Max Size: 7cm

Transvestite Dwarf Cichlid (Nanochromis transvestitus)

Transvestite Dwarf Cichlids, Nanochromis transvestitus, are very demanding and challenging to keep and breed and require experience and patience. Therefore, these Cichlids are not recommended for the beginner aquarist.

This Cichlid is relatively peaceful with other species that can live in the same water parameters that they require. Ideal tankmates include smaller Tetras, some South American Tetras and other Dwarf Cichlids.

However, these fish can be pretty aggressive towards their own kind, and dominant males can be highly aggressive and may viciously attack non-receptive females and other males. Bonded pairs only seem to last temporarily, and it is not uncommon to have an ordinarily nice pair suddenly at war. So if you do plan on keeping more than one pair, then these fish will require a large tank with many hiding places.

The Transvestite Dwarf cichlid's primary body colour is greyish-green with seven broken, dark, vertical stripes. Males display this characteristic pattern, whereas females do not exhibit it. Females, however, have striking violet abdomens and unpaired black fins with an intense white stripe. Additionally, the male is more slender, and the edge of the caudal fin ends at a point.


Transvestite Dwarf Cichlid
Transvestite Dwarf Cichlid
Transvestite Dwarf Cichlid
Quick Facts
Scientific NameNanochromis transvestitus
Year Described1984
Other NamesWest African Dwarf Cichlid
OriginsDemocratic Republic of the Congo
Aquarium LevelMiddle
DifficultyIntermediate - Advanced
Best kept asPairs
Lifespan3 - 5 years
Water Parameters
Water TypeFreshwater
PH4.0 - 7.0
GH8 - 15
75 - 80℉
23.9 - 26.7℃


In the home aquarium, the Transvestite Dwarf Cichlid will readily accept most good quality dried foods such as granules, flakes and sinking pellets. These modern food products have been developed to provide all adequate nutrition to maintain your fish's health and dietary requirements.

Providing additional foodstuffs such as live, frozen, and freeze-dried meals such as bloodworm, daphnia, and tubifex once or twice a week will provide additional benefits to your fish's health and well-being but is not a must for this fish.

It should be noted that bloodworms should only be given as an occasional treat and should not be used as the staple diet as they are difficult for fish to digest and can potentially cause blockages.

This fish is an omnivore in the wild, meaning it will consume some vegetable matter. Although most modern fish foods take this into account and include them in their products, you can still supplement your fish's diet with blanched vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, and zucchini. Ensure you do not overfeed your fish and remove any leftovers the following day.

Sexual Dimorphism

It is effortless to distinguish male from female Transvestite Dwarf Cichlids. Males are much less colourful and more slender than females and also possess longer caudal and anal fins that end in a point. In contrast, the females are overall more intensely coloured with more obvious patterning and a redder abdomen than that of the males.

Other Cichlids of interest

African Butterfly Cichlid(Anomalochromis thomasi)
Banded Apistogramma(Apistogramma bitaeniata)
Blue Panda Apistogramma(Apistogramma panduro, Apistogramma pandurini)
Bolivian Ram Cichlid(Mikrogeophagus altispinosus)
Checkerboard Cichlid(Dicrossus filamentosus)
Cockatoo Dwarf Cichlid(Apistogramma cacatuoides)
View all Cichlids
Date Added: 26/03/2021 - Updated: 31/08/2022 14:39:47