This fish is also known as the Malawi Barracuda.
It’s very hard to find information on this fish because not a lot of people have them. Very hard or impossible to get your hands on, even if you try to search online. If you somehow are able to find them online, their pricing are very high (average $25-$30 for 1”), and shipping is not included which is about $35-$60 depends on company and location.
I have been keeping my group of Barracudas for almost 2 years now, the ones I have are F1 (babies from 2 wild-caught parent). Below are some info if you want to learn more about them. All of the information below are from my personal experience.
General – The Malawi Barracudas are similar to the saltwater barracuda minus the size. They both have an elongated body and pointy sharp teeth. People don’t buy the Malawi Barracuda for color because they will stay silver with yellow fins. They buy them for the rarity and collection purposes.
Tank Requirement – when they are small, you can keep them in any size tank. As they start to grow, please start to look for a bigger tank. I don’t recommend any tank that has a narrow width, they need to be able to turn! These fish can get very big, so the ideal size should be minimum 125G. They don’t require caves, I have not seen any hide in caves or rocks since keeping them. They like open water, so don’t over crowd your tank with rocks and caves, open water is best. And as far as substrate goes, I don’t think it matter much, but I only use sands in all my tanks. I stay away from gravel since it is harder to clean.
Compatibility – I have them with my peacocks and haps in the same tank. I don’t know if they will be able to mix with Mbunas or other South American cichlids since those are a lot more aggressive.
Aggression – Despite their name and pointy sharp teeth, the Malawi Barracudas are very peaceful. They do not chase fish or show any aggression at all. You will only see aggression towards other Barracudas (or other fish) when it is breeding time.
Size – I think they will max out at 10”-14”. They grow pretty quick from experience, within a year you can expect them to grow at least 3-4 inches.
Male vs Female – Male and female Barracudas look identical! There is no way to tell. I have them side by side and I could not tell the male apart from the female. With that being said, if you have a group of them, you WILL be able to tell, and that is by size. Females are a lot smaller than males. This is the only way I’m able to tell them apart within my colony.
Breeding – My colony is showing signs of breeding activities. This starts when the male reaches 7-8 inches and female at around 5” inches. So, they need to get to a very good size in order for you to start seeing any breeding activities. The dominant male will fight off other males and the female will start to shake her body and dance. During this time, the dominant male will get darker around the fins area.
Diet – I feed them high quality flakes when young, and slowly transition into a high quality pellet as they grow. At the beginning during the transition period they would not eat the pellets at all and demand flakes. I was able to fix this by not feeding them a day in between and force the pellets. If they don’t eat for a day, they’re not going to die guys. Fish can go on for days without eating, so no need to worry and go back to flakes just because they refused to eat for couple days. Now, all they eat are pellets and they go crazy over them as well. Feed them a food that has high protein content, I recommend Omega one cichlid pellets. I feed this to all my peacocks and haps, great food!
Characteristics – They like to swim or stand still vertically most of the time. This is probably due to in the wild they are a deep water fish and often look up for prey. This behavior is kind of confirmed when I feed them. They don’t gather at the top like other fish when you open the lid, rather they stay afar and bolt towards the surface for food. If you feed them floating pellets, this is going to be very messy, unless you close the lid as soon as you drop the pellets in.
Important information – their scales seem to be more fragile than other cichlids. So make sure you don’t put any sharp objects in the tank. Also, since they have long pointy teeth, be very careful when catching them with a net, their teeth can get stuck between the net and cause severe damage to their mouth. This has happened to me, it takes time for them to heal, but you would want to stay away from it if you can.