The cichl family is vast and diverse. Many experienced aquarists prefer to start cichlids, as well as celebrate the beauty and intelligence of their pets.
Princess of Burundi is no exception. It miraculously combines grace, beauty and charisma.
The Princess of Burundi (lat. Neolamprologus pulcher, Eng. Brichardi, Princess of Burundi) is an endemic of Lake Tanganyika located in East Africa.
As the habitat chooses shallow coastal rocky terrain.
When you first look at the princess of Burundi, you can take her for a selectively bred breed – her body color is light cream with yellowish areas at the base of the fins. The dorsal tail and anal fin have long bluish tips.
On the head is a mask of turquoise pattern, which, by the way, each fish has an individual ornament. From the eyes to the middle of the gill cover there is a black horizontal strip, and immediately behind it there is another, vertical one.
Between these stripes there is a yellow spot. These marks serve as fish for the false eye effect.
During a danger or fight, Burundi straightens its gill covers trying to confuse the enemy.
The princess of Burundi grows up to 7-10 cm, and the life expectancy is 8-10 years.
There are many populations of princesses of Burundi that are not in any way in contact with each other, and their evolutionary development proceeds individually. Depending on the location of the fish color can vary. Some have black markings on their heads, some have a brighter color.
The most remarkable of them is the Daffodil morph, or the narcissus cichlid. Its color is dominated by yellow tones, it is larger than the other representatives and can grow up to 15 cm.
The turquoise pattern on its gill covers is somewhat more contrasting.
Bright mask for fish is not only an ornament. It is thanks to her that individuals of a large flock get to know each other.
In nature, these fish live in large flocks, consisting mainly of related fish. The core of this group is made up of several dominant reproduction fish producers. They spawn a lot and often, the interval between spawning can be 20 days.
Dominant fish look bigger and behave more aggressively.
It is noteworthy that the grown-up fish do not eat fry, but on the contrary, help parents to keep track of the younger ones. As soon as adolescents become fully adults, they are freed from caring for fry and migrate to the most numerous part of the group.
It is located above the spawning grounds, near the habitats of predators. Fish at this level of the hierarchy do not have their own territory and serve mainly to divert predators from producers.
The guarantee of long life and health for many aquarium dwellers is the conditions most similar to natural ones. Although the princess of Burundi is tough and unpretentious, there are several nuances in its correct content:
- The typical habitat of Burundi is the rocky grottoes and gorges. In the aquarium it is recommended to focus on the stones.
- As the soil is recommended to use river sand.
- Fish can be planted in pairs or in small groups. The most interesting and attractive behavior of the princess of Burundi is shown at schooling content in a species aquarium. For a couple you will need an aquarium from 50 liters, and for a group of 4-6 individuals – from 200 liters.
- For such a territorial fish you need a personal space. To do this, you can create different caves with the help of stones, place inverted clay pots around the aquarium. You can also use snags for zoning.
- The princesses of Burundi are mobile predators, and often jump out of an aquarium while hunting for flies or overly aggressive showdowns. For this reason, the container must be equipped with a cover or a cover glass.
- Plants, these cichlids do not favor, will constantly nibble the leaves, undermine the roots, rummaging the ground. Therefore, it is necessary to do without them at all or use hard-leaved species planted in a pot.
- In nature, these fish prefer alkaline water with a pH of 8-9 pH. You can increase the alkalinity of water with soda.
- Such indicators of acidity contribute to a greater release of ammonia from organic matter into water, so it is important not to allow overpopulation and overfeeding in the aquarium, as well as to carry out regular abundant water changes.
- Like the other cichlids of Lake Tanganyika, the Princess of Burundi prefers hard water. You can increase the rigidity with the help of shells, filtering through marble chips and using sandstone to decorate the aquarium.
Recommended water parameters in the aquarium:
- temperature: 23-27 ° C;
- acidity: pH 8.0-9.0;
- hardness: 9-25 ° dH;
- Filtration, aeration and weekly replacement of 30% of water are required.
The Princess of Burundi is an omnivorous species, in nature actively eating zoo- and phytoplankton, detritus, aquatic invertebrates, mollusks and insects. In an aquarium, they are easily accustomed to both live and frozen food, as well as special dry granules for cichlids.
In addition to them, you can give pieces of sea fish and squid.
Special attention should be paid to vegetable supplements, as they make up 30% of the diet. Scalded lettuce, spinach, dandelion and nettle leaves, as well as chopped zucchini and cucumber can be given to fish.
To drown the pieces, you must bind them to the sinkers or put on a fork.
Like other cichlids, princesses are prone to overeating, leading to obesity, adversely affecting the work of internal organs and reproductive function. To avoid this, you can organize fish fasting days once a week.
In an aquarium, fish are bred very easily and often without the intervention of the owner. For full spawning, they need a substrate – as a rule, it is a sheer stone or a cave.
Sexual dimorphism is expressed quite strongly – the male is larger and brighter than the female, its fins are longer and more intensely colored. The fish become sexually mature at the age of 8-10 months.
Unlike most cichlids, choosing a partner and leading a monogamous lifestyle, the Princess of Burundi is paired up only during the spawning period. If the fish are kept in packs, a group spawning takes place, in which each pair seeks its own nest.
It is noteworthy that one dominant male can choose several females and fertilize their eggs. It is not uncommon for recessive males who are not able to find a female, sneak up on a spawning couple and try to sprinkle some of their eggs on their milt.
In an aquarium it is better to keep fish in pairs or harems, in which there are 2-3 females per male. The flock is better formed from young fish, since Burundi does not accept strangers.
The stimulus to spawning is an increase in the diet of high-protein feed and an increase in water changes.
Spawning occurs in the general aquarium. As soon as a couple chooses a suitable area for spawning, the first thing is to clean it from sand and dirt.
After that, the female sweeps up to 200 small eggs on the substrate, which the male fertilizes after her.
Incubation of caviar lasts for 2-3 days, after which larvae hatch. During the first week, they are inactive and have a large yolk sac. All this time, parents care for them and guard the nest.
As soon as the yolk sac resolves, the fry begin to swim. By this time, they are already quite large, and the starter feed for them is a microworm, nauplii of Artemia, finely grated flaky dry food.
Under favorable conditions, manufacturers spawn every 20 days. Grown fry not only do not touch their younger brethren, but also help to care for them.
Depending on the population of the aquarium, the female can adjust the amount of spawned eggs.
Unfortunately, the princess of Burundi has a complex, aggressive character, so it is only suitable for a specific aquarium. These fishes can conduct bloody clashes not only with each other, but also with predators of other species, much larger in size.
Especially aggression increases during spawning, when fish care for roe and offspring. During this period, Burundi is able to disperse all other fish in the corners.
Selecting neighbors for them is necessary only in large aquariums, well-sounded by various decorations. As a rule, other fish from Lake Tanganyika are hooked, for example, cyprihromis and yulidochromis.
Such neighbors should be chosen due to not only a similar temperament, but also similar, specific habitat conditions.
Starting Burundi, it is necessary to acquire in advance a chiller, into which it is necessary to remove the wounded as a result of territorial skirmishes of fish. It is desirable that it was netted and located inside the aquarium.
This is necessary so that in the process of rehabilitation other inhabitants will not wean off their fellow and take him back to the flock after recovery.