Neolamprologus ventralis

Neolamprologus ventralis is not one of the most colorful Tanganyika cichlids. It is a relatively small fish with a territory between the rocks.

Neolamprologus ventralis

Neolamprologus ventralis was first described in 1995 by Büscher. The genusname Neolamprologus can be divided in 3 words. Neo is derived from Neos and means new. Lampas is Latin and means torch or brightness and lagas is means hare in old Greek. A reference to the speed and light colors of this genus.


This is not one of the most brightly colored Tanganyika cichlids. Their base color is light brown/beige with some blue iridescent spots on their sides and fins. Their mouth and the fin edges are outlined by a blue iridescent line. They can reach a total length of around 8 centimeters.


You can find Neolamprologus ventralis around the entire Lake Tanganyika. They inhabit the transition habitats between rock and sand or mud. They usually live at depths of around 20 to 60 meters where they make a territory near soms rocks where they can hide. They are intolerant towards conspecifics when they are not reproducing.


In the wild Neolamprologus ventralis feeds on small invertebrates, insect larvae, algae and snails. In the aquarium you can feed them with a combination of live and frozen foods, flakes and granules. Make sure it contains some plant matter like spirulina.

The aquarium

This small fish needs a specious aquarium. Use an aquarium with a minimum of 250 liters. Neolamprologus ventralis is very territorial towards conspecifics. Other species that come too close to his territory are chased away as well.

Decorate the aquarium with a substrate of (filter) sand. Provide plenty of rocks with cracks, crevices and caves. They will create a territory around one of the crevices. Usually male and female will only be together to spawn and raise the fry. After that they will break up the pair.

As usual with Tanganyika cichlids the water should be hard with a pH of 8.5 to 9.0. The temperature can be set at 22 to 26 degrees Celsius.

Breeding Neolamprologus ventralis

Breeding Neolamprologus ventralis can be challenging. Male and female only form a pair when reproducing. They don’t have a specific spawning season so they breed around the year.

They make a territory between the rock where they spawn and stick their eggs to the rocks. After a few days the eggs hatch. The fry are guarded for some time by their parents. Their nests are not that big, usually around 40 fry at a time.



John de Lange

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