Event Alerts

You don't have any active subscription

Neolamprologus cylindricus

Above Neolamprologus cylindricus (right) will actively defend it's territory.
The male Firemouth— Thoricthys meeki— on the left lost this fight. Photo by Rick Borstein.


Neolamprologus cylindricus, formerly known as Lamprologus cylindricus, is a slender, cylindrically-shaped, barred Tanganyikan cichlid first typed by Seegers and Staeck in 1986.

In the trade, you may come across the so-called "Gold Head" variety which shows some yellow on the snout of males.

Males top out at about five inches; females are generally smaller at 3.5 to 4 inches in length.

Neolamprologus cylindricus is an aggressive territorial fish, best kept in pairs. Dominant males will harass and kill sub-dominant tankmates.

Neolamprologus cylindricus have impressive sharp teeth that they will happily sink into any other fish encroaching on their territory, especially if they are guarding fry. Do not keep this fish with other Neolamprologus species or similarly shaped fish.


Neolamprologus cylindricus is found closely associated with the rocky bottom of the lake, generally in less than 30 feet of water. It is primarily found on the south eastern coastline of Lake Tanganyika from the Ifume River to the Kalambo River.

The water in Lake Tanganyika is very hard. Tempertatures hover around 77-79F.


Neolamprologus cylindricus is not difficult to care for except, as previously noted, beware of the aggression of this fish. Provide regular partial water changes at least every two weeks.


In the wild, Neolamprologus cylindricus has been reported to feed on small fish and crustaceans. In my aquarium, they eagerly ate a variety of meaty, prepared foods such as earthworm flake, frozen Mysis shrimp, frozen adult brine shrimp and sometimes spirulina flake.


I obtained a breeding pair of these Neolamprologus cylindricus from fellow GCCA member Mike Garibaldi and placed them in a 90-gallon tank. The other occupants of the tank were five Metriaclima hajormaylandia and three Paratilapia sp. "east coast gold".

If you can't find breeders, start with 6 to 8 young fish and grow them out. A dominant male will become apparent at the onset of adulthood. Be prepared for losses if you do not remove the sub-dominant males.

In my case, the male was at least one-third bigger than the female. Neolamprologus cylindricus are secretive cave spawners. As I expected, the female selected a broken flowerpot for her home. The male patrolled nearby. It was very apparent that the pair of Neolamprologus cylindricus had become the dominant fish in the tank. The female rarely left the flowerpot and I was certain that the pair had spawned.

About six days later, I noticed that all of the other fish in the tank were crowded into the top ten inches of the side of the opposite the flowerpot. Upon closer inspection, I could occassionally see very tiny fry hovering in the flowerpot. I immediately began feeding freshly hatched brine shrimp. I estimated approximately 100-150 fry.

At two week post-hatch, I siphoned out approximately twenty fry to a 2-gallon grow out tank and left the remaining fry in the tank. I eventually moved the fry to a ten gallon tank and then back into a 90-gallon tank for grow out.

At 100 days post-spawn, the fry are now 1.25" long and ready for sale.

Retail Price

Young, 1.5" Neolamprologus cylindricus go for $12-15 each in the Chicago area. Neolamprologus cylindricus is regularly available at GCCA swap meets and auctions. If you cannot find them at your local fish store, ask the owner to order some for you.

Report April 2004 by Rick Borstein