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Fotm - Neolamprologus Brevis "sun Spot"

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#1 Stormfyre


    PCS President, Secretary & Sponsor Liaison.

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  • Location: Wandi, WA.

Posted 12 October 2017 - 01:31 PM

As the Fish of the Month for December, there will a bag of 4 x Neolamprologus brevis "Sun Spot" available at the November PCS Meeting for auction.

This is a special lot to raise money for Stuart Grant Fund for Cichlid Preservation and have kindly been donated by one of our PCS members - Poncho (Brett).




Neolamprologus brevis "Sun Spot".

This species is endemic to Lake Tanganyika. It is fairly widespread throughout the lake originating from Kigoma, Tanzania.


Common names: Brevis Shellie, Lamprologus Brevis, Sunspot Brevis


The "sun spot" brevis is a brownish-mauve colored fish with a bright golden spot on each side of the fish right behind the pectoral fins. During periods of stress, the fish develops light tan stripes down its sides. The "standard" brevis is actually from Kigoma, Tanzania. It has a brownish body with 9 tan stripes down its side. Both variants also have florescent blue lines beneath the eyes when they are seen in the right light.



Maximum length - Males to 2.4″ (6cm), females to 1.6″ (4cm).



Order: Perciformes Family: Cichlidae Subfamily: Pseudocrenilabrinae



It inhabits quite deep water around the shoreline in areas with a soft substrate, where the empty shells of snails collect. However, the areas in which N. brevis is found usually have fewer shells than the habitats of other shell dwelling species.





In the wild this fish primarily feeds on plankton, and while this diet can be difficult to recreate in the home aquarium, it will accept a diet composed of live and frozen foods. While some are known to accept prepared fish foods, this shouldnt form the bulk of their diet, and many will refuse to eat dried food.
The live foods most readily accepts are bloodworms, mosquito larvae (illegal to culture in some areas), daphnia, blackworms and copepods. They will eat similar frozen foods, and will greedily accept frozen bloodworms, brine shrimp, daphnia and blackworms.

Feeding Frequency: Feed once or twice a day.





The aquarium should have large open areas of sandy substrate, to which should be added a good number of empty snail shells. More shells should be provided than there are individual fish. The substrate should be at least 2″ deep as this species likes to dig. The water must be hard and alkaline.


Due to their small size, this shelldweller will do well as a pair in a 10-gallon tank. Actually, you might be able to keep two pairs in a 10 gallon tank. They have very small territory requirements and certainly the smallest territorial requirements of any cichlid Ive ever kept. My brevis have never actively defended an area larger than about 6" to 10" around their main shell. Granted, in their area, they will attack my hand or the gravel vacuum, but they are rather peaceful with other tank mates.

Neolamprologus brevisThey need at least one medium sized shell to share, and I like to provide a few extra shells for them to choose from and then for fry to move into. My current brevis pair is in a 20-gallon long tank with a trio of N. caudopunctatus and a pair of white cloud mountain minnows. I actually prefer to keep brevis with other fish because they have this wonderful head-down with all-fins-up territorial display they put on (both the male and the female do this) whenever another fish gets too close to their shell.
Do normal water changes of about 10% to 15% biweekly or weekly, depending on stocking numbers. The Lake Tanganyika cichlids cannot handle large water changes very well unless the new water chemistry closely matches the water they are in. If a large water change is needed, changing 15% every couple of days should bring water back to normal. This inability to tolerate large water changes is due to Lake Tanganyika being very deep and the water tends to stay stable

Water Changes: Weekly - Water changes of 10-15% weekly are suggested, only do more if the water parameters are off. Be cautious of doing more frequent changes as these fish are very sensitive to new water.


Temperature73-81°F (23-27°C)   pH: 7.8-9.0   Hardness: 8-25°H



A territorial species that will defend its shell and the small territory around it vigorously. Due to its small size it can be combined with other species that inhabit different parts of the tank. Good tankmates include small rockdwellers such as Neolamprologus brichardi or smaller species of Julidochromis and open water species such as Cyprichromis. If a number of individuals are kept together it will form a colony. If youre keeping it in this type of situation make sure there are enough shells to go around and try to buy more females than males.





Males grow to a maximum of about 6 cm whereas females reach about 4 cm in length. This size differential is one of the keys to differentiating the sexes. The male also simply looks more robust and has, in my opinion, more of an Altolamprologus facial profile than the female does. Except for these minor differences, the two sexes are morphologically identical.


This species is quite easy to breed. Shell brooder. It may spawn in the community tank but if you want to raise a full brood, a separate tank should be used. Set it up as suggested above. Provide a plenty of snail shells, as the females will lay their eggs in these. Escargot shells are a good choice and can be obtained from most decent delicatessens. Water should be hard and alkaline with a pH of around 8.0-8.5 and a temperature of 77-80°F. Keep several females per male and space the shells out a little. This helps to reduce aggression between males. Males also often spawn with multiple females if they are available. Condition the colony on a good diet of live and frozen foods.

Females will attempt to catch the attention of males by displaying at the entrance of their chosen shells, which they bury until only the entrance is visible. When a male is sufficiently interested, the female swims into the shell where she deposits her eggs. When she has finished, she begins to back out of the shell at which point the male releases his sperm. This is sucked into the shell by the action of the exiting female, thus fertilising the eggs. Alternatively, if the shell is large enough the male may enter it before releasing his sperm.
After fertilisation the male plays no further part in brood care and is no longer welcome in the females territory. The female sits on top of the shell, covering the entrance and fanning the eggs with her fins. These hatch in around 24 hours, the fry becoming free swimming at around the 6-7 day stage. Once free swimming they start to make forays away from the shell, venturing further and further as they grow, until eventually they are evicted by the female after another fortnight or so.
The fry are large enough to accept brine shrimp nauplii or microworm once they become free swimming. It is probably better to remove them to a separate rearing tank at this stage to ensure the best survival rate, as although the parents do not usually harm them other fish in the colony may eat them.
N. brevis is one of the commoner species of shell dweller available in the hobby. Several colour morphs are available including sunspot, katabe and sambia. As mentioned above, it is often found in areas within Lake Tanganyika where relatively few snail shells collect and in these areas, pairs of fish will share the same shell. This behaviour may or may not be observed in the aquarium, depending on the number of shells provided and the individual fish. The territories it establishes are very small, usually measuring no more than 6″ across, but they are defended vigorously. The tiny fish will even bite hands or fingers that invade their personal space!

#2 Westie


    Anton Fanboi

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  • Joined: 31-May 10
  • Location: Hammond Park

Posted 12 October 2017 - 01:39 PM

Finally a FOTM that doesnt require a 10 foot tank  :P 

Pretty little fish

#3 Ronny

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  • Joined: 24-October 08
  • Location: Sydney, NSW

Posted 12 October 2017 - 07:20 PM

I have a pic of some of Ponchos but not sure how to post pics anymore lol. 

#4 Poncho


    Vice Presidente Castro

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  • Location: Warnbro

Posted 12 October 2017 - 08:24 PM

These guys are really cool fish - a 2 foot would be considered a large tank for these guys and they're perfect tang community species too

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