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Neolamprologus multifasciatus

Breeding Fish Tips: When breeding tropical freshwater fish, always make note of temperature, ph, water quality, food intake and unusual behavior. That way you can breed fish again easily by recreating these conditons or by observing unusual behavior between pairs. You set yourself up for the possibilities of new arrivals.
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Neolamprologus multifasciatus is one of the small shell-dwelling cichlids endemic to Lake Tanganyika. The male reaches five centimeters in length, and the female only 2.5 cm. This makes them one of the smallest cichlid species in the world. Its natural habitat is the Neothuma shell beds of Lake Tanganyika, where it forms huge colonies with thousands of individuals. Their unique behavior is associated with their affinity to shells. They burrow sand to move shells, take refuge in shells and also breed in them. They have pale white coloring with black vertical bars running the length of their bodies. The species is monomorphic, meaning sexing individuals is extremely hard or impossible.

In the aquarium trade N. multifasciatus are commonly known as “multies” and enjoy mediocre popularity. Stores specializing in fish or quality fish stores will at least be aware of shell dwelling fish even if they are not stocked at that time. They are not as popular as larger cichlids but because they are suitable for smaller tanks and their prolific nature they still are widely available.

Tank requirements are very similar to other African cichlids, an example is the Mbuna. Unique requirements include a sandy substrate for burrowing and the placement of shells. A tank should have at least one shell per fish, ideally two.

Two other species of fish are similar to N. multifasciatus, Neolamprologus similis[3] and Neolamprologus brevis[4]. The three species are similar enough that stores normally sell them all under the common name “shellies” or “shell dwellers”.

World Wide Web electronic publication. www.fishbase.org, version (01/2007).

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