The Red Empress is one of the most colorful fish in the cichlid hobby because of their rainbow like colors. They are from lake Malawi, but there are a number of color variations depending on where in the lake they originated from. The females however are not colorful like the males, instead they stay mostly silver with black horizontal strips going across their body. This is an ideal fish for the beginners fish keeper who can provide a large enough tank. The minimum suggested tank size is 75 gallons, but being Haplochromine cichlids they need a lot of swimming room. Swim space is very important for these since they like the open water, do not overcrowd your tank!
Males are generally orange-red in the body. Depending on the location where they are found, some males will develop a brownish-red color on the anal fin. Some specimens will have blue and yellow in the body, and there are some markings that are not always visible. There are also captive bred color morphs that are very red, such as the ‘Super Red Empress’ developed in Europe.
The Red Empress is an omnivore that feeds on aufwuchs, a loose stringy algae that is attached to rocks, zooplankton and small invertebrates. In the aquarium they need spirulina based flake foods as well as some meaty foods such as frozen or freeze dried mysis and krill. The majority of their diet should be vegetable based. Their coloring can be enhanced by food products that are a highly nutritious herbivorous content, and have added pigmentation qualities.
Here are some pictures I took of my 2 male and 1 female.