Photo by Ken Schwarz
The Neolamprologus brichardi is a beautiful Tanganyika cichlid. These fishes have a light brown to creamy colored body with long flowing fins edged in a brilliant white. Their gill covers are decorated with a black stripe along with a gold spot and electric blue markings. Generally, the males have longer fins and are larger than the females. Although they don’t grow too big – up to 5 inches – they have big personalities!
In their native Lake Tanganyika they live in large schools among the rocky outcroppings where they feed on small crustaceans. Not only do these fishes live together but they also help one another in the rearing and protection of the fry, like a communal day care center. In the home aquarium Neolamprologus brichardi definitely requires lots of rocks and caves for each member to call his own.. These fish can be quite territorial so the bigger the tank the better – with a minimum size of 30 gallons to start.
A fine gravel or sandy bottom should also be provided for these fish along with a good filtration system and regular water changes in order to keep these guys in top form. The temperature in the aquarium should be kept between 76-82 F with a pH of 8.0-8.6. These little cichlids are omnivorous and readily accept all types of fresh and prepared foods. Besides feeding a variety of protein sources (brine shrimp, bloodworms, etc.) it is important to also include vegetable based foods in their diet (spirulina flakes, specially formulated cichlid pellets, etc.). As mentioned earlier, these fishes will vigorously defend their territories, especially when spawning, so they should kept in a species only tank or with fish that are larger and that can defend themselves.
Breeding the Neolamprologus brevis is relatively easy and fascinating. It is best to begin by obtaining a group of juveniles and raising them together. Once they have reached sexual maturity they will pair off and a male and female will form a monogamous bond for life. When the female is ready to spawn she will lay her eggs in a cave and then the male will fertilize them. The eggs can number up to a hundred or more! Both parents, and even older generations of fry, will care for the current spawn for up to several months. The fry can be fed newly hatched brine shrimp as well as finely ground flake foods.
Compatible: Lake Tanganykan similar size, and African Catfish.