Home > How to set up a Lake Tanganyika fish tank with Neolamprologus leleupi cichlids
How to set up a Lake Tanganyika fish tank with Neolamprologus leleupi cichlids
Tanganyikan Cichlids represent one of the most diverse and interesting groups of fish that are kept in the hobby. There are over 250 different species of cichlids found here!
Lake Tanganyika is one of the three Great African Rift Lakes. The other two are Malawi and Victoria. You can read more about these two lakes under "African Cichlids."
Lake Tanganyika is one of the oldest and deepest lakes in the world. It is over 4,000 feet deep! The age and other unique characteristics of this lake have helped it become one of the most diverse habitats for cichlids in the world. Tanganyikan cichlids have had millions of years to evolve and many of the cichlids found in this lake are endemic to it.
The water in the lake is hard and alkaline. PH in your aquarium should ideally be 7.9-8.5 with a GH of 12-20.
Cichlids are a lot of fun to watch in an aquarium environment. They claim territories when they are breeding and will defend their areas with a vengeance.
There are several ways to set-up a successful Tanganyikan tank. Many people choose to go with just one or two species, ideally hoping to watch the fish breed. Others like to set-up a Tanganyikan community. This can be a fun and challenging tank. The cichlids in Lake Tanganyika come from many different environments, thus we want to create the environments in our aquarium. There are many fish that like to hang out on the edge of the rock reefs where there are holes and cracks that they can hide in. Others live out on sand flats, sifting the sand and hunting for food. Shell dwellers live in areas where snail shells are abundant and these little fish make their homes inside the shells. There are also open water fish that tend to form large schools.
As you can see, this gives us a lot of opportunity to create an interesting Tanganyikan aquarium.
General Info: Tanganyikan Cichlids are generally broken down into three types of fish. The substrate brooders, mouth brooders and shell dwellers. These cichlids demonstrate extensive parental care and the main difference is where and how they choose to care for their brood.
The fish in Lake Tanganyika are known for being very stratified in the water column and dedicated to their habitats. This makes a large aquarium ideal for showing off the behaviors of the cichlids. You are able to create rocky rifts, sandy bottoms, areas with lots of shells and open water for the shoaling fish.
Julidochromis are broken down into several species; J. marlieri, J. transcriptus, J. dickfeldi, J. oranatus and J. regani. Within each of the species are several variants that are based on their geological habitat.
Breeding Julidochromis differs only slightly between species. All are cave brooders with the females laying their eggs to the side or ceilings of the cave. The main difference is the amount of time spent between spawnings. Transcriptus and ornatus have several small batches every few nights. Other species tend to breed every four to five weeks.
The habitat is mostly rocky habitat and reef edges along the shores of Lake Tanganyika.
More on Tanganyikan Cichlids
Lake Tanganyika give us more opportunity to create community tanks than the Lake Malawi or Victoria cichlids. Much of this has to do with how we set-up our aquariums and what fish we add, but in general Tanganyikan Cichlids are specialists and find their own niches in the tank.
We want to create open water areas for fish like Cyprichromis, shells for all the shell dwellers, sand flats for the sand sifters, and a rock reef with caves for all of the rock dwelling species like Julidochromis and Tanganicodus.
Paracyprichromis and Cyprichromis
Lake Tanganyika has some wonderful open water fish that should be considered for any Tanganyikan tank. Paracyprichromis and Cyprichromis represent some very beautiful, active and interesting fish. These mouthbrooders are very popular and there are new strains still showing up in the hobby.
One main difference between Paracyprichromis and Cyprichromis is how they breed. Paracyprichromis eggs are fertilized in the open water as they are released into the water and picked up by the female. Cyprichromis fertilize the eggs while inside the females mouth.
Xenotilapia: Tanganyikan Butterflies
Xenotilapia are a smaller sand-sifting cichlid found throughout Lake Tanganyika. They sift sand through their gills searching for bits of food. All Xenotilapia are mouthbrooders, yet some choose to breed in small colonies and others are biparental. The biparental mouthbrooders frequently stay together for multiple breeding cycles.
Butterfly Cichlids are known for their beautiful colors and their fascinating behaviors. There are several different species available for trade on the hobby and this might be a great addition to your Tanganyikan tank.