Top of the Food Chain
of Lake Tanganyika, Africa
cichlids of group Asmall exists in Lake Tanganyika, Africa that is closely related to the popular species of
Lamprologus, but differs in behavioral
and ecological ways. These are the fishes
within Lepidiolamprologus. As roaming
predators, these highly aggressive cichlids
are extremely interesting in their habits—
both in nature as well as in aquariums.
Despite such fascinating behavior,
Lepidiolamprologus have a narrow market
with hobbyists. Perhaps it’s their fairly large
size—by aquarium standards—or their
highly aggressive behavior. Either way, it’s
difficult to tell for sure, but this month’s
column is dedicated to these wonderfully
found within close distances of cover, which
takes the form of large rocky crevices more
often than not.
However, they don’t always use this cover,
because the relatively large size of the adults
combined with superior speed allows them
to roam freely, and often in open water.
Thus, when they do have to flee, which is
not frequently, they do not always attempt
to flee into the rubble, but rather also flee
into the open.
At the time of this issue’s publication,
there are seven described species within
attenuatus (STEINDACHNER 1909), L.
cunningtoni (BOULENGER 1906), L. elongatus
(BOULENGER 1898), L. kendalli (POLL &
STEWART 1977), L. mimicus SCHELLY ET AL.
2007, L. nkambae (STAECK 1978), and L.
profundicola (POLL 1949).
Brian M. Scott graduated from The
Richard Stockton College of New
Jersey with a Bachelor of Science
Degree in biology and a minor in
marine biology. While in college, his
primary focus was in ichthyology,
and he has conducted species
surveys on coral reefs in Florida as
well as the salt marshes of southern
New Jersey. He has authored or
co-authored five books on aquarium
fishes and has published more
than 90 articles on all aspects of
the aquarium hobby in various
popular magazines. Today, Brian
keeps mostly large predatory fishes,
including many species of cichlids,
primarily focusing on Cyphotilapia
of Lake Tanganyika.
Lepidiolamprologus are found in Lake
Tanganyika, Africa, where they are widely
distributed throughout the lake. The
most prevalent species, L. profundicola, is
commonly encountered in close association
with rocks and such in the shallow
intermediate zone, whereas other species
of the genus, like L. elongatus, are more
apt to be found in the pure rocky habitats.
Regardless of exactly which zone they prefer,
all Lepidiolamprologus species are always
Diet & Feeding
Lepidiolamprologus are strict carnivores,
specifically piscivores, with voracious
appetites. Most species will readily consume
smaller fishes in the aquarium, which are
swallowed whole. Additionally, aquarium
specimens will easily convert to eating small
shrimps, fish pieces, and other fresh seafood
along with pellet foods as a supplement. Even
though these (and many other cichlids) will
devour small feeder fishes, it is advisable
to switch them to a safer, more staple diet
consisting primarily of prepared pelleted or
crumble-type dry foods. Most any type of
dry food that is marketed for cichlids will
be suitable, as these fishes are far from picky
when it comes to a meal.
One of the biggest advantages of
offering your cichlids dry foods is the
cost. Characteristically, dry foods are cheap,
readily available from local pet shops,
highly diverse in the types of nutrients they
provide, and easy to feed—traits that most
cichlid keepers will find very pleasing to
their wallets and in terms of maintenance of
the species in question.
When it comes to the feeding of
Lepidiolamprologus, it’s safe to say that
hobbyists typically won’t find it challenging.
Their voracious appetites seem to be their