Breeding Neolamprologus meleagris
By Dave Gauthier
I purchased a trio of these dwarf Tanganyikan shell-dwellers from a friend of mine in January of 2002. I set up a 10 gallon tank with 50/50 crushed coral and gravel for substrate, an adequate sized shell for each fish and a sponge filter along with a heater; the pH was right around 8.2. A 50% water change is done weekly. They ate mainly flake food and bits of plankton at this point and adapted well.
The first sign of fry was on March 16. I could see one coming out of the shell when the female would be away (she protected that shell from ANY nearby fish). I waited until the female was away from the shell and all the fry were inside and moved the shell to an empty 10 gallon. Within a few hours I had 18 fry swimming around and they were SMALL (1/8”)! I waited for a day and began to feed them Cyclops Ez (a brine shrimp substitute). This was the smallest food that I had. They took to it immediately and they were fed this for the first 4 weeks. They now eat finely crushed flake.
I lost 2 fry along the way, but a pretty good hatch rate considering I never saw the egg mass. These fish were pretty easy to spawn or I just got lucky. I have had 2 spawns since then, with both females. After spawning the male is pretty content on just staying by his own shell, but will occasionally pay a visit to the females’ shells. A very nice Tanganyikan fish and I would recommend these to anyone interested in getting into shell-dwellers. The adult size is only 2” give or take a bit.