Tetracanthus | Neolamprologus tetracanthus
Cichlids / Africa / Lake Tanganyika / Tetracanthus
Profile: Tetracanthus, Pearl-lined Lamprologus
Neolamprologus tetracanthus Synonyms: Lamprologus brevianalis, L. tetracanthus
Physical description: An elongated fish with a slender caudal peduncle. The body color is light brown to beige. The body is marked with five or six dotted lines. These are a pearl-white color and runs from the gill cover, back to through the caudal fin. The other fins are also marked with these spots. The dorsal and caudal fins have a pearl-white edging. The pelvic and anal fins have a darker edging. Four broad, barely visible, darker transverse bands are located on the body.
Size/Length: To 8" (20 cm)
Similar species: None
Habitat: Eastern Africa; inhabits the transitional regions between rocky and sandy areas-Lake Tanganyika.
S: bottom, middle
Aquarium: A 36" (91 cm) tank with a volume of 35 gallons (132 L) can be used. It should be arranged with a rocky set-up having caves and crevices. The substrate should be coral sand. Leave open swimming areas.
Water chemistry: pH 7.5-8.8 (8.0), 8-20 dH (14), 77-82°F (25-28°C)
Social behavior: A peaceful fish that is territorial towards others of its own species. Do not combine with small fish (under 2.5" or 6.4 cm) as they may be eaten. Pairs form monogamous bonds and nuclear families. Can be combined with other Lake Tanganyika cichlids of a similar size.
Suggested companions: Julidochromis, Neolamprologus, Cyprichromis, Synodontis, Lamprologus, Aulonocara, Lamprichthys, Rainbowfish.
FOOD: Live; snails are a favorite, mollusks, small fish, aquatic insects, crustaceans, insect larvae; mussels; chopped meat; pellets.
Sexual differences: The male reaches a larger size, and develops a cranial hump.
Breeding techniques: Use a water with a temperature from 79-84°F (26-29°C), a pH from 7.7-8.2, and a water hardness from 12-15 dH. A breeding tank containing a single pair and a number of caves should do. 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 previously dug 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 chemicals, disease, and changes in water chemistry.
Breeding potential: 7. The Tetracanthus is a difficult fish to breed.
Remarks: The Tetracanthus is sensitive to the build-up of toxic compounds. Make frequent water changes. This cichlid is commonly caught in Lake Tanganyika.
Difficulty of care: 5. A sensitive fish that requires a diet including live foods.