Neolamprologus tretocephalus

Neolamprologus tretocephalus, a small Tanganyika cichlid that resembles the young of Cyphotilapia Frontosa; not a beginner fish!

Neolamprologus tretocephalus

In appearance, Neolamprologus tretocephalus resemble the (young of the) Cyphotilapia frontosa and the Cyphotilapia gibberosa. They are only built less tall and have shorter fins. They also do lack a bump on their heads and they remain smaller.

The male grows to 15 centimeters and the female remains smaller at 12 centimeters. There are 5 transverse bands on the body, these are dark blue. Their dorsal fin is blue with a light blue stripe running along the edge. The rest of the fins are also blue. The body is gray/silver and the head shines blue. In short, a very beautiful cichlid!


Neolamprologus tretocephalus occurs throughout the lake, so they have no specific habitats. They live in the transitional biotope from sandy areas to rocks.

The Aquarium

Neolamprologus is split into shell and rock dwellers. The tretocephalus is a true rock dweller and usually lives in the transition zone as a couple. Sufficient rocks should not be missing in the aquarium, but leave sufficient swimming space in the middle of the aquarium. Preferably sand with as little coarse gravel as possible, because they rinse their gills with the sand. Plants are left alone and can therefore simply be planted in the aquarium.

This species is sensitive to water quality and pollution, which will quickly be reflected in the health of the fish. Regularly changing the water, cleaning filters and keeping an eye on the nitrate, nitrite and ammonia values is therefore recommended.


Dry, live and frozen food are all eaten.
Various people say that they are picky eaters, but I have never noticed this (I give them granules). I give them frozen food every other week, usually Mysis or Daphnia.
Occasionally they also get Artemia or Cyclops.


Neolamprologus tretocephalus with newly hatched fry
Neolamprologus tretocephalus with newly hatched fry

They can be big bullies. They are also real brats, but very beautiful eye-catchers.
I experienced that it they get the chance to eat a small fish, they do so. They will eat fry of up to 1.5 centimeters.

Maybe this all sounds negative, but it is definitely worthwhile to include this Cichlid in your fish stock.

Breeding Neolamprologus tretocephalus

Breeding is not difficult, but forming a pair is. The male often chases the female away and can even kill her in a 2 meter aquarium if you don’t have a good pair. Once they form a pair they will usually lay around 200 eggs. These are fiercely defended.

Mating takes place in a hole dug under a rock, where the female lays up to 400 eggs. The female guards the eggs while the male fiercely defends the rest of the territory. Since this territory is quite large, this species is better kept alone or with strong larger cichlids. The eggs hatch after about 4 days and after about 11-12 days you can start feeding brine shrimp nauplii and crushed dry food.

Lees ook: Breeding Neolamprologus tretocephalus!



Jarik van Oosting

Copyright images

Matthijs Meindertsma

Additional information






Lamprologus tretocephalus

First described by

George Albert Boulenger


Social behaviour

Breeding behaviour





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