LAKE TANGANYIKA CICHLIDS
Lake Tanganyika has over 150 species belonging to more than 50 genera have been described,
although many undescribed and undiscovered species are likely to exist.
Geologists believe that Lake Tanganyika was formed 7-10 millions years ago, making it considerably
older than Lake Malawi.
Lake Tanganyika is located along the East African Rift and creates the borders between
Tanzania and Zaire.
This elongated, rocky lake is 440 miles (708 km) long and sometimes as wide as 50 miles
Lake Tanganyika is a deep lake, with some parts exceeding the depths of 4,820 feet (1470
other lakes of its size, the water of Lake Tanganyika does circulate and a thermocline is not created.
phenomenon gives rise to a theory that Lake Tanganyika could, at its extreme depths, be heated by the earth's core.
though the lake has a, relatively speaking, uniform temperature, most fish species only inhabit the first 450 feet
(137 m) from the water's surface.
The surface temperature of Lake Tanganyika ranges from 73-88°F (23-31°C), although
most fish inhabit areas with a temperature from 75-84°F (24-29°C).
The water is medium hard with a dH from
7-11, and the pH varies from 7.8 to 8.8.
Lake Tanganyika cichlids have adapted to the ecological niches of the lake in order to
Thus cichlids of Lake Tanganyika vary greatly in body shape, unlike the uniform shape of their counterparts
in Lake Malawi.
Feeding habits of Lake Tanganyika cichlids also differ.
An interesting example of a specialization
of feeding behavior, is the eating of the scales and fins of other fish.
SIZE: Most Lake Tanganyika cichlids range in size from 2" (5 cm) to 14" (35.5
In most cases, a 32" (80 cm) or 30 gallon (114 L) tank is sufficient for a small community
of Lake Tanganyika cichlids.
In larger tanks, a greater variety of fish, including those from different biotopes, can
The tank should be set-up as the fish's natural biotope.
In most cases, a Tanganyika cichlid
will fall into one of two scenarios.
(1) A great deal of fish inhabit the rocky shore areas of Lake Tanganyika.
fish should be kept in a tank with a rocky set-up.
Rocks can be used to construct caves, overhangs, tunnels, and crevices.
structures serve as fine spawning sites and, more importantly, are essential for harassed fish, as hiding places.
fish will quickly establish territories among the caves, thus it is important to provide a shelter for each fish.
(2) For cichlids that inhabit sandy regions; a sand substrate with a scattering of snail
shells, should be used.
These sand-dwelling cichlids will seek
shelter in these shells and also use them as
Regardless of the biotope, all Lake Tanganyika cichlids must be provided with a large open
Use a filter that provides little or no current, as Lake Tanganyika has little.
both groups a coral sand bottom should be used to buffer the water at an alkaline level.
WATER: As mentioned in the introduction of Lake Tanganyika
cichlids, a water temperature of 75-84°F (24-29°C) is tolerated.
A pH from 7.5-9.0, and a water hardness
from 7-18 dH is acceptable. SB: As with many other cichlids, Lake Tanganyika cichlids exhibit aggressive behavior.
aggression can be dispersed by keeping a good number of fish in a tank with plenty of rocky retreats.
only a small number of cichlids are kept, quarrels may be more common.
With regards to a community tank, Lake
Tanganyika of a similar size can be easily combined with other Lake Tanganyika species.
In a large tank, cichlids of different
biotopes (rocky, sand, and/or open water) can be combined.
Lake Tanganyika cichlids can be kept with other
robust cichlids and catfish of similar sizes and water requirements.
Some species of Lake Malawi cichlids
are suitable companions, such as those of the genus
Aulonocara, although most mbunas are too
competitive for food to be housed with Lake Tanganyika cichlids.
SC: Other Lake Tanganyika cichlids,
Synodontis, Aulonocara, Lamprichthys (Tanganyika
(Tanganyika Spiny Eels), some have combined peaceful
Lamprologus allies with Australian or New
Guinea Rainbowfish with success.
Most Lake Tanganyika cichlids will happily take live foods especially crustaceans, insect
larvae, and aquatic insects.
Some species will take commercially prepared dry foods including flakes, tablets, and pellets.
species will take algae.
All Lake Tanganyika cichlids should be given a varied diet to keep them in top condition.
The cichlids of Lake Tanganyika are shelter brooders.
Most fall into one of two groups; either
cavity or mouth-brooders.
Before successfully spawning a pair of Lake Tanganyika cichlids, a compatible pair must
To accomplish this, one should start with five to six immature fish and raise them from youth.
tank should include only these fish and have a number of retreats.
As the fish grow, some individuals will
be driven away or harassed.
They will often be left \to hide in a cave or corner.
This fish should be moved to a separate
This transfer should be continued until only a male and a female remain.
Spawning may come with time, after several
months or a year.
After the first spawning, the pair should be moved to a larger aquarium as they are a compatible
Cavity brooders include fish of the genera
, and Neolamprologus
pair will dig a pit in the substrate between or in rock structures and establish a territory
Depending on the species from ten to several hundred eggs will be laid at a time.
The eggs are laid in this depression
and the fry are raised in it.
The pair will defend the territory against outside invaders.
Often "helpers," immature
fish from prior spawnings, will help the pair guard the eggs and the territory.
Another type of cavity brooder found in Lake Tanganyika is the snail shell spawner.
are some nine species of Lamprologus
that are known to participate in this spawning habit.
Each female establishes a territory
in an empty snail shell-usually of the genus
The female lays the eggs in her shell.
on the species, the male is monogamous or polygamous.
Monogamous males will visit the female's snail shell and fertilize
Polygamous males will visit the shells of several females, fertilizing the eggs of each one as he
In both cases the females are left to care for the young and the fry.
This group includes, among others,
Usually the eggs are scattered or laid
on a substrate.
They are then fertilized
by the male, either in the female's mouth or on the substrate.
The number of eggs varies greatly on
the species, with Tropheus
species laying as few as 5-10 eggs and
Lobochilotes species laying several hundred.
eggs are incubated for about 30 days at a warm temperature of 82-86°F (28-30°C).
The young are fairly large, from
8" (1.3 to 1.6 cm) in length, when they
The young are free-swimming and capable of surviving on their own.
Although the young are capable of independence
they still take refuge in the mother's mouth at times of danger and sometimes at night.
The mother consumes food while she is
mouth brooding the eggs, thus it is probable that the fry also eat in their time in the throat cavity.
about a week, the young are abandoned by the parents to fend for themselves.
Start feeding with
Daphnia, and crushed dry foods.
R: Lake Tanganyika cichlids are more particular to water chemistry than Lake Malawi Cichlids.
are sensitive to the build-up of toxic compounds, so water changes should be performed on a regular basis.
most species are sensitive to less frequent, massive water changes.