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Neolamprologus brichardi “Rutunga”- Burundi (Poll, 1974)

New Photos - February 2005

Photo by G.J.Reclos / MCH - Click on the image to get the high resolution picture

new photo- October 2004

Photo by G.J.Reclos / MCH - Click on the image to get the high resolution picture

A tank full of fry belonging to different broods. Photo G.J.Reclos / MCH (August 2004) - Click on the image to get the high resolution picture

Scientific name: Neolamprologus brichardiRutunga

Trade name: Brichardi, Princes of Burundi

Natural habitat: Rocky shores of the lake Tanganyika

Food in the lake: Small crustaceans, zooplanktonic organisms, which they find in the open waters very close to their territories, to the water level.

Feeding in captivity: Mix of fine quality small pellets, flakes, Artemia salina, etc. in small portions (feeding sparingly). No mammalian meat products!

Behavior in captivity (in my tank): Since they establish their colony in a system, the other tank mates will have a really big problem and very hard times with them. They tent to occupy as larger areas as they can defend and they will chase, harass and kill any intruder. The dominant ♂ of the colony patrols the territory and keeps order with the help of the dominant ♀. Due to lack of space I was keeping a small colony of them, consisting from six young animals – two (2) ♂♂ with four (4) ♀♀ – along with a pair of Altolamprologus compressiceps, eight (8) Paracyprichromis nigripinnis, four (4) N. leleupi longior and two (2) Synodontis nigriventris, in a tank measuring a volume of three hundred liters (300 l). All the housed animals were juveniles, but the N. brichardi, from the first time defined as their territory a rock pile in the middle of the system. This is where the problems started with the rest fishes. I started removing the other tankmates from the moment they managed to kill one of the two S. nigriventris. When the dominant ♂ spawned with one of the two larger ♂♂, three individuals (him and two ♂♂) they were defending furiously the territory of the colony, which had gained a rather large perimeter and was still expanding. They didn’t tolerate even the P. nigripinnis, which used to move at least forty centimeters (40 cm) over the rock pile of the colony. I haven’t observed any kind of aggression between the adult fishes, which were working as a team than like competitive, protecting all together the broods. Within three months I had at least four (4) batches of fry of different sizes. The batches had – minimum – about fifty (50) fry to – maximum – about a hundred and twenty (120). Their babies had no problem between them. Additionally I could claim that I had observed that the larger fry were taking care of the smaller ones. Of course, after the development of this fact, not even me I was allowed to put my hands in the tank. Babies are very poor growers, although this depends on water quality and nutrients are given to them.

Tank mate: The only thing I could advice is keeping them alone in species tank, unless a really large tank is available, due to their aggression, although the territories they keep are not very extended and the animals avoid to abandon them for a long time and distances. Even a large system should be carefully decorated to house other species with N. brichardi “Rutunga”. Fish belong to the genera Tropheus, Petrochromis, Etermodus etc, should be avoided due to their temper and feeding needs.

Maximum size: Varies a lot and depends on water quality and foods’ supplies. They reach about twelve centimeters (12 cm).

Aquarium: Systems with not less than two hundred liters  (>200 l) of volume, with a lot of rocks (vertically heaped), reaching the water surface if possible. Caves, hangs and crevices are fine for them. A sandy substratum is essential. pH between pH = 8,6 και pH = 9,0. Temperature around twenty five Celsius (25° C). One should pay a LOT OF ATTENTION when comes the partial water changes’ matter. They should never exceed twenty per cent (20%) of the system’s total water volume every two (2) to three (3) weeks. The fresh water that one introduces in their system should be very close to the given values of their tank. Subdued lights are also preferred. 

An egg batch of N. brichardi “Rutunga” (Burundi), attached on the side of the plates of the UGF that supports this particular system. Notice the distinctive olive green color of the eggs. This batch measured one hundred and twenty two (122) fertile eggs.

My adult Neolamprologus brichardi, donated by S. Fluntzis. Click on the image for a larger picture. Photo G.J.Reclos /MCH

Some of the fry swimming in a 100 liter tank. Photo G.J.Reclos / MCH Click on the image for a larger picture

Photo G.J.Reclos / MCH (Februyary 2004) - Click on the images to get the high resolution pictures

 Other information:

The N. brichardi complex includes – at least – eight species (N. brichardi, N. buescheri, N crassus, N. falcicula, N. pulcher, N. savoyi and N. splendens). N. brichardi are foundι in Burundi, thus their trade name, while two more local morphs occur at Tanzania (Kigoma island), known as ως N. brichardi “Kasegera” and Zaire (Cape Kiku). In the tank they will move big quantities of the substratum and they shall reform the aquarium, according to their needs, so avoid supporting such tanks with UGF’s, as the animals will dig them up (inefficient filtration) and their fry will sucked (see the above photo). They spawn in caves or under rocks. The fry hatch in about two or three days and depends to water temperature. From the time the fry become free swimmers they may fed on pulverized flakes (good quality ones) and Artemia salina (either newly hatched nauplii, or flakes and freeze dried ones), while all the adults of the colony are protecting them, constructing a perimeter which they defend with a lot of fierceness. It is advisable not to house species of the N. brichardi complex that resemble a lot each other. THEY DO NOT TOLERATE temperatures over twenty eight, twenty nine Celsius (28° C - 29° C).

 Text and photos by MCH/Αndreas K. Iliopoulos

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