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Cichlids / Africa / Lake Tanganyika / Pearly Compressiceps

Pearly Compressiceps, Pearly Lamprologus
Altolamprologus calvus

Synonyms: Lamprologus calvus
Physical description: An elongated and laterally compressed cichlid. The back is arched and the dorsal fin is elongated. The large mouth faces the surface of the water. The body color is generally off-white to light brown, and the fins are beige. The body is marked with ten to 12 transverse bars. The body is spotted with small whitish markings.
A dark black marking extends from the upper lip, through the eye, and back down to the bottom of the gill cover. The anal and dorsal fin have a darker edging.
Size/Length: To 5.5" (14 cm)
Similar species: Compressiceps ( A. compressiceps)
Habitat: Eastern Africa; found near Sumbe National Park in Zambia in Lake Tanganyika. This species, like A. compressiceps , inhabits crevices and caves in rocky zones.
S: bottom, middle
Aquarium: 40" (101 cm) or 45-55 gallons (170-209 L) is adequate, although larger tanks are recommended. The tank should be heavily planted with plants that can tolerate the harder, more alkaline water. Use a coral sand substrate. Rock structures should be the focus of the tank, and caves and crevices should be included. Leave large open swimming areas. Provide a tight-fitting cover as this species is a jumper.
Water chemistry: 7.2-8.8 (8.0), 8-18 dH (12), 75-81°F (24-27°C)
Social behavior: A timid, but territorial fish. Try introducing some lively fish to help bring this species out of hiding. When A. calvus sees other fish swimming about, they will think that it is safe to come out. Do not combine with small, slender fishes under 2.5" (6.4 cm) in length as the will likely be consumed. Can be combined with other Lake Tanganyika cichlids.
Suggested companions: Lake Tanganyika Cichlids, Synodontis, Aulonocara, Lamprichthys, Afromastacembelus
FOOD: Live; fish, crustaceans, freshwater shrimp, insect larvae, aquatic insects.
Sexual differences: Males may be larger with slightly more elongated fins.
Breeding techniques: Use water with a pH from 7.0-7.5, a water hardness from 10-14 dH, and a temperature from 77-82°F (25-28°C). Keep two or three males and three to five females in the tank. Spawning takes place in a rocky crevice. Up to 200 yellowish-green eggs are laid in this crevice. The eggs are carefully guarded the female. The young hatch out in two days in water with a temperature of 79-81°F (26-27°C). The fry are free-swimming after 8-10 more days. At that time they can be fed on Artemia nauplii and Cyclops nauplii. The young are slow-growing and frequent partial water changes are required. The fry are sensitive to new water so make very small water changes so as not to affect them.
Breeding potential: 9. Breeding is very difficult.
Remarks: A. calvus is very sensitive to changes in water conditions and new water. Take care when making water changes to take the correct precautions.
Difficulty of care: 6. A sensitive fish whose care is difficult. Live foods must be included in the diet, as few individuals will accept dry foods.


By Rhett Butler   Mongabay.com