The Dogtooth Cichlid Cynotilapia afra (previously Paratilapia afra) is a favorite for many cichlid aquarists because of their beautiful color patterns. They come in a variety of natural variations, depending on where they originate from, and can also change color depending on mood. The “excited” spawning colors of these Mbunas are very intense and make quite an interesting display.
This fish has many of the same wonderful qualities found in other African cichlids, but as its name suggests it is identified and distinguished because of its teeth. Its teeth are unicuspid rather than the bicuspid teeth seen in many cichlids of this size. The common name “dogtooth cichlid” is derived from its distinctive teeth. This is unique to just this genus and is a distinction sets it apart from all the other Lake Malawi Mbunas. In fact, in the genus name Cynotilapia, the term ‘Cyno’ means ‘dog’ in Latin. From its species name are derived the common names Afra Cichlid, Red Top Afra, and White Top Afra.