Neolamprologus brevis

Aquarium fish: Neolamprologus brevis (Neolamprologus brevis)
Size: 6 cm
Origin: Tanganyika
Water temperature: 23-27 ° C
Aquarium volume: 40 l

Neolamprologus brevis (Neolamprologus brevis ) – a small, freshwater aquarium fish from the cichlid family, easily available and probably the most popular shellfish in Poland.


Africa. Endemic species, it is found only in Lake Tanganyika. It lives in quite deep waters from 6 to 60 m deep, in places where there are empty snail shells. Compared to other shells, however, there are fewer shells in the places where short shells occur and they are rarely distributed.

Characteristics and disposition

Body slightly laterally flattened, usually brown-beige, with vertical stripes. A shiny stain is visible on the gill covers. There are many color variations, e.g. sunspot, katabe, sambia, therefore it is difficult to clearly define their coloration. Dorsal and caudal fins edged in light orange, anal fins black.

The vertical rear edge of the caudal fin is characteristic of this species. One of the smaller shells. The male grows up to 6 cm in length, the smaller female up to 4 cm. The gender of the young is very difficult to distinguish. Adult males are visibly larger than females, and their pelvic, dorsal and anal fins are slightly elongated and sharper.

They form pairs and, interestingly, are the only ones who live together in one shell. They form a colony in greater numbers. Quite timid, but at the same time territorial and aggressive during the breeding season, when vigorously defends a small (up to 25 cm) territory near the house. They live 8-10 years in the right conditions.

Nutrition and feeding

In nature, they feed on plankton.

In the aquarium, they are not picky and can be fed live, frozen and dry food, supplemented with plant foods with spirulina, peas or spinach. It is best to feed several times a day in small portions.


For a couple, a 40-liter aquarium (larger for colonies) is sufficient, with a sandy surface, a large open space for swimming and, most importantly, large empty shells. The substrate should be at least 5 cm, because they love to dig through it, from time to time, completely changing the decor of the tank. They require hard and alkaline water, preferably in the range of 8.6-9.5 pH and a temperature of 24-26 C.

As in the case of other lake Tanganyika cichlids, the water must be of excellent quality and well aerated, and its chemical properties must be stable. They can be kept with other species that inhabit other areas in the aquarium. A good company will be, for example, the Princess of Burundi , smaller capillaries ( serpentine , curly ) and fish of the genus Cyprichromis usually swimming in the depths .


Reproduction fairly easy. Seashells can reproduce in social aquariums, but if we want to raise a larger number of fry, a separate tank will be required.

Fish must be provided with a sufficient number of large shells in which to lay their eggs. The breeding water should be hard, alkaline, between 8.0-8.5 pH and 26-27 C. Breeders recommend 2-3 females per one male as they can rub against many females at the same time. Before the planned spawning, the fish are more often fed with live or frozen food. The female, dancing in front of the entrance to the previously selected shell, attracts the male’s attention.

As soon as she manages to lure the male, she enters the hideout and spawns. If the male cannot swim in, the female leans out and, by the movement of her fins, “sucks” the male’s dandelion inside the shell. After fertilization, the male does not take part in the care of the eggs and is not welcome in the vicinity of the female. After laying eggs, the female covers the entrance most of the time with her body while fanning it, ensuring the supply of fresh, oxygenated water inside. Hatch within 24 hours and the larvae begin to swim after 6-7 days.

With each passing day, they move further and further away from home, visiting the aquarium. The fry of short shells are large enough to immediately accept brine shrimp larvae or micro nematodes. Parents do not harm their offspring, but other fish in the colony may do so.


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