Neolamprologus leleupi – Lemon Cichlid
Both males and females have the same colouring. Depending of the region where the fish are found they are bright yellow, orange, brown/blackish or silver to beige. The Bulu-point species are known for having a darker lip, giving the appearance of a moustache. The darker toned fish have also the yellow colouring which is masked by a coat of darker pigment in the fish’ skin. To prevent fish of developing this masking it’s best to keep these fish on a light substrate and feed them with foods that bring out their natural colouring. This way, your bright yellow fish remain yellow. Males can be around 12 centimetres, the females are a little smaller.
This species have had a lot of names such as Lamprologus leleupi, Lamprologus leleupi leleupi, Lamprologus leleupi melas, Neolamprologus leleupi leleupi, Neolamprologus leleupi melas.
This species only resides in the Northwest part of lake Tanganyika. Depending on the other species in that region it will be present on a depth of 3 to 40 metres.
In the wild, this hunter will feed on small crustaceans on the rocks, other eggs of fish, insects, etc. In captivity this is not a picky eater. Most offered food types will be eaten by the Lemon cichlid. It is preferred however to provide them with enough variety; flakes, specific cichlid granules, artemia, mysis, cyclops, white and black mosquito larvae. The carotene in the mysis, artemia and cyclops bring out their colours so make sure these are in their diet.
As most Tanganyika cichlids this Neolamprologus leleupi has a fierce character. They will stand their ground and will not cover, even for larger fish. They can be kept fairly well with most other species.
The tank set up needs to be one with lots of rock. The Neolamprologus leleupi will mark its territory between all the nooks and crannies of the rocks. As mentioned before, a light coloured substrate will help with keeping it’s bright colour. As with most of the Tanganyika species, a light sandy substrate will work best.
Due to the way they breed it can take years before you can see any eggs and yet have fry all the time. The female seeks out a dark crevice between the rocks to lay her eggs. The eggs are deposited on the ceiling of the cave. These nests can hold between 50 and 250 eggs, although mostly their broods are around 100 eggs. In case you would see these, the eggs are white so be careful, these are not unfertile nor have these turned bad. The female guards the brood, the male the entrance of the crevice.
After 2 to 4 days the eggs will hatch. The larvae are gathered on the bottom of the hole. After about a week they will start to free swim and they off in the free world. Both male and female take turns in caring for their brood. The fry will remain with the parents until near adulthood. At this point they need to be separated as they will be seen as competition by the parents. A few offspring with the parents seem to make the breeding go easier. The parents have a better understanding and don’t have much time to quarrel. The fry can be fed with grounded flakes or newly hatched artemia.
John de Lange
John de Lange