African Cichlids – Yellowfin Borleyi (Copadichromis borleyi)

Updated on January 30, 2021 by

Popularly also known as the Red Fin Kadango, it is a stunning fish that will bring beauty and aesthetic colorful display to your tank especially when the male is moving along with a school of females.

This is a peaceful but active fish species that requires a lot of swimming space to showcase its exquisite personality that is worthy to behold.

Quick stats – Yellowfin Borleyi Cichlid

OriginLake Malawi
Max size7” / 18 cm
AquariumMin 70 gallon / 260 liters
Water76-82° F / 24-28° C

KH 10-15, pH 7.5-8.6

Care levelEasy
ColorsRed, blue

Yellowfin Borleyi Cichlid description

The Red Fin Kadango (Copadichromis borleyi) otherwise called as Red Fin Borleyi Cichlid, Yellow Fin Borleyi Cichlid, Haplochromis Borleyi Redfin, or simply Kadango, is native to the lake Malawi. They are peaceful and hardy fish of the Cichlidae family, though they can be aggressive during mating, in a bid to protect their territory.

They are active swimmers and require a lot of swimming space to swim and live comfortably.

Depending on the location within their natural habitat, their coloration may vary. Usually, they come in blue, yellow, red and gold colors.

They exhibit sexual dimorphism as the males are much larger and colorful than the females. The male also possesses longer fins than the females. The male ventral fins are larger with egg spot markings.

The dorsal and ventral fins have a light-blue edging and the head is beautified with a metallic blue coloration with a yellow to red flanks.
However, the females are notably silver to brown in color, possessing three dark spots along their sides.

The juvenile sexes look just the same, possessing a single shape and form. Their varying differences become prominent and visible as they mature. The male will grow to 5-8’’ (13-18cm) while the female will grow to 4-5’’ (10-13cm).

They don’t do well in acidic medium; rather they thrive in highly mineralized alkaline water just a bit higher than the neutral pH level.

They are shoaling species, but the males can be territorial too. They are not considered community fish and would rather be kept alone with its own species.

Yellowfin Borleyi Cichlid in the natural habitat

The Red Fin Kadango is native and widespread in Lake Malawi, also occurring in the coasts of Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania. They are often found in warm, alkaline and hard regions. They are also found in areas with rocky substrates.

They are shoaling species, often found in the middle and deep water and usually swimming in school with other species. In the wild, they often feed on zooplankton.

Yellowfin Borleyi Cichlid in the ideal aquarium

Copadichromis borleyi

Red Fin Kadango are open water species and active swimmers requiring a lot of swimming space. Setting the ideal environment for these species would require a minimum 70-80 gallon tank to suitably house a harem group of one male with 3-4 females.

The water should be warm with a temperature of 24-26˚C (75.0-79.0F), slightly alkaline with a pH range of 7.5-8.5 and hardness of 10-25 dGH. To keep an eye on the optimal water parameters, we recommend our blog post where you can find top water test kits available on the market.

To maintain a high hygiene and a safe tank, the water should be well filtered and changed every 2 weeks replacing up to 30% of the water at each interval. This will also help to improve the coloration of the male species.

Sand substrates decorated with lots of ocean rock would create a natural home feel for the Red Fin Kadango, but enough open sand substrate should be allowed to serve as a potential spawning spot. A coral sand or Aragonite is highly recommended as they will help to keep the water hard and alkaline.

Rock decor will also provide hiding places and spawning sites for the species. It also helps them to create distinctive territories. Floating and ornament plants can also be used to add decor to the tank and provide shelter for these species.

Too much driftwood should be avoided, as driftwood reduces the pH level of water and these species don’t thrive in an acidic medium.

They do not prefer strong lighting, so a moderate normal lighting would just be perfect for the tank.

As peaceful species, they are suitably housed with same peaceful species adaptive with their water conditions. Suitable tankmates of the Red Fin Kadango include Synodontis Catfish, Haps, peaceful Mbuna, and other Aulonocara species.

