species comes from Lake Tanganyika although
it is not endemic in the strict sense of the word (also found in
Tanzania and Eastern Africa). However, since its water needs are the
same to those of cichlids from Lake Tanganyika it is regarded as
part of this group. First described by Boulenger 1898. The
characteristic (strange) shape of this fish makes it a valuable
addition to all Tanganyican cichlid tanks.
aggressive for its size (see bottom photo with a juvenile Nimbochromis
linni) it thrives in the correct water
chemistry (alkaline pH preferably in the 7,8 - 8.5 range, high GH
preferably over 10). As with all Tnaganyikan cichlids, large water
changes should be avoided as the fish doesn't tolerate changes in
the water temperature. It is suggested to perform regular small
changes and, if the water temperature can't be matched during the
change, use warmer rather than colder water. An egglayer (not a
mouthbrooder), the female finds an opening too small for the male to
enter and chooses it as its spawning site. A way to help this
process is by providing empty (washed thoroughly with hot water)
shells of various sizes so the female will choose the one that fits
it best. Another advantage of using shells is that they help GH to
remain high. May spawn very frequently (once every 45 days) if
conditioned correctly. During spawning the fish is very shy and the
process may be easily overlooked by the aquarist. The female may lay
as many as 300 eggs and then she guards the eggs and the fry while
the male guards the territory.
Males may reach 11
cm in length although fully grown males may be as small as 5 cm.
Females are somewhat smaller. Males can be recognized by their
longer finnage and higher bodies. Despite its relatively small size
there are two factors which call for a spacious tank: the species'
aggression and the fact that it is a cichlid. It is ideal for
Tanganyika community tanks and can be housed with Malawi or Victoria
cichlids of comparable size and temperament. Since this fish is not
very aggressive compared to Tropheus sp. Or Melanochromis sp. a
careful selection is a must taking into account its relatively small
size. Will accept any kind of commercial food in an aquarium.
Although a predator in nature this behavior is very rarely seen in
aquariums (which doesn't mean that it shouldn't be taken into
account). The fish can't tolerate high temperatures and it is not
rare to have high rate of losses at temperatures near (or slightly
over) the 30C mark. In comparison, Malawi cichlids are more tolerant
in this aspect (at least for a limited period of time).