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Cichlids / Africa / Lake Tanganyika / Five-bar Cichlid

Five-bar Cichlid, Tretocephalus
Neolamprologus tretocephalus

Synonyms: Lamprologus tretocephalus
Physical description: An elongated cichlid with fan-shaped caudal fin. The background coloring is white to off-white and the body is marked with five distinct transverse bars. The bars are black in color and broad. The first one runs through over the gill cover. The second, third, and forth run from the belly to the lower part of the dorsal fin. The final bar is located right at the end of the caudal penuncle. A partial bar runs from the lower part of the eye, through the eye, and to the forehead. The pelvic and anal fins are violet-white while the caudal and dorsal are violet white tips. The caudal and dorsal fins are black in color.
Size/Length: To 6" (15 cm)
Similar species: Resembles young Cyphotilapia frontosa, which differs by its one additional stripe. STYLE="mso-bidi-font-style : normal ; mso-spacerun : yes"> P. straeleni and STYLE="mso-bidi-font-style : normal ; mso-spacerun : yes"> N. sexfasciatus have shorter fins and one additional stripe.
Habitat: Eastern Africa; rocky shore areas of Lake Tanganyika.
S: bottom, middle
Aquarium: A 36" (91 cm) tank with a capacity of 35 gallons (132 L) is sufficient for small fish under 4" (10 cm) in length. Adult fish need a 48 (122 cm) tank with a volume of 55 gallons (209 L). The tank should be arranged with a number of rock structures including caves, tunnels, and over-hangs. Use a coral sand substrate and leave plenty of open swimming areas.
Water chemistry: pH 7.5-8.2 (7.9), 8-18 dH (12), 75-81°F (24-27°C)
Social behavior: A territorial fish that will establish large territories. Combine with other robust Tanganyika cichlids and catfish. Pairs form monogamous bonds and nuclear families during the spawning season.
Suggested companions: Julidochromis, Neolamprologus, Cyprichromis, Synodontis, Lamprologus, Aulonocara, Lamprichthys, Rainbowfish.
FOOD: Live; insect larvae, aquatic insects, crustaceans; pellets; flakes; vegetables; peas, spinach.
Sexual differences: The males are slightly larger with pointed anal and dorsal fins. The markings may or may not be darker.
Breeding techniques: Keep a pair in their own breeding tank measuring at least 36" (91 cm) with a capacity of 40 gallons (151 L). The water chemistry should be as followS: pH from 7.6-8.0, a water hardness from 10-14 dH, and a water temperature from 79-82°F (26-28°C). Up to 400 eggs are laid in a cave. The female guards the eggs, while the male guards the territory. The fry hatch after 48 hours are free-swimming about 9-11 days after the spawning. They emerge from the caves and can be fed with Artemia nauplii, Cyclops nauplii and crushed dry foods. The fry are slow-growing and difficult to raise as they are sensitive to water pollutants and changes in water chemistry.
Breeding potential: 8. A challenging fish to breed.
Remarks: This fish is sensitive to toxic compounds and should be kept under the regime of very frequent, but small water changes (about 5-10% biweekly).
Difficulty of care: 6. A sensitive fish whose diet should include live foods.


By Rhett Butler   Mongabay.com