Neolamprologus multifasciatus - Wiki
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[Photo] Neolamprologus multifasciatus female. Date: 22 November 2006. Photo: Richard Ingebrigtsen
Neolamprologus multifasciatus (Boulenger, 1906) 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.
Lamprologus multifasciatus (commonly known as "multies") is a shell dwelling fish belonging to the cichlid family. Their unique behavior is associated with their affinity to shells. They burrow sand to move shells, take refuge in shells and also breed in shells. 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 Lamprologus multifasciatus enjoys medicore 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 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 similiar to Lamprologus multifasciatus, Lamprologus similis and Lamprologus brevis. The three species are similiar enough that stores normally sell them all under the common name "shellies" or "shell dwellers". Lamprologus is the smallest species, the other two reaching lengths of 2" and 2.25' respectively.
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