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Neolamprologus brichardi


Hi everyone,

I always wanted to keep a Princess of Burundi or Fairy Cichlid or Neolamprologus Brichardi :)
Finally I have got a spare 170l tank and available 2 month old fry. I hope, I have read enough articles and watched videos about this fish to understand that it would be better and more enjoyable to dedicate the whole tank to this species. However, I would like to share my thoughts/questions/ideas with you:

1. As the fry is not sexable yet, I would like to buy 6 juveniles, 3 - the biggest ones and 3 - middle size. The purpose is to have a better chance to get a pair out of 6 fish. Do you think it is a lot? Would be enough to buy 4 ... 5 fish? Do you know some tips to differentiate males from females in this age?

2. If I have got a pair out of 6 juveniles, will the remaining 4 peacefully live with the paired ones? Or should I remove them from the tank once I have a bonded pair?

3. I am going to buy the silica (white) sand for substrate and provide a lot of caves, stones and hiding spots.

4. Water conditions: temperature 25-26, PH from 7 to 9 with 20% weekly water change.

5. Going to feed different food, particularly brine shrimp. I read that it must be given otherwise fry/juveniles grow with visual defects.

Any other thoughts or recommendations?

Thanking you in advance for your responses

Mike Wise

Staff member
5 Year Member
Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.
Although I tried keeping them decades ago - and not very successfully I might add, water too soft even after adding carbonate substrate - I will give you my 2 cents worth experience:

1. That is probably your best bet for juveniles. I was fairly successful sexing young adults IF I had a large number from wich to pick. I guessed by size, fin tips (iffy), behavior, and number of orange patches on the face.

2. If you have enough hiding places your tank should be large enough for 6, at least until 2 pair start breeding. Although they have some nasty looking teeth I found them fairly peaceful for a Tanganyikan cichlid.

3. Unless your tap water is "liquid cement" (super hard), forget the silica sand and use a carbonate sand. It will help keep the water buffered better. Tanganyikans tend to be much less tolerant of swings in pH than most freshwater fish.

4. Temperature and tank maintenance are fine. pH shouldn't vary radically and not drop below 7.8.

5. N. brichardi have a diet similar to apistos in the wild. Yes, live and frozen foods are best. Fortunately they readily accept some dry foods, too. These make an excellent supplement.

I love how older generations of siblings will take care of younger juveniles. This leaves the adults to breed more frequently - and easily over-populate a tank.

Good luck!

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