The lamprologus butterfly is still one of the most difficult to maintain and poorly studied aquatic organisms belonging to the Tanganyik cichlids. And despite the fact that this fish first came to Russia in the 80s of the last century, it is still extremely rare and valuable for the domestic amateur.
Thanks to a non-standard appearance, which combines grace, power, and spectacular color, the fish deserved universal recognition and love. Why is a hydrobiont nicknamed the butterfly?
Just look at the courtship of the male after spawning and the question disappears by itself. In a fit of passion, the male waves his fins like a moth, inviting the female to a prepared breeding ground.
This type of lamprologists is rather shy and mostly live in the bottom layer. If you want to teach the fish to pick up food from the surface, it is necessary to gently fishes the fish for a long time and to care for them carefully.
For the maintenance of lamprologusov need an aquarium with a volume of 50 liters for a pair of fish, 100 – 150 liters for a group of fish, which includes several males and up to 5 females. In the aquarium should be sufficient number of shelters.
Ceramic flower pots, large sinks and plastic or ceramic tubes are perfect for this purpose. Just do not forget about the big stones and thickets of plants (you can live and artificial).
Hydrobionts love live food, such as coretur, bloodworm and zooplankton. With the increase in size, fish need to be transferred to larger types of food, adding to the diet squid, mussels, shrimp, non-oily fish and scallop meat.
It was observed that the lamprologus butterfly is prone to food toxicosis, respectively, it is highly recommended not to feed their pets and to feed only fresh food.
If a fish eats spoiled or poor-quality food, its body swells up, activity decreases significantly, and death occurs after 5-7 days. The situation can be remedied by adding a solution of methylene blue to the aquarium until the water turns a dark blue color.
In the same solution, add salt and baking soda in the proportion of 6 grams per liter and 1 grams per liter of water, respectively.
The cichlid content rules are similar to other endemics from Lake Tanganyika:
- Water hardness 10 – 20 degrees;
- Active reaction 7.5 – 8.5 pH;
- Temperature 24 – 27 degrees;
- Availability of continuous filtration and aeration of water;
- Weekly substitution in the amount of 1/3 of the total.
As neighbors for the lamprologus, you can select medium-sized and non-aggressive Tanganyik cichlids, barbs, melanotenias, swordtails or mollies, and many types of catfish. The lamprologists themselves are very peace-loving fish, and when the males grow to a record 15 centimeters in length, they get along without problems with their small neighbors of other species and congeners.
Puberty at the lamprologus of a butterfly comes to one and a half to two years of life, while the usual lamprologusy are ready for reproduction at the age of one year. The formed pair chooses to spawn an empty shell or a ceramic tube, which they immediately begin to carefully equip for the future offspring. The nearby territory is also undergoing redevelopment, earthen mounds are being erected and the ground areas are cleared.
If there are plants nearby, then they are immediately uprooted.
During spawning periods, males also have beige or yellow “straps” on their heads. After mutual flirting near the sink, the steam is removed inside to spawn. As a rule, the spawning itself is hidden from the eyes of an aquarist.
The termination of spawning is indicated by excessive aggressiveness of the male and darkening of the color of the female. Some aquarists can boast that spawning lamprologov they flowed on a stone terrace or in a flower pot, however, this is a very rare phenomenon.
After 5 to 6 days, the female and shell with the future offspring must be transferred to an incubator aquarium, where the larvae are shaken out of the shelter. At first, the larvae will be inactive due to the large yolk sac.
Depending on the size of the female, the number of larvae can vary between 80 and 120, although in some aquarium sources there have been cases when there were about 200 fry.
If you leave the shell with the larvae in the general aquarium, then they are soon attacked by annoying neighbors in the aquarium and the male. And besides, the female, caring for her offspring for two weeks is no longer able to fight with their predatory inclinations.
Accordingly, if you want to save the offspring, it is better not to leave the larvae in the general aquarium.
It is likely that in natural conditions the parents leave the spawning grounds and leave the offspring to live independently. At least, aquarists have still not been able to capture the butterflies, carefully caring for their offspring. After the fry independently swim, they do not begin to actively hunt for the Nauplii Artemia here.
It is not recommended to wait until the yolk sac has completely resolved in the young, it is better to start feeding the fish in advance in small portions. It is better to remove the remnants of food not eaten from the aquarium with the help of a soil siphon.
The body color of the fry is golden brown, in general, the color of the butterfly fry has much in common with the altolamprologus copmressiceps, which is more popular among domestic aquarists. Due to the fact that cichlids are very voracious, cases of hydro-chemical toxicosis are not uncommon, therefore, methylene blue should be added regularly to the aquarium, and a biofilter should be installed in the reed.
One and a half centimeters fish boast patterned fins, and when the body length increases to 3 centimeters, the fry color changes to gray-beige with a number of black transverse stripes. The Tanganyik butterfly can be recommended to beginner aquarists for biotope aquariums, as well as salt-aquariums, in which several species of fish of similar sizes and habits inhabit.
Under adequate and suitable conditions of keeping a lamprologus, a butterfly can live on the order of 10 to 12 years.