with us at We are always happy to assist. Thank you for choosing The Fish Room. Happy fish keeping! 

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review