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lake Tanganyika



Neolamprologus brichardi

Neolamprologus brichardi


    A beautiful peaceful Cichlid. The Brichardi was one of first available cichlids from lake Tanganyika. Fairly easy to keep and breed, they must be kept in a Tanganyikan set up.

Quick stats:
    Listed tank sizes are the minimum
    Size: Up to 4" (10 cm)
    Tank: 36 inches
    Strata: Bottom-middle
    PH: 7.5-9.0
    Hardness: Hard and alkaline. dH range: 8.0-20.0°
    Temperature: 72-77°F (23-25°C)


    Order: Perciformes
    Suborder: Percoidei
    Family: Cichlidae
    Genera: Neolamprologus
    Species: brichardi

East African Lakes

Common name:

    Fairy Cichlid Brichardi, Lyretail Cichlid

Image gallery:

    Additional species photographs


    Badmans' Forum


    Africa, Lake Tanganyika

General Body Form:

    Not the typical cichlid in appearance, the Brichardi is a sleek and elongated fish with the most notable characteristic being its' lyretail.


    A beautiful fish, the base color is tan, with small yellow scales near the start of the tail fin. The tail, dorsal and anal fins are the same as the base color and they are fringed with a blue / white edge, extending along the elongated tips of the tail fin, which really highlight the lyretail. A dark bar runs from the eye, back to the gill cover. A bright gold spot is located just above this bar.


    Like all true Tanganyikan set ups the tank should be decorated with a crushed coral or similar substrate and contain lot of rocks that form caves and crevices. This is especially true for the brichardi as a retreat for each fish is a must. The rocks must be firmly anchored as these fish will dig a lot and can disrupt the aquascape and possibly hurt themselves or the aquarium. Provide open areas for swimming. Plants can be used and will not be eaten but should be placed carefully as their digging will continually uproot them. Peaceful for a cichlid they should be kept in groups as they will school outside of breeding time. Feeding is not a problem as they will accept all types of flake and frozen food, in nature they eat small animals. Good filtration is a must and frequent partial water changes are a necessity as well.


    Caves along the rocky bottom, near the shoreline


    One of the easier Lake Tanganyika cichlids to breed the brichardi is monogamous, meaning that they pair off for life. They are cave spawners and will produce around 100 fry per spawn. Excellent parents they will tend to their young for months and will take care of several spawns at the same time. If the tank becomes overcrowded with fry the parents recognize this and won't lay so many eggs on the next spawn or rarely they will eat their young to make room for the next batch. They fry are small and grow slowly but will do well if fed baby brine shrimp and finely crushed flake food.

Your comments:


Please remember that the following comments are personal experiences and may or may not apply to your setup. Use them as guide to help better understand your fish, like us all individuals will behave differently under different circumstances.


From: Brent
I have been raising brichardi for about two years. I bought eight juveniles for my 75 gallon tank and two eventually paired off. One of the paired males also has been found mating with another female and thus raising two families at the same time. (So, they are not always monogamous!) The other three brichardi have learned to live around the breeding brichardi. (One eventually jumped out of the tank and now there are seven adults.) There are plenty of caves, rocks, driftwood and plants for them to have their own territories.

There are at least five (perhaps as many as seven) generations of babies and juveniles in the tank and three major territories. If the little ones cross into another territory they are chased out by the adult pairs and/or their brood. It is amazing watching the older juveniles raise their siblings. Sometimes they are more attentive than the parents! One of the most interesting features of the adults is their schooling behavior where they regularly all come together in the middle of the tank and slowly rise to the surface in a kind of bonding ritual. Then they dart back to their own territories.

These brichardi are not exactly the most peaceful of cichlids. Once in a while they will tear into each other and leave their broken teeth behind - impaled in the looser! And they do have definite pseudo-canine teeth! It's cool to see them looking out of their caves with their toothy smile - reminds me of moray eels.

