Neolamprologus brichardi – Fairy Cichlid

Neolamprologus brichardi or Fairy Cichlid seems to be an easy going fish suitable for a small tank, but beware! Appearances are deceiving. A strong fish also suitable for beginners.

Neolamprologus brichardi – Fairy Cichlid

Neolamprologus brichardi looks very similar to the Neolamprologus pulcher. This species has a silver/gray base color with a black mask over its face. The blacks are often accentuated with some blue on the face. Above the black mask, a yellow stripe can be found, just behind the eye. The fins usually are yellowish.

Males are slightly larger than females. The male fin rays are more elongated than the females. The female’s heads are a bit more slender.

Synonyms: Lamprologus brichardi, Lamprologus elongatus, Lamprologus savoryi elongatus, Neolamprologus elongatus. They are often called Fairy Cichlid.


Neolamprologus brichardi originates from Lake Tanganyika and can be found around the coasts of the entire lake. Depending on their location small variations in colour and markings occur. They inhabit the rock formation at depths between 5 and 15 metres.


Their name Brichardi is a reference to the Belgian Pierre Brichard, he was responsible for the export of fish from Lake Tanganyika in 1971 and was the writer of the first decent book about Tanganyika Cichlids: Fishes of Lake Tanganyika.

The Aquarium

For this species the aquarium must be equipped with sand on the bottom, but the most important are the rocks between which the fish form a territory. Make sure there are more than enough shelters. This species is often recommended for beginners and could be kept in a smaller aquarium. Given the character of the fish, an aquarium of at least 80 centimeters is recommended, but preferably a bit bigger.

Water parameters

Temperature: 24 – 26 Celsius.
pH: 8.5 – 9.0
GH: 7-11


Neolamprologus brichardi is not a picky eater. They actually eat all kinds of food. By nature, it is a carnivore, so its preference goes out to small live food. You can feed it alternately with, for example, artemia, white and black mosquito larvae, daphnia, mysis and flake food and granules.


This is a Tanganyika species that is also recommended for beginners. Not because it is so easy to keep but because it is a very strong and tough species that also breeds relatively easily. To protect its territory and its offspring, the Neolamprologus brichardi can be very aggressive. They attack other cichlids, even if they are twice as large, and continue to do so until the intruder is expelled. If you do not have a couple but a whole colony, the colony can drive a cichlid into the corner as a group and attack. If you keep them in a too small aquarium with less strong species then this can lead to accidents. This will mainly happen if they have fry.

Breeding Neolamprologus brichardi – Fairy Cichlid

Breeding of Neolamprologus brichardi is not too difficult. A male and female usually form a monogamous couple. The eggs are deposited in a cavity between the stones where the female guards the eggs. Nests can consist of up to 150 eggs. Usually the female shows herself again after the eggs have hatched. If you have lost her for a while, then it can be that she is breeding on a nest. The couple defends the fry for a long time after they have hatched. Even if there have been other nests in between. Several generations of youngsters can be included in the colony. However, if there are too many fish in the aquarium, the parents can kill some older youngsters from the previous nests to make room. If you want to keep more fry then it is important to catch them in time.



John de Lange

Copyright images

John de Lange

Additional information




Lamprologus brichardi



First described by

Max Poll


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