In the aquarium sources there are more than one thousand species of fish, which are successfully contained in aquaria. However, not every fish is widely popular among fans of exotic pets.
As a rule, the most popular are small fish with bright and interesting color, and in the appendage, with complex and unusual behavior. These are exactly the requirements that meet hydrobionts from Lake Tanganyika.
Most of the features of the Tanganyik cichlids are due to the peculiarity of the lake in which they inhabit. In Lake Tanganyika, the average annual temperature fluctuates within 26 degrees with deviations to both sides in the summer and winter season by no more than 5 degrees. The stable water temperature and great depth (up to 1500 meters) contributed to the fact that at a depth of 100 to 200 meters a temperature limit formed between the underlying layer (4-6 degrees) and the surface layer warmed by the sun (25-31 degrees).
In view of the different density, these waters never mix, and oxygen does not penetrate to the bottom. Below the temperature section, the lake is uninhabited.
The relief of the bottom of the lake is rich in rocky plateaus and various depressions, which are very often dotted with boulders. The surrounding landscape is complemented by rocky islands with sheer rocky shores overgrown with aquatic vegetation. In the habitable zone, the lake is rich in oxygen and the transparency of its waters is about 30 meters.
Because of the large area and nature of the coastline, the reservoir is often compared to the coast of the sea. Along the coast current is often seen and quite strong surf.
And besides, water in its chemical composition has much in common with the sea, though diluted.
The large diversity of ichthyofauna is due to the isolation of some islands, which are separated by a large water area and ecological conditions in the area of all land areas. All of these factors hinder the migration of fish, which are devoid of good swimmer qualities.
Accordingly, each individual species of fish living in the area of different islands lives in isolation and evolves in its own way. As a result of this feature, a large number of races were formed, which differ from each other only in body color.
The good old princess of Burundi and the next of kin
Lovers of the cichl family are well-known such species as Trofeus Moori, Altolamprologus compriceps, Ophthalmotilipia ventralis and Yulidohromis. Yes, and do not forget about the good old Neolamprologus Brichard, who is known as the “Princess of Burundi.”
Neolamprologus is characterized not only by complex behavior, but also by an interesting schooling hierarchy, which is based on “blood relationship”, but does not exclude an admixture of fish from another clan.
The basis of the pack is a group of fish consisting of 10 to 15 fish that occupy a certain area between stones and boulders. The fishes actively breed and use the space between the stones as a substrate for spawning.
As a rule, spawning occurs every 20 days, and the number of eggs can vary between 30 and 40 pieces.
Caviar and fry are cared for not only by parents, but also by a special group of 6 month old chicks, as a rule, females. This group has the second step of the hierarchical ladder inside the flock.
The next stage is occupied by the group of growing young stock from 3 to 4 months old. Upon reaching 4 months of age, the fish leave the place where the parents have spawned and join the main crowd, which lives in the upper layers. This group is considered the most powerless, as the fish do not have their own territory.
As a rule, representatives of this group are kept above spawning grounds. Their main task is to warn the main flock about the detection of danger, as well as leads predators, scattering into stone crevices.
Such a structure of the flock makes it possible to preserve the appearance. Firstly, due to the regular outflow of young stock, spawning places are not overpopulated. Secondly, young animals play the role of a screen that covers the main core of the pack from being eaten by predators.
Thirdly, due to the tough competition among the fish living in the upper layers, only the strongest individuals survive. When the number of producers decreases, the main bones are replenished by the surviving fish of their upper “flock”.
The maximum size of an adult fish ranges from 8 to 12 centimeters.
In addition to the neolamprologus of Bryusher, there is another representative of the “princesses”, who is referred to as the neolamprologus of Daffodil. The fish has a lot in common with N. brichardi, the body color is golden yellow, the dorsal fin stands out in particular.
On the head there is a scattering of blue strokes. The fish has a second name, which stuck because of an unusual pale yellow color.
In common folk fish is referred to as a yellow princess, or lamprologus narcissus.
In addition to the bright color of the fish, there are long braids on the tail “lyre”. If you look at the fish in normal light, they are milky white, in direct sunlight they sparkle with neon shimmer. Before buying these fish for a home aquarium, you should consider the fact that yellow princesses are very aggressive.
These cichlids are characterized by a tough fight for the step of the hierarchical ladder, and frequent skirmishes can end in a fatal outcome of one of the sparring opponents.
When keeping a flock of cichlids from Lake Tanganyika, you should regularly monitor the behavior of the fish, especially during periods of maturation. That is, your task is to notice in time the fish “knocked out” from the total mass, which should be transplanted to another container soon.
Neolamprologus daffodil is a larger representative among the “princesses”, the male of which grows up to 15 centimeters.
The closest relative of the “Princess of Burundi” is the neolamprologus Pulcher, who at first was brought to our country under the guise of the southern form of the Princess of Burundi. The color of the body of the fish is almost the same.
The only difference is that the pulchera has a slightly softer and softer color, and each scale has a red edging.
The latest and most common representative of the “princesses” is the neolamprologus of Walter. The fish is painted in brown tones, the rays on unpaired fins are slightly shortened and have an interesting pattern in the form of oblique dark and light stripes, and there is a black edging on the scales.
The maximum length of males in nature is 6 – 7 centimeters, and females – no more than 5. Neolamprologus Walter is considered a relatively peace-loving fish, which is better to keep in a small flock. For a group of 3 males and 4 females, a 100 liter aquarium with a lot of rocks will be required.
To ensure optimal conditions for Tanganyik cichlids, you must ensure the following points:
- Water hardness 8 – 20 degrees;
- Active reaction 7.6 – 8.5 pH;
- Water temperature 22 – 28 degrees;
- Constant filtration and aeration of water + regular changes.
You should always remember that the “princesses” are reacting hard to tap water during the substitution. Very often the fish lie on the bottom and periodically soar upward squeezing the gills.
In addition, the color of the fish is much darker after a similar substitution. Deaths are very common.
It is possible to alleviate the situation a little with the help of methylene blue, but it is better to use the water separated during several days during the substitution.
Zooplankton organisms are considered to be the most favorite food of cichlids, in particular, fish prefer cyclops. But to the laborer and the moth “princess” are indifferent and eat this feed only in cases when you do not give them any other food.
It was observed that the “princesses” often interbreed with some types of yulidochromis, creating fruitless hybrid mixtures. Therefore, in order to prevent such incidents in your aquarium, it is better to contain only one type of cichlids.