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KEEPING LEMON CICHLIDS

Yellow beauties from southern Lake Tanganyika, Africa.

<>Pictured is a yellow form: N. leleupi may also be amber to olive brown in colour.
The strains that I have kept are bright yellow, olive or orange coloured forms.
There is a variety of colours in this species, ranging from a rich, lemon yellow to olive brown. The colour varies within a single brood.
Neolamprologus leleupi (Poll, 1956) 
Lemon Cichlid.
 Description: Slender, small, yellowish cichlid; the variety, N. l. longier, is lemon-yellow to orange, with some violet markings on the gill covers, on the face and above the mouth; colour variation exists, some being more olive-green, others are more orange/yellow, as with Neolamprologus leleupi longier.  An active, territorial fish.  

Distribution: Lake Tanganyika, East Central Africa: Endemic to the southern half of Lake Tanganyika.

A delightful fish to keep in a rocky habitat tank.

Natural Habitat: rocky shores in deep water; benthopelagic, freshwater; pH range: 7.5 - 8.0; dGH range: 12.0 - 15.0. Climate: tropical; 24 - 26°C; 6°S - 9°S. Usually found in the recesses of the biotope, but will swim in open water.
Conservation Status: Not in IUCN Red List.
Threats: Unknown.
Size: Adults are 8.0 to 13.0 cm in an aquarium environment; males larger than females.
Water Requirements: Hard and alkaline, with a pH 7.8 - 8.0 and a dGH 12 - 15. Temperature between 25-26oC.
Tank Habitat: Sandy substrate with rock cover and stable, rocky caves.
Diet: N. leleupi readily accept most foods--flakes, frozen and live. A combination of foods is recommended.
Sexing: Difficult: males and females have an identical appearance. Males attain a larger size.
Reproduction: dioecism; guarders / tenders; N. leleupi is a substrate spawner and is regarded as a monogamous cichlid. The female will lay eggs in a cave or crevice and the male guards the territory.  Once hatched and free swimming, the young are closely guarded by the female.  Pair formation is reputedly difficult to achieve.  My breeding pair self-selected from a community of eight fish.
Tank Community: Territorial and very aggressive for a small fish.  N. leleupi can be kept with a variety of different dwarf Lake Tanganyikan cichlids, with the exception of larger cichlids and piscivores. As they are somewhat aggressive and can take care of themselves in most situations.  Both sexes are aggressive against their own kind and are best kept one pair only to a tank. Specimens will swim in and around rocks as well as through open water.
Incompatible Species:  Larger cichlids.
Comments:  Rock dweller. Neolamprologus leleupi longier is a colour variant of this species, being brilliant orange-yellow.
I have never seen any offered for sale in Sth Australia under this name, however German bred yellows are available.  Most juvenile specimens offered for sale are bright yellow but turn yellow-brown in my tank My breeding pair is olive-yellow, with black marking around the face and mouth,  They breed in an up-turned broken flower pot that is hidden beneath rocks.  They dig a hollow in the substrate (quartz sand with 10% coral sand) so that the entrance to the brooding area is behind its own little sand dune.  The fry are tolerated by other generations of the species and survival rate is high if fed on brine shrimp and powdered Tetra Bits.

  It is my experience that not all Lemon Cichlids remain this colour as adults.


  Updated 18/09/2007
 
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