Cichlid Room Companion
Breeding tanks

Neolamprologus leleupi (Poll, 1956)

By , 1996. image

Classification: Captive maintenance, Lake Tanganyika.

Neolamprologus leleupi Breeding tank

There's not much activity in this 29 gallon (110 L) tank as you look for signs of life. The tank is decorated with piles of large rocks, with the front half of the tank covered in 1" of fine crushed coral sand. A 3" side-opening seashell rests in the front right corner and the logbook tells you this is where the leleupi spawned. The tank is kept at 78-80 deg F by an Ebo-Jager 100w heater, and filtered by an AquaClear 300 with sponge insert only. pH is at 8.4, GH/DH both around 7 or 8 dH (~130ppm) 10% water changes are done weekly, 1.5-2 tsp of marine salt and 1/2 tsp of sodium bicarbonate is added per 3.5 gal. Ammonia and nitrites are nil, nitrate levels at .25ppm (SeaChem test).

Neolamprologus leleupiYou find the ~3" male Neolamprologus leleupi (leleupi) hovering above some rocks staring down two other rogue conspecifics. You find the slightly smaller female watching guard over about 15 or 20 fry. First count of fry after hatching revealed quite a number of fry, more than 35, but numbers have dwindled, even with 1-2 daily feedings of live newly -hatched brine and removal of all other tank inhabitants (besides parents) after 3rd week. This is the pair's 3rd or 4th spawn, but the largest up to date, the others resulting in no surviving fry. Parents were fed a rotation of dry foods such as TetraMin granules, OSI Cichlid flake, HBH Graze pellet, Spirulina flake, as well as occasional frozen adult brine. Fry are fed only live baby brine.

The parents were excellent at guarding the fry for the several weeks I left the other inhabitants in. The male would fend of drifters who wandered too close to the hatch and the female would remain amongst the fry at all times. Fry are robust and eagerly search out food. 2 weeks after free-swimming, fry were boldly swimming across the entire length of the 30" tank. The main reason I removed the other inhabitants was to increase the likelihood of fry survival but also because Neolamprologus leleupi can be very nasty, as shown by the missing scales and torn fins on the two extra leleupi. These two leleupi before transferring out spent most of the day hiding behind the heater and between rocks, hoping to avoid the male's wrath. Leleupi are rather timid and slow-moving, so conspecifics in a tank with a breeding pair are very prone to attack. Only a female Neolamprologus occelatus was able to defend herself and maintain somewhat of a territory through all this, but she was transferred with the other leleupi.


Sung, Devin. (May 27, 1996). "Neolamprologus leleupi (Poll, 1956)". Cichlid Room Companion. Retrieved on Dec 10, 2023, from: