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Cichlids / Africa / Lake Tanganyika / Lemon Cichlid

Lemon Cichlid
Neolamprologus leleupi

Synonyms: Lamprologus leleupi
Physical description: An elongated cichlid with a characteristic bright yellow color and a set of large lips. The caudal fin is fan-shaped. The lips are a dark yellow, and above the upper lip is a fine green line. This line extends along the lip to just below the eye.
Size/Length: To 4" (10 cm)
Similar species: N. longior
Habitat: Eastern Africa; rocky parts of Lake Tanganyika.
S: bottom, middle
Aquarium: 30" (76 cm) tank with a volume of 20-25 gallons (75-98 L). Construct rock formations having caves and tunnels. Leave open swimming areas and use hardy plants for decorations. Use a fine gravel or preferably, coral sand substrate.
Water chemistry: 7.5-9.0 (8.0), 8-20 dH (15), 75-81°F (24-27°C)
Social behavior: A peaceful fish that can be combined with other Lake Tanganyika Cichlids. Males may become aggressive during the spawning season towards unreceptive or immature females. Pairs are formed only during the spawning season.
Suggested companions: Julidochromis, Neolamprologus, Cyprichromis, Synodontis, Lamprologus, Aulonocara, Lamprichthys, Rainbowfish.
FOOD: Live; crustaceans, insect larvae, aquatic insects; large flakes; pellets. This fish must be fed a varied diet to bring out its beautiful colors.
Sexual differences: Difficult to distinguish between the sexes; older males often develop a hump on their forehead.
Breeding techniques: Use a breeding tank with a single pair. Be sure that the pair is compatible and provide caves and crevices. Use water with a pH from 7.5-8.2, 8-14 dH, and a temperature to 86°F (30°C). As many as 150 eggs are laid on the ceiling of a previously cleaned cave. The eggs are carefully guarded by the female, while the male watches over the territory. The fry hatch after 3-4 days and feed off their egg sacs for another three days. The young are moved to a pit inside the cave. After five to six more days, the fry are free-swimming and can be fed on Artemia nauplii, Cyclops nauplii, and crushed dry foods. The fry are very sensitive to the build-up of toxic compounds, and are susceptible to bacteria diseases.
Breeding potential: 7. Breeding is difficult.
Remarks: Three sub-species have been described: N. leleupi leleupi, N. leleupi longior, and N. leleupi melas . The Lemon Cichlid needs frequent partial water changes in order to prosper. This cichlid reaches sexual maturity in about a year and a half.
Difficulty of care: 6. A delicate, but stunning fish whose diet must include live foods.


By Rhett Butler   Mongabay.com