Altolamprologus calvus

Altolamprologus calvus is a slender, highly built fish, with cross bands across its body starting on its head.

Altolamprologus calvus

The Altolamprologus calvus is a slender, highly built fish, with cross bands across its body starting on its head. They can reach a length of about 15 centimeters.

When attacked, they turn their flank towards the attacker. Because Altolamprologus calvus has hardened scales on its flank, the attacker cannot get a grip on them. After the attack, the calvus will usually swim away imperturbably. When attacked in the wild, this cichlid hides in narrow crevices where it curves to secure itself between the rocks. The attacker cannot pull it out from between the stones. The Altolamprologus calvus can therefore be kept with larger Tanganyika’s.

In the trade, we often come across a number of variants under the name Altolamprologus calvus. These are geographic variants that show different colors.

  • Altolamprologus calvus Black or Congo Black Pearl
  • Altolamprologus calvus White or White Chaitika
  • Altolamprologus calvus Yellow. These are geographic variants that show different colors.

Synonyms: Lamprologus calvus, Neolamprologus calvus, Lamprologus compressiceps.


Lake Tanganjika, the southwestern part between Kapampa in Congo and Cape Chaitika in Zambia. There they inhabit the rocky environments at a depth of 3 to 40 meters.

The aquarium

Rocky environment, the Altolamprologus calvus hides between the narrow fissures in the rocks where it awaits its prey. For a couple, at least an aquarium of 80 centimeters is needed.


Altolamprologus calvus is a calm fish that comes not far from its place. As a couple, these fish can be kept with many other Tanganyika cichlids. However, it should be taken into account that it is a robber and seizes every opportunity to eat. It doesn’t matter much to them young fish or eggs, they both like to eat it.


Due to its laterally compressed shape, this hunter can get between rocks where small cichlids feel safe, Altolamprologus calvus sucks the young from between the rocks. In the wild, it feeds on young brood and small animals that live in the algae. In the aquarium, it is therefore recommended to feed them with meaty food such as finely chopped shrimp, Mysis, artemia, etc. You can also supplement the diet with granules or flakes for carnivores. Supplement the diet with some spirulina to keep them in optimal condition.

Breeding Altolamprologus calvus

Breeding Altolamprologus calvus is not easy but not impossible. In this species, the difference between males and females is not so much to be seen in the color of the fish, but in the size. The males grow to almost twice the size of the females. When incubating, the female takes advantage of this by depositing the eggs in a burrow where the male cannot reach. An aquarium with rocks with caves of different sizes in between is therefore necessary. Males can be mutually intolerant, so no more than 1 pair can be kept in an aquarium.




Copyright images

J. de Lange
Hristo Hristov


Back to Nature Gids voor Tanganyika Cichliden – Ad Konings

Additional information


Sub Family






Lamprologus calvus, Neolamprologus calvus

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