They are aggressive to species with similar colorations and size, especially species with blue coloration, so such species should be greatly avoided.

Save for selective cross breeding, they should not be housed with other Copadichromis species as they can easily hybridize with each other.

Yellowfin Borleyi Cichlid feeding

In the wild, they are planktivorous and often feed on zooplankton and smaller micro organisms that float in the water. This requires feeding them with such foods including protozoa, larvae, and crustaceans such as crabs, shrimps, lobsters, barnacles and woodlice.

However, in captivity, these species are not fussy eaters and will feed on a variety of meaty live and frozen foods. Brine shrimp, Mysis Shrimp, daphnia, krill and chopped prawns are great meaty food for the Red Fin Kadango.

Some vegetables such as blanched spinach can be provided to meet their veggies needs. Also their diet should be supplemented with high quality and vitamin enriched flakes and pellets.

Yellowfin Borleyi Cichlid breeding

Breeding the Red Fin Kadango is very easy as they can readily breed in the aquarium. However, to improve breeding, a breeding tank can be provided having an alkaline water with a pH level around 8.0-8.5, temperature of 25-27˚C (77-80F).

Enough open sand space should be provided to allow for a potential spawning site.

A harem of one male to 3-4 females can be introduced. They should be adequately fed with a high quality diet to induce breeding.

When the male is ready to spawn, he will prepare the spawning site usually by cleaning a flat rock surface. They will display an intense coloration to entice the female and they can be quite aggressive in this pursuit.

Complete breeding process of these species takes place in a typical Malawi mouthbrooding pattern. Firstly, if the female is ready to spawn, they will lay her eggs in batches upon the breeding spot prepared by the male. After laying their eggs, they immediately collect their eggs in their mouth.

After that, they will get attracted to the egg spot color on the male anal fin, thinking they are eggs she missed to pick. In her bid to add the supposed eggs to her mouth, the male deposits his sperm into her mouth, after which the female releases another batch of eggs. This process continues until she is carrying a full brood.

The female will carry these broods for a period of 3-4 weeks during which the eggs hatch and they are released as free swimming fry. However, if the female becomes stressed, she might spit out premature eggs and probably eat them.

Recommended only for expert aquarists, the premature fry can be artificially removed from the mouth of the female at about 2 weeks period and they are adequately cared for and raised to maturity.

As soon as they are released by the mother, the fry are large enough to be fed crushed dried food and Artemia nauplii.

Yellowfin Borleyi Cichlid​

To conclude

The Red Fin Kadango is a hardy and peaceful species of the African Cichlids family. They are native to Lake Malawi and come in varieties of colors depending on their locations.

They thrive in warmer and slightly alkaline water conditions.

They are planktivorous and often feed on zooplankton and smaller micro organisms that float in the water.

Breeding is very easy, as they can easily breed in their aquarium tank, provided they are adequately fed and they exhibit a peculiar breeding pattern.

With proper care and adequate water conditions, the Red Fin Kadango can grow up to 7.1” (18 cm) whilst living up to 10 years.

Yellowfin Borleyi Cichlid FAQs

What is the maximum size of the Red Fin Kadango?

The Red Fin Kadango can grow to a maximum size of 7.1’’ (18cm).

What are suitable tankmates of the Red Fin Kadango?

Suitable tankmates of the Red Fin Kadango include Synodontis Catfish, Haps, peaceful Mbunas, and other Aulonocara species.

What are the food requirements of the Red Fin Kadango?

They are planktivorous and often feed on zooplankton including protozoa, larvae, and crustaceans such as crabs, shrimps, lobsters, barnacles and woodlice.

Blanched Spinach will meet their veggies need, while Brine shrimp, Mysis Shrimp, daphnia, krill and chopped prawns are meaty food for the Red Fin Kadango.

What is the lifespan of the Red Fin Kadango Cichlid?

With proper care and adequate tank condition, the Red Fin Kadango can live up to 10 years.