A couple of pointers for anyone considering brichardi: First, they are NOT community fish - especially when breeding. They do best in a single species tank. Second, while the literature says not to do more than a 20% to 25% water change weekly for these Tanganyikan cichlids, I do a 50% water change each week without fail! Why? There are anywhere between 50 to 80+ brichardi in the tank at any given time. (By the way, as you might have noticed, they keep on breeding and nature takes its course and enforces a kind of population control.) I have excellent biological filtration. (My huge hang on the back filter is filled with nothing but biologicals.) The water where I live is naturally hard. And these brichardi were actually locally bred for several generations and thus have been acclimated to the water in this area. So, if you have brichardi, do be careful about radical water changes. Third, eventually I needed to get a pleco – and they fight him all the time! But the pleco is tough, and growing. But I also had a real problem with all kinds of algae. I put in about ten nerite snails and problem solved! The brichardi leave them alone and the nerites do much better than the pleco when it comes to algae control. I also have seven marimo moss balls and a few live plants ... overflow from nine other tanks. The babies love the live plants. The adults love to sometimes move or uproot the plants when they get in their way. One of the brichardi (the dominant male of the dominant pair) will tear up the marimo moss balls if they rolls into its territory. (Mostly I have lots of plastic plants around the periphery of the tank.)

Every cichlid lover needs to give the brichardis a try at least once in their lifetime! These are one of the coolest fish I have ever had in my 30 years of fishkeeping. Any negatives with my brichardi? Only that I wish they were not quite as timid. But if you sit and watch them, they will quickly venture out and go about their amazing behaviors that set them apart from other cichlids.

From: Amanda
I've got a breeding trio of N. brichardi that I've kept for about 6 months now, and have had successfully spawning for the past three. The fry are rather slow-growing (admittedly, I'm used to angels for comparison). I've been feeding them frozen bbs and an assortment of finely crushed flake and pellet foods.
I've found, whether it's typical or a quirk of my fish, that they actually don't bother plants that much as long as they have sufficient hiding spots - I provided mine with rocks, driftwood, and an assortment of nice-looking shells in the back and corners of the tank; the rest of the substrate area is densely planted. It's a very atypical setup (and nothing like their native habitat), but my water is still the hard/high pH combo that Tanganyikan cichlids love.
There are a few small areas near the rocks where they uproot any and all vegetation, but if I take care to avoid planting anything in those spots after they've made their opinion on the matter clear, they leave well enough alone. The older fry seem to really enjoy exploring and playing around the stems and leaves of the plants.
With regard to tankmates, they're not friendly towards anything that's out in the open during the day - despite being very shy in general (unlike my angels and discus, who come and greet me when I approach, the N. pulcher typically dart back into their caves and crevices, poking their noses out warily to see what I'm up to. I'll occasionally spot the male venture out, nip a pleco, and dart back to "his" rock. However, with plecos (like the Ancistrus spp. I keep) being fairly well armored, they're readily able to fend for themselves. Since they mostly eat at night while the brichardi are asleep and hiding, the two species seem to coexist peaceably. I've got both species breeding in a 30-gal tank together - of course, that means the fry (esp. the plecos) need to be relocated to grow out tanks whenever they start overcrowding, but my point is that they can be kept with carefully chosen tankmates in a relatively small space and with a substantially planted setup, as long as care is taken to provide plenty of hiding places and the tankmates don't interfere with the cichlids' schedules.
From: Yvonne
I purchased 6 Brichardi, two paired off and have been breeding NONSTOP since about Feb. 2008. I think I have at least 5 generations in my community African tank of 72 gallons. I do have many hiding places. The entire back of the tank has fake roots and fake multilevel wood pieces and areas of fake and live plants throughout the tank. I truly believe that each fish can have a totally different personality than another of it's own kind, just like us! ;) I rarely have issues with my Brichardi fighting with other fish and they are peaceful towards other tank mates along with their own kind. I've had a similar experience with a firemouth cichlid, which are notorious for being aggressive. My firemouth actually joined the fish that were hiding in the back of the 38 gallon tank instead of assisting their movement about the tank ...Otherwise known as "swimming". Maybe I've just been blessed in getting docile fish. I'm not a hard-core fish keeper where I monitor the water chemistry. In fact, I rarely do that. I just enjoy my fish, clean and do water changes when I can. Works for me! I wish you well.
From: Sheila
I have had these fish for 2 yrs, they are excellent parents and are easy to keep, but only with their own kind!!! I tried putting them with other Tanganyika cichlids and they were way to aggressive. And I even put them in with my mbuna cichlids and they even took over that tank and terrorized them, so I would suggest to anyone who keeps these fish to only put them in a tank with their own kind.
From: Steve Huffman
The Brichardi is a notorious jumper. If your tank is not covered, you will inevitably find dead fish on the floor around it.
From: Jessica
Please note, that while these are peaceful fish among their own kind and when kept singly; if you have a breeding pair or group they will kill or terrorize the other tankmates. A breeding pair will consume the entire tank in a 75 gallon or smaller.